Still Learning After All These Years

By Derek Zeller
“Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.” ― Richard Feynman

I have learned over time that you should never stop trying to learn new things.  This is when you say, yep no brainer.  Why wouldn’t you want to continue learning new things?  Here is the rub.  You don’t do it. I know you don’t.  When it comes down to it you make excuses.  I am tired; I am too busy, overworked, etc.  You just don’t do it. You should though. There is always room to learn and grow especially within recruiting and sourcing.


I was never really a fan of conventions.  I went to my first one in San Diego.  It seemed more like a party for people from out of town.  That and a sales floor full of vendors wanting to sell me something. However I have been to some conventions that were truly worth going to.  There are sessions and labs for learning.  These are not just the “this is how to do it” sessions but hands on labs to share thoughts and ideas.  It is a great way to meet with your peers and really learn some different ways of solving sourcing and recruiting problems.  I really like the local conventions that we have in DC.  They are one day or half day meetings and a great way to see friends and colleagues that are dealing with similar situations based on our geography.


There are so many groups that you can be part of on LinkedIn, FaceBook, Quora, and Google+.  Some groups are more social and that is great. Some are designed so you can ask real world questions and get good answers.  You may even have an answer that you want to share that would help someone else out.  The real point is that knowledge should be shared within our community.  We all benefit from it.  The other part is the amazing connections you can make with your peers.  There have been so many conversations about social recruiting yet we limit ourselves to simple connections on line.  I know of multiple groups that do social meet ups for recruiters to mix and mingle face to face and really connect.  The conversations have been illuminating to say the least. The take away has been, this was fun and I learned a great deal.  Don’t have a group in your city or town?  Make one.  I am telling you from experience it is well worth it.


Classes are another great way to learn new things as well and you should carve out just a little time to do one. I took some courses with The Sourcing Institute last year.  It was a game changer for me. I went in thinking; what am I going to learn from this training.  I have been recruiting for years now.  I should teach a class.  It seemed that every “course” I had looked in to was saying the same thing. I also realized it would be hours of my life I would never get back. This training however went beyond Boolean search strings.  It showed me valuable ways at looking at sourcing that I had never thought of before. This was fresh stuff.  I also met new people from all over the country and made new friends that I can ask help for on tougher searches or in areas I have not recruited for.  It is great to have that type of network at your disposal.  Online courses are ok but I find it more beneficial being in a room with my peers and building those connections.

In many other professions people need to obtain a license to practice their craft. In order to maintain that license they have to take continuing education courses.  Although we are not licensed and are forced to do this I believe it is a good practice.  We should always be learning and educating ourselves.  There just is no excuse with all that is out there not to.

Derek Zeller is a Senior IT Recruiter with ARTI, Inc. You can connect with Derek on LinkedIn or Twitter

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