It was an inauspicious start; for somebody used to strolling down the road to work, catching a London bound train at 6am made me question if this so called ‘Sourcing Summit’ could really be worth it. Being jostled and hustled by the morning commuters and delayed through East Croydon did nothing to improve my impressions (though it did make me sympathise with those forced to do this every day!)
But after a splash of water on my face in the King’s Cross toilets, and slightly too much free coffee and croissants upon arrival, I took my seat in much improved spirits in preparation for the opening keynote. It’s a wonder what a free breakfast can do for the mood!
And within five minutes of Henk van Ess’ talk on ‘Finding the Impossible Candidates,’ I was convinced it had been worth the trip. I’d like to say that I was hooked by the thought of all the extra candidates I’d be able to find using his techniques, and I was eventually - but initially it was just because, frankly, the guy was really cool. He had a cool Dutch accent, a cool job (amongst other things, he found terrorists for a living!) and was completely engaging and charismatic. Showing us how to hack facebook URLs to find those eponymous ‘impossible candidates,’ and how to use the tiny details in a photo to find more than may first have been obvious, Henk not only taught us a lot, but got us pumped for a further two days of learning all kinds of nerdy sourcing stuff!
One of the coolest things about the event was how far and wide the speakers (and attendees) had come to share and learn. Henk was from the Netherlands, Angie Verros and Tim Sackett had travelled from the U.S., and Karen Azulai from Israel. Not only that, but some speakers were from the teams at big name brands; Philips, Renault and Microsoft, as well as others from small but massively successful start-ups. It felt like a real melting pot of experts with different experiences and knowledge, coming together to pool knowledge and resources to make us all better at what we do from day to day.
Not only that, but getting up close and personal with figures like Johnny Campbell of Social Talent, and Bill Boorman, ‘The King of Social Recruiting,’ each of whom we had all spent hours watching on our computer screens in training videos, did, I confess, make me feel a little star-struck.
Lots of what we learnt was immediately useable - a tool or technique that we could go back and try straight away when back at work. Other things were things we knew, but the speaker made us push them further, and think about them in new ways. By nature of the specific industries that we recruit within, there were some things that had less obvious applications, but were great at making us think. How could we adapt that? What aspect of that could we utilise?
While our lunchtimes and long trains home were spent with some obsession over the unlimited cheese board and increasingly random games of ‘Would you rather…?’ respectively, so much of our time was spent pondering and discussing: how can I use use what I learnt today to make me better at what I do?
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