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TalentNet Live Dallas. My overall takeaway: authenticity is key.

If you follow me on Twitter at @marcmapes then you probably saw my flood of live tweets from TalenNet Live Monday, April 2nd at the JCPenney headquarters in the Dallas area. I should probably apologize for over-tweeting, but I’m not going to. There was a ton of awesome material being dispensed and it needed to be shared. It’s a great conference and anyone even remotely interested in how social media impacts recruitment and branding (employer, corporate and personal) needs to attend or watch the live stream. You can also follow the day’s events by looking back at the #talentnet stream on Twitter.

This is the third event I’ve attended and they tend to be about more than social recruitment. It’s much deeper than that and the speakers and panelists give insight into how they do things – largely in the context of recruitment, but also for social in general. Craig Fisher, Marianthe Verver and Crystal Miller (sorry if I’ve left anyone out) never fail to mix compelling content with dynamic speakers and panelists. I don’t think I’d call it quite an “un-conference” since there is an agenda (although it is never adhered to 100%), but there is plenty of interaction and questions are never held until the end.

The day kicked off with the story of Michael Long and his team from Rackspace. If you haven’t heard about what they’re doing check out their video A Day in the Life of Rackspace. They talked about the Rackspace Core Values and how the entire company lives them every day. They encourage an environment that promotes support, people and passion. An atmosphere where it’s ok to make mistakes if you learn from them. They even have whiteboards for employees to write on throughout their day. Apparently, they are encouraged to write down their mistakes so others can learn from them too.

Most of the rest of the day was divided into breakout sessions with general topics. Here are some takeaways from the sessions I attended:

There is a lot of technology out there that isn’t specifically aimed at the recruitment market, but can nonetheless be used for this purpose. Jeremy Roberts spoke about how to find the latest technology by monitoring sites like Betalist and Startuplist as these sites are filled with new technology looking for beta testers. Recruitment and HR Technology are white hot, and the list of startups jumping on this train is as long as my arm. Of course, there are other sites like Pinterest that are not aimed at the recruitment market, but are nonetheless gaining popularity as a non-traditional way of finding great candidates. He also talked about using sites like Identified, High-End PM and Cirway to connect with potential candidates and even managed to work his own startup GuideHop into the conversation highlighting the rise of the peer-to-peer space.

Craig Fisher and Dwane Lay talked about even more technology that can be used to make sourcing and networking with candidates easier. I won’t go into each one, but you can check out: Visualize.meTwooglePlusTwiangulateWhoWorks.AtRapportiveSmartr, and Recruiting Bar. You just need to find what works best for you and complement the systems you already have in place.

In the three TNL events that I’ve attended, one of my favorite presenters has been William Tincup. The nonchalant manner in which he presents his material draws you in and is something to behold. You don’t even realize you’re learning until the hour session has lapsed. Then, BAM you’ve just been taught how to map your social framework by developing smart, consist content; delivered to the right audience, in the right way; and by using the tools that best suit you. He also brought up an interesting debate when it comes to connections: quality or quantity? It seems that most will say to limit your connections to those who bring immediate value to you, but William says that quality will come with quantity. What do you think?

Craig Fisher conducted a session called: Awesomize your profile. I thought I knew a bit about LinkedIn, but Craig went through some tips on improving your profile for SEO purposes. He says that LinkedIn is the most search engine optimized site on the web and that your profile must contain content, context and consistency. Good advice.

I didn’t get to attend any sessions Matt Charney did, but if you want to know more about social recruitment he is a must follow. He is one smart Kansas Jayhawks fan. I think my IQ literally goes up every time I’m in a room with him. His tweets are also insightful and funny. Often both in the same 140 characters.

It was a great day filled with learning, sharing information and networking. Throughout the day, and from session to session I felt an overarching theme. I doubt it was one that was planned or discussed beforehand when planning the conference. It just simply seems to be in the genetic makeup of the group Craig and co. have surrounded themselves with, and we get the pleasure of learning from them during TalentNet Live. The underlying message is simple: Be authentic. 

Their messages were loud and clear: “Here are the processes and tools we use, but find out what you are comfortable with and what works for you”. It’s then up to you to go out and engage with people in a voice that’s true to you (and often your company). Doing so will draw the right people to you – in recruitment and your social life in general.

You can visit the TalentNet Live site for future events. I highly recommend you go.

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