Smart Resourcing 2010…

I was lucky enough to attend the Smart Resourcing 2010 conference last week which overall was very good so I have decided to share my belated feedback with you.  First job of the day was to change the twitter #hashtag, the original  – #smartresourcing2010 being way too long and stealing precious characters from the 140 tweet limit!  So after a brief discussion with @VONQUK, we changed it to a much neater #sres2010.  Click here to see the stream, which turned out to be a lively on the day.

Having said that, probably one of my more notable observations was the distinct lack of twitter or social media interaction from the audience generally.  I have attended a number of resourcing related events in the past year and at these it was clear a large number of the audience were using twitter and also live blogging from the conference itself.  This was not the case with #sres2010.  Only a handful of the audience joined the stream, and apart from @alanwhitford, I’m not sure anyone was blogging on the day.

As the day progressed, it became apparent as to why.  Despite social media strategies and use being a strong theme in many of the leading presentations, a large number of the in-house resourcing audience appeared to still be fearful of it.  Despite the demonstration of value that can be gained from a well-integrated strategy, many were still asking why they should ‘take the risk’! It was quite shocking to hear so many admit that social media use is still widely feared and the use of the tools is still effectively ‘banned’ within their organisations.  Very short sighted indeed.

Co-incidentally I also noted a lack of journalists and editors from other publications – was this publisher envy?  A shame because there was some strong content and some of the key messages were worthy of wider coverage in the more general HR press.

So onto the content and if you are a recruiter working on the supply side you may want to look away now! ;).   Overall there were some great presentations, with Oracle and Electronic Arts shining through for me.  Both had embraced social media with Oracle in particular demonstrating a well integrated and executed use of twitter, blogging and LinkedIn.

Oracle were confident they would achieve 100% direct sourcing this year with their team of 60 linkedup, twittering and socially aware in house recruiters across EMEA.  Having achieved 99.8% last year, (Yes, that’s 99.8% – which may as well be 100% for most third party recruiters out there) you were left in no doubt that they were going to make it easily.  In fact if you want to quantify the impact of social media on recruitment, just ask one of the many recruiters who used to supply Oracle.

Matt Jeffery from Electronic Arts brought the afternoon session to life with a set of slides that whilst lacking in depth could at least be seen, which was more than could be said for some of the presentations.  Rich pickings for presentation skills trainers at smart resourcing 2010!  Electronic Arts have some smart stuff going on in terms of their talent pooling and candidate engagement which would make Matt’s claim that 65% of their hires were through social media.

As if to ram the point home for anyone in doubt, Matt made the following comment:

“The traditional recruiter is going to be replaced by those who can engage with communities and use/exploit social media”

On the supply side, both Matt Alder, futurologist extraordinaire and Katharine Robinson aka @thesourceress (Such a cool name!) both held my attention.  Matt’s question to us all to consider how resourcing will look:

“When everyone knows where everyone works and what they do, via tools like LinkedIn and facebook”

created a huge pregnant pause while the folk on the supply side, especially, tried to take in the magnitude of that statement – cue tumbleweed…

Katharine, despite her diminutive stature made a big impression.  She also unwittingly started a twitter brawl when I tweeted that the CV was dead as a soucing target/tool following Katherine’s revelation that she dislikes CV’s intensely and prefers much richer sources of information and potential targets.

Some got confused as I was referring to the CV as something to find when sourcing, rather than the presentation vehicle it is used for with clients.  However, after some moments I conceded that it was unlikely to die as I had  predicted as the number of recruiters on the supply side that actually do proactive sourcing these days is so low.  Still the banter was fun.

Perhaps one of the more interesting discoveries was the extensive use of research houses by the corporate resourcing teams.  It seems every one of those represented were engaging these organisations directly – Network Rail, for example, shaved a cool £3m off their annual search bill by cutting out the middle man and using these guys – ouch!  That’s a few search consultants that won’t be replacing their leather sofas this year then.

To some, these research teams were a new phenomenon which at first I found strange.  About 10 years ago I attended a presentation at which someone predicted that research houses were poised to make a killing in the recruitment market.  They didn’t quite emerge as predicted, instead just getting on with the job at hand quietly in the background and getting paid handsomely for it.  Just like researchers really!

Overall it was a great conference and my only regret was that I had to slip away early so I missed a couple of the closing presentations which I heard were also good.  Ultimately though, it was another reminder – as if we needed one – that the traditional supply side recruitment agency model is being squeezed out.  And it’s not just a cost thing. Compared to the strategies being shared at the conference, the offerings from the average recruitment agency look amateurish at best.  Redundant at worst.

Now where did I put those Blue Ocean notes….


  1. Hi Roger! Twitter really did bring it to life in so many ways didn’t it! Wonder how many more signed up to Twitter after the conference?!


  2. Hi Gareth

    Nice wrap up. I found it interesting that the Tweeters were mostly at the back of the room – but we did seem to have a good following outside the conference as well.

    Thanks for the mention about blogging. Perhaps no one else was doing it because it takes time to write the post, and then get it up? My final post will be about EA and the legend that is Matthew Jefferey.

    As to your question, do you really think more signed up for Twitter? I have my doubts…..




    1. Hi Alan – we are the naughty boys at the back of the class it seems! I agree re blogging, its hard to live blog for sure. But i certainly did think that there would be more people tweeting and getting involved with the twitter banter. As Roger said, it made it far more interesting. Thanks for the comment, much appreciated.


  3. Great post Gareth, Matt Jeffery from EA was definitely the stand out presentation for me. I also thought Sharon Kardam of Vistaprint had a lot to offer regarding how internal recruitment teams can be more pro-active via scenario planning. Being able to anticipate the business needs accurately and ensure the talent is in place quickly, ultimately helps maximise profits and demonstrate the real value the team offers.


    1. Hi Jean-Paul. Sharon did make some good points but unfortunately i think her slides let her down! She should have simplified them a bit. Solid points though nontheless. Thanks for taking the time to comment on the post.


  4. I agree that workforce is a group term so I tend to think about it on the basis of sillks and that is where I think you can find the nexus between workforce development and talent development. Workforce development attempts to identify and promote the development of the sillks that are needed for a country to be competetive in the marketplace. Talent development ideally would align the individual development activities with this need. What I think has become out of sync is the time horizon. The critical sillks that are needed are changing more rapidly than we can train and develop.


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