It’s not a War on Talent, it’s a Competition.

Last week I had the privilege of attending the Northeast HR Association (NEHRA) Talent Acquisition conference in Boston.

While my specialty isn’t recruitment I found it great to be in the room with passionate recruiters who truly want to merge candidate experience with new technology to forge ahead in this new competition for talent.

the day started off with a wonderful panel discussion with Aaron Green, Founder/President of PSG moderating a panel that included Lori Cunningham, Director of Talent Acquisition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Maria Harris, CHRO at Rockland Trust, Celeste Narganes, Head of Executive, Marketing, People Operations & G&A Recruiting at Hubpost, and Andy Porter, Executive VP & Chief People Experience Office at Relay Therapeutic. The over all theme of this panel? You have to create the environment you need to attract the people you want.

At one point Celeste Narganes of Hubspot said regarding the frequently asked recruiter question about their candidate experience “How do the employees that work here feel?” Celeste discussed culture as an internal project that then leads to external outcomes for attracting talent. And I’m sure she’s right considering Hubspot has been named one of the top places to work in Boston.

After that I attended the first breakout session of the evening “Using Analytics to Hit Your Mark” presented by Linda Catalado, VP of HR at Vertex, Cheryl Jacobs, Executive Coach, Facilitator and Leadership Developer at MCG Partners, and Jessica Pilat, VPO or Marketing at BAO. This session was all about data and how to leverage it to enhance your recruitment.

I appreciated the practical application discussion as well as the approach that we’re not using data to make hiring decisions, but rather to confirm them.  All the panelists seemed to invest and embrace data in their organizations as a way to enhance their recruitment efforts.

Overall, they recognized that part of using data analytics in recruitment is making sure it’s not just a recruitment function but a organization wide strategy.

In the next session I went to “creating a Proactive Recruiting Strategy” hosted by Jayne Mattson, President/Career Management Consultant at CareerEdge. Jayne’s big message: It’s all about building your network. She discussed the “Hidden Job Network” and went through strategies on how recruiters can expand their efforts to make finding talent easier.

Ultimately Jayne ended the session encouraging TA specialists to think beyond just filling a role but instead creating connections and networking in a more proactive approach.

After lunch and some networking it was time for the last breakout session and I attended the “Building Strong Relationships with Hiring Mangers” session presented by Susan Ricardi, Sr. Talent Acquisition Partner, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.

This presentation was chock full of practical ways to bridge the gap between what the hiring manager thinks they want and what they really need. Susan gave insights into her processes at HPHC and really helped the recruiters in the room understand how important it is to collaborate with the hiring manager in a way that serves everyone in the organization.

Lastly, after a quick visit with some Workforce Readiness partners, it was time to hear from Tracie Sponenberg, Chief People Officer for The Granite Group. Her talk on The Evolution of Employer Branding: Beyond Buzzwords was entertaining and delivered a clear message – you are what you brand. With some funny quotables and meme-y slides Tracie was dynamic and a great way to end the day.

 After that there were afternoon cocktails with schmoozing and the day was done. I didn’t get a chance to see some of the other breakout session so here’s a few other tweets from the day:

Overall, it was interesting and enlightening to be a “people strategy” person in a room full of recruiters. Understanding their struggles, strengths, and upcoming challenges helps to give a frame of reference in my own people processes and strategies. Part of having good business acumen is knowing what each “silo” faces each day and where they long to be. Truly enjoyed being a guest at the NEHRA Talent Acquisition summit.

And I’m marking my calendar for the Learning & Organizational Development Exchange that’s happening on August 19th in Boston. But you can see all the NEHRA events here. Come geek out about all things OD with me.

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