HR and Recruiting Professionals should attend TRU London in February 2012

There are not that many must see HR events on the global stage. TRU London is one.

Next week, I am going to make what is becoming an annual pilgrimage to the European hub of Recruiting excellence. The TRU London gathering is a learning swarm. People interested in Recruiting from all over the globe descend on a small hotel in London’s Indian neighborhood.

What follows is a mob scene as a couple hundred of the global industry’s brightest minds cram into the basement of the hotel. Calling it loosely organized is generous. If you’ve ever watched a session of the British House of Commons, you have a basic sense of it. Somehow, the crowd and hubbub produces an amazing stream of connections, insight and forward motion.

TRU London is what an intellectual marketplace would look like if you ever tried to build one. There is a Darwinian (and unwritten) process through which ideas are vetted and delivered. The session leaders have little in the way of a schedule and are on their own. Ideas are bought, sold and traded in a jillion little conversations.

It has the feel of a trading floor.

At the center of it all is the amazing bundle of energy known as Bill Boorman from one of the best event company. The entrepreneur, trainer, events master, network organizer, promoter and consultant brings his daily rain of ideas into the heart of the event. He gathers the troops, strong arms the sponsors, wheedles concessions and opines broadly.

There are a million TRU conferences (it seems like Bill does one wherever he stops for longer than a day). London in late February, however, is the heart and soul of the empire. There are not that many must see HR events on the global stage. This is one.

This year, I’m going to be hosting two sessions on Wednesday. At TRU, Powerpoints and prepared remarks are an absolute no-no. Instead, a session is what happens in a room for a time. Bill creates the agenda on the fly, so the time isn’t particularly fixed.

The rooms have the traditional norm of an unconference. If you’re in, you’re expected to be engaged. If you’re not engaged, you’re expected to get up and hunt down something engaging. No feeding of pap to disinterested staffers on a boondoggle. This is a competitive jungle of ideas.

My sessions come from the research I’ve been doing.

In one, Boorman and I will have a debate about influence. As I’ve tried to measure and understand how influence operates in our industry and how ideas move around, Bill has been one of the loudest critics. With any luck, the conversation will cover the use of influence measurement in sourcing, whether and why looking at how ideas move matters, things that might be missing from current approaches and a little of what it’s like to turn up on the lists and what happens to those who do.

The other session will be about the way that technology moves in Recruiting. Based on the work I published in the 2012 Index of Social Technology in HR and Recruiting, I’ll explain what I discovered as I talked to several hundred industry players and vendor executives. One of the key points involves understanding why British companies are able to be so successful in the US. Bill has agreed to let me use a white board for this one.

I’m looking forward to being there, seeing old friends and meeting new. Drop me a line if you want to get in touch while I’m in London.

Here’s how Boorman defines the experience:

An unconference is a gathering of minds, experiences and opinions where the attendees (or active participants) lead the conversation.

There are 4 simple rules:
1: No Presentations
2: No Powerpoint
3: No Name Badges
4: No Pitching

Apart from that, anything goes.

  • We don’t have presentations because the best knowledge is in the room. By bringing together participants from all kinds of backgrounds with a shared interest. Job Boards, Recruiters (Corporate and Agency), Technologists, Mobile Specialists, Branding Companies and more, all with a shared interest in talent attraction from a different perspective. No talking heads to listen to and nod or nod off.
  • No Powerpoint because we want the eyes to meet in the middle and everyone to have the floor. Each track, (session), has track leaders with a background in the topic, but their job is to start the conversation, be available for reference and sum things up. The stars always come from the participants. (We select track-leaders from participants at previous events.)
  • No name badges because we believe that if you don’t know who someone is you should introduce yourself and start talking. No need stare at their chest to work out if they are worth it.
  • No pitching because we don’t have exhibitions or stands. Any give aways have to be creative and relevant and any product pitching gets shut down by the other participants. People will buy from you if they respect what you say, not what you pitch.

Each track lasts an hour, with 3 running an hour. You can move between tracks as you wish, it’s not considered rude and there is no need to stand on ceremony. Get what you want and move on, like an all you can eat buffet!

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