Three Days, Three Key Themes: My Review of Talent Connect 2012

October 15, 2012

Note: Lars Schmidt is the Senior Director, Talent Acquisition & Innovation for NPR, and blogs regularly at Amplify Talent.  

My first LinkedIn Talent Connect conference is in the books. As I wrote in a blog post on my way to Las Vegas, there were quite a few things I was looking forward to at my first #InTalent. The turnout was strong, with almost 2,000 recruiters from around the world converging on Las Vegas for three days of networking, sharing and learning. The energy was palpable. It was great being surrounded by so many of my recruiting peers at a conference.

I noticed some themes recurring throughout this year’s conference: employment branding, data-based decision making, Recruiting 5.0, Cory Booker (who owned the room), social media, and more.

Let’s dig into three of the key themes of Talent Connect 2012.

1. Data Matters

Per LinkedIn, only 26% of talent acquisition leaders feel that their organization uses data well during the hiring process. Data, and its impact on driving recruiting and talent decisions, was reinforced through the 2012 conference. Whether it was LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner commenting in his keynote, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t fix it,” the popular ‘Moneyball’ sessions exploring talent pools, or the newly launched Talent Brand Index, data was everywhere. This is a good thing. As recruiters and talent leaders continue to push for new and innovative talent strategies, we must understand how to gather, interpret, and build action plans around data - particularly if we need to influence senior leadership within our organizations.

Recruiters using LinkedIn have so much data at their disposal to inform and drive their decisions, tactics, and strategies. I will return to NPR with new ideas of how to incorporate this data into our own recruitment strategy, and I’ll be meeting with our account rep next week to discuss these plans.

Speaking of stats, let’s take a look at some of the 2012 Talent Connect stats*, courtesy of the talent connect mobile app:

  • 2,364 attendees
  • 2,234 mobile users
  • 981 new connections made
  • 798,694 views of attendee posted jobs
  • 542,412 new members joined LinkedIn

*Stats as of Saturday 10/13 morning.

2. Employment Brand Matters

I was pleased to see such a focus on employment brand during the #intalent conference. We learned how major organizations like Autodesk, American Express, Dell, and others are using employment branding strategies to more effectively draw and attract talent. There were numerous sessions that walked through best practices on configuring and managing the new LinkedIn Corporate Careers pages. The Talent Brand Index launch was particularly interesting. I haven’t had an opportunity to thoroughly explore this new resource yet, but I see a lot of potential in the ability to monitor and measure different LinkedIn recruiting marketing campaigns, and their impact on talent attraction.

Let’s take a look at some of the stats on employment branding shared at Talent Connect (for more details, see their new best practices page):

  • A company’s employer brand is twice as likely to drive job consideration than its consumer brand.
  • Stronger employer brands contribute to the bottom line: up to 2x lower cost per hire and 28% lower turnover rate.
  • 70% of LinkedIn company followers are open to receiving job opportunities from those companies.
  • 80% of LinkedIn members aren’t actively looking for a job.
  • 93% of companies plan on investing in employer branding this year.
  • 83% of TA leaders feel employer branding is critical in hiring top talent.
  • 51% of TA leaders increased their spending on employer branding in 2012.

3. Recruiting Continues to Evolve, Fast

Recruitment 3.0 is dead. So is Recruitment 4.0. Long live Recruitment 5.0! Thursday’s keynote with Matthew Jeffery and Amy McKee felt at times like a glossy advertisement for Autodesk, but it also introduced us to Recruiting 5.0. If you’ve followed each of the previous iterations of this series, you’ll see some pretty drastic progression in the evolution of recruiting. Recruiting 3.0 was bold and brash at the time – and spot on. Matthew and Amy got many of their earlier predictions right, so let’s take a look at what the final chapter of this trilogy has in store for recruiters. The defining features of Recruitment 5.0:

  • Mobile recruiting finally takes off and becomes the dominant channel.
  • Recruiting gets back to basics and focuses on building relationships. Included in this is a focus on personalization/humanization and dominating/driving communications.
  • Footprints in the cloud. Companies obsessively get to know their customers/consumers, and recruiters do the same with their “corporate” talent pools.
  • Data DNA: companies draw data to profile candidates based on online habits and trends.
  • Technological developments bring an end to the traditional ATS.
  • Emerging markets emerge and dominate.
  • Augmented reality and disruptive marketing dominate recruiting marketing.
  • As companies seek to attract the best talent in a candidate short market, they set up their own courses, universities/academies, and “clone” future employees.
  • As talent becomes more scarce, talent becomes more contract by nature and more flexible.
  • It’s the end of recruiters as we know it… the death of the recruiting profession?

I haven’t had a chance to consume and digest the full 93 page recruiting doctrine yet, but once I do I’ll present a more detailed reaction on my blog, Amplify Talent.

So, there are a few of my takeaways. Talent Connect 2012 was a really well-run, informative, and energizing event. I left Las Vegas with new friends, and new ideas around how we can better leverage LinkedIn within my organization. I’m looking forward to seeing what 2013 has in store for us.

For more Lars, follow him on Twitter at (appropriately enough) @ThisIsLars