Overheard at ERE

March 16, 2010

I had the opportunity to attend the action-packed, often standing room-only ERE Spring Expo today. The conference rooms were abuzz with conversations about how to leverage and measure social media in recruiting, while (paradoxically) better using ‘old school’ recruiting skills such as cold-calling. Here are some of the key sound bites overhead in sunny San Diego:


‘You guys are all company builders’ – John Vlastelica of Expedia, emphasizing the importance of the recruiting role in creating winning companies. He’s right, especially for businesses in the services industry: people are usually your strongest asset and the foundation of everything you do. Next time someone asks you what you do, instead of saying you’re a recruiter, try leading with a different line: ‘I build companies’.


‘Bra designers are as rare as hen’s teeth, and sometimes they earn more than the CEO’ – Russell Kronenburg, keynote speaker. Russell revealed that his former organization travelled from Australia to the UK on a mission to find the best talent in a very specific niche. They partnered with an English university known for training design industry superstars to bring best practices back down under. Who knew there was such a lot of technical capability involved in undergarment design?


“I’m not going to hire people for my recruiting team that are just familiar with how to post and pray” –Harrah’s Entertainment’s Brad Warga, one of the participants in an excellent panel discussion about how the downturn was used to plan for the upturn. Brad and his fellow panelists shared how their departments had recently retooled their recruiting skills and gone back to basics. Harrah’s replaced ‘grumpy people’ with fresh talent that is excited about the path ahead.  Brad also said his team had learned to be more fiscally responsible in the last couple of years.


“Choose your friends wisely and dress [your profile] for success” – Sherie Valderrama of Sodexo, in reference to successfully building engaged talent communities. Her presentation was a great reminder that you are who you associate with online and your LinkedIn profile should appropriately reflect your company. Sherie clearly knows a thing or two; her team scooped up the ERE Recruiting Excellence award for Recruiting Team of the Year.


“Ladies and gentlemen, this is a phone. Why are you afraid to get on it?” – Rob Dromgoole, recruiter for Pacific Northwest National Lab. Rob was one of several speakers today who advocated ‘old school’ recruiting and a return to the basic skills that make recruiting an art and a truly differentiated profession.


All in all, it’s been an action-packed day and there’s plenty more to come tomorrow!