I’m fresh off the plane from LinkedIn’s Talent Connect event in San Francisco, and am trying to put into words how I feel about the overall experience. Here are the highlights: San Francisco was beautiful, the Giants were going to the World Series, the weather was pleasant and the fog was minimal…what’s not to like?
But if you’re looking for more specific details or are maybe interested in attending the event next year, here’s my report card for the event:
The Moscone Center was amazing, but my initial encounter there was to walk into a line of 1000+ people waiting at registration on Day 1. Wait, I’m confused…didn’t I register online already? Why am I waiting in line for registration? It was simply for the swag bag and badge, but perhaps they could have allowed us to print our own badges prior, or had them at our hotels upon check-in, and then all the bags could have been distributed a whole lot quicker. The registration line made most of us late to our first learning session.
In my first session, the speakers gave a captivating talk on how to make a mark with your personal brand on LinkedIn. In less than 30 minutes I got plenty of takeaways on personalizing, customizing, and optimizing my profile…huge value add!
But not all of the sessions were as valuable, and that’s not just from my perspective. I heard many people commenting at the networking events and meals that they had a bad experience at one of the sessions. I always asked, “Which one?” I was anxious to see if they simply weren’t going to the same great sessions that I was going to, and that was often the case. The consensus seemed to be that a lot of the presentations were very light in their content, often leaving us wanting more. In the 60-minute “How to Influence Your Hiring Managers” presentation on Tuesday afternoon, the presenters said “thank you” and had clearly finished up what they had to share with us…in only 29 minutes! So we headed to the snack tables and did some more networking.
The networking piece was probably what I found most valuable during my entire time at Talent Connect. I recruit recruiters, so this was like being a kid in a candy store for me, 4000+ recruiting/marketing/branding professionals all in one place! I met people from all over the country, so it wasn’t like everyone I met was a potential candidate—but they were a potential resource, and in the spirit of LinkedIn, a potential connection.
Breakfast on Tuesday morning proved the most interesting when I had a chance to sit with a “Talent Hacker” from Nebraska. We had a great conversation; it was a collaborative, genuine exchange of best practices. We recounted our recent successes and failures, explained different recruiting techniques, and shared what we think works, what doesn’t work, and how to keep moving forward. That conversation, right there, was worth my time. That was worth the trip.
Overall, Talent Connect was a great experience. Could the learning sessions have been better? Always, at every event, but that’s why it’s so critical to plan ahead. I definitely recommend looking at the different learning tracks in advance and reading what they are about, so you can determine which tracks/classes are going to be the most beneficial to you as a recruiter, a manager, or someone who is looking to bring back content to train a team of recruiters, as I am planning to do.
So: two days of classes, networking, great conversations, not so great food, and the occasional adult beverage, and I think I got what I was looking for…personal development, professional development, and a chance to grow my network. Thank you LinkedIn! Looking forward to next year!