Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Unconference - day one

Today, I have been at my first recruiting unconference in London.  It has been really exciting and we have two more days to go!   If you haven't been to an unconference before, essentially, the rules are as follows:

  • No Powerpoint (no more sitting through a really dull presentation zzzzzzzzzz)
  • No Dress Code (feel comfortable)
  • No Name Badges (avoid those people who check your badge and only speak to you if you are 'worthy')
  • No Pitching (Hurrah)
  • No Presentations (A quick introduction and then the discussion is opened to the delegates - great)
  • Freedom to move (If the stream isn't as you had hoped, you are free to move)
  • Limited numbers (Only 100 spaces so everyone can be heard)

    What this means is that rather than have a long presentation followed by a few questions the sessions incorporate a brief overview followed by lots of questions.  This ensures that there is plenty of time for genuinely in depth, challenging discussions about what we all really want to know!  I will write about the issues raised over the next few weeks but there was one particularly interesting discussion today which I will share right now.

    The rather impressive marketing manager from a major job board provided some interesting stats showing that jobseekers still much prefer using job boards to social media as, essentially, we like to use quick and easy routes to finding a new job rather than social media where jobseekers need to be proactive.  

    The major point I took from this presentation was the rise of the smartphone in searching for a new role - this particular job board has seen site visits from mobile devices rise 200% from January 2010 - January 2011.  Interestingly, whereas the normal peaks for looking at job boards via computers is 11am - 12 (midday) on smartphones there are also peaks during the morning and afternoon commuting periods and at around 10pm.

    However, the quite brilliant Kevin Wheeler doesn't agree that job boards or CV's have any future in recruitment - his view is that very soon social media is the only way that jobseekers will find new roles (as regular readers of this blog will know I share these views).  Interestingly, he also believes that there is no future for internal recruiters and that external recruiters can only survive by taking a more strategic stance and providing Hiring Managers with the tools necessary to carry out tactical recruitment.

    Kevin also has some interesting views about the future of the interview which numerous studies have shown is a terrible predictor of career success.  In the computer forensics area organisations such as the security services in the UK use scenarios for assessment and Kevin thinks that this is the future.  He believes that finally this whole area is going to become much more scientific.

    When people disagreed with his points, Kevin gave a wonderful analogy using Henry Ford.  Back in the early days of the motor car he said that people loved their horses, felt they were a much better way of travelling than the motor car and they would keep on using their horses!  If they had been interviewed for a focus group their views weren't wrong -  but Ford was just more right!            

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