Home Grown Recruiting Conferences Can Be Better

by Ryan Stene

3 May, 2013

Seedling, home grownAs I recover and continue to digest information from the Minnesota RecruitersSpring Conference, I am amazed by the rapid growth and offerings that this group provides to their community. Their sold-out conference was a huge success, with more than 300 human resources, recruiting professionals and practitioners in attendance. The conference included a killer agenda and content from the Sourcing Ninja himself—Shally Steckerl, a globally recognized recruiting thought leader. His insights were equally thought provoking and entertaining, and I encourage you to check out the Twitter Feed from the event. I believe the success of the conference was a true testament to the values and efforts of MN Recruiters.

MN Recruiters currently has more than 4,100 members, which makes it the nation’s largest and most engaged regional recruiting community and conference. I have been a part of MN Recruiters’ growth since its inception in 2007, and I recently joined their Advisory Board. My involvement has given me the opportunity to truly examine the way our group executes its mission. MN Recruiters believes in and practices the values of learning, collaboration and getting better through local efforts, values that I think some national recruiting communities and conferences no longer successfully uphold.

Most recruiting professionals know the popular national conferences, and unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve probably heard of ERE and Recruiting Trends. There are also the small-niche groups TalentNet and GlobalTru. I believe that MN Recruiters is similar to what has been cultivated with RecruitDC and SMA Seattle.

So what sets MN Recruiters apart from these similar communities and conferences? We do not have outrageously high membership dues or costs. Fees range from $35-$75 based on speaker content, and our group provides attendees with at least one national speaker at every event and the opportunity to learn from local thought leaders and peers. Compare that to the national conferences that typically feature recycled content and speakers yet cost $800-$1,200 to attend—not to mention flight and hotel costs.

And, the greatest difference is that the speakers at MN Recruiters’ events actually do what they teach! Additionally, since the costs don’t restrict anyone from coming, attendees range from small firms to Fortune 500 companies—a combination that results in true collaboration. They are practitioners. The content always is current, the agendas allow for genuine networking to occur and the users actually learn from new people.

By building an un-conference style foundation for MN Recruiters through his love of giving back to the community, Paul DeBettignies, our previous leader, set a high standard for MN Recruiters’ future. DeBettignies’ commitment to the group’s values has been successfully maintained by Jason Buss, our current leader, through blog posts by members of the community, social engagement on Facebook and an interactive mobile app.

If you are reading this and you are not in the Minneapolis market, I encourage you to take a look at MN Recruiters’ efforts, learn from them and borrow our best practices to start your own grass roots community. You may find you can provide just as much value to your local community as any national conference.