Have you ever been to a professional HR conference? I remember my first real conference vividly. I lived in Ohio at the time and was still in college, finishing up my master’s degree in Labor Relations and Human Resources. I was doing an internship with a company and the Director of HR told me she was taking me to an HR conference. I was so excited to go! There I was, in a building with hundreds of Human Resources professionals and business leaders. There were so much information sharing and networking going on, it was exhausting – but in a great way.

At the end of the day, on our way back to the office, we talked about the major takeaways from our conference experience. There were some great professional benefits, but personally, I felt really good about myself. I felt like I belonged there like I had arrived, like a real, valued HR professional. And I brought all of that confidence back to the office with me. I really gained a lot, and that’s why I support professional development conferences today – they’re vital to our careers.

What’s HR’s most important job function right now? In a word, recruiting. Think about it: without recruiting, Human Resources could not do anything else. There would be no company to protect, no training, no managing, and no compliance without people – so recruiting is the most important function of HR. Now that we’ve settled that, you should definitely consider attending or sending your team to a recruiting conference.

With increased competition today for workers, and an ongoing battle for retention as well as skills gap issues, being savvy about recruiting is even more important than ever before. Social media has changed the entire talent acquisition and talent management process forever, and this basically means that the world of recruiting is changing very quickly, so you need all the help you can get.

There are some misconceptions about conferences, so as a veteran of the conference circuit, I want to offer you some feedback on either side of the question of whether attending a recruitment conference is right for you.

Maybe Not

  1. If you think it’s all about the food, you may be disappointed. Yes, there will be food, and it may be nice, but no one ever attends a conference because of its stellar food options. You need to focus on feeding the brain, not the belly.
  2. If you’re looking to score (if you know what I mean), look elsewhere. This is a professional conference, not an opportunity to hook-up or cut loose. Remember, it’s not a vacation. You are on the clock! Plus, with cameras on everyone’s phones and social media a ready ally – trust me, you don’t want to be the creeper at the conference.
  3. If you think you’ve seen it all already before, it may not be worth your time to attend. There is always something new at a conference, but only if you are open-minded.

Definitely!

  1. If you want to learn about the latest tools, tips, and technology from fellow colleagues from all around the country and even the world, then you should definitely attend a recruiting conference.
  2. If you are open to new things and understand the need to stay current with market trends and rapidly diversifying consumer preferences, go ahead and register now!
  3. If you want your team to feel valued, appreciated, and respected, then send them to a conference with an agenda to find out about how to master the current recruiting game.
  4. If you want to gain a competitive advantage over the competition for talent in your area and industry, then you must attend a recruiting conference.
  5. If you are a strategic planner, attending a recruiting conference will enable you to leverage new concepts and develop the optimal plans for your organization’s goals and culture.

Looks like the pros win. So maybe I’ll be seeing you at the next big HR recruitment conference.

Chris Fields

Chris Fields is an HR professional and expert resume writer with more than 13 years of experience as a former practitioner and current HR consultant. He is the curator of two websites: CostofWork.com and ResumeCrusade.com , and contributes HR-focused content to many others, including PerformanceICreate.com and SmartRecruiters.com . He has been listed by the Huffington Post as one of the “Top 100 Most Social Human Resources Experts to Follow on Twitter”, one of the “Top 40 under 40” by the HR Blogger Network, one of the “25 Must-Read HR Blogs in 2013”, and also featured on Oprah.com. He is very active with the Society of Human Resource Management, working closely with conference directors, communication chairs, and social media teams from Illinois, Oklahoma, and Tennessee to develop social strategies to engage attendees and enhance their conference experience. Chris earned his master’s degree in Labor and Human Resources from Ohio State University. In 2005, he moved back to his hometown of Memphis, TN, where he has developed a reputation for helping his clients create HR strategies, and individuals master the tough economic challenges of the South.

3 Comments

  • Avatar Wanda L. says:

    It is definitely for me! When I get there, it feels like I am a part of a new world and I can bring this world to my office. I get much inspiration and energy to change the established way of working.

  • Avatar Cyndi Williams says:

    An HR manager is inside and outside the team at the same time. When everybody works in groups and divisions most of the day, you are left face to face with your duties and cannot discuss the difficulties of your profession in your office. Going to an HR conference is a real chance to speak to someone that is like you.

  • Avatar Robert Gersh says:

    An average manager may or may not miss the latest developments in the world of HR. A good manager never misses these changes and is able to apply them immediately. The best manager produces these changes. If you want to let the others know that you are the best, organize a conference!

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