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Bridget Looks at Onrec

(September 19, 2006) Bridget, my oldest daughter, joined me in delivering a presentation at the Onrec Conference. A recent college graduate (Ethnic Studies), Bridget has lived and worked at Ground Zero, New Orleans and Ghana as a volunteer. Her views on the conference and the question of work in the 21st Century are well considered (and at odds with much of the mainstream recruiting industry). She's currently developing a project that enables young social entrepreneurs to help bootstrap each other's non-profit skills. Here's Bridget:

Walking away from the ONREC conference this week, my head is spinning. It was my first industry trade show in a field that simultaneously brand new and a deep part of my upbringing. I was left with so many things I wished had happened.
I was the youngest person there by 10 years (speaking liberally). Yet the hot topic, wide and far was myspace. A resource, I assume, rarely used by attendees or presenters for purposes other than work.

Over lunch I sat in on loud debates over the lack of intelligence present when a young candidate posts pictures of her weekend. Judgment and opinions flew around the room in a frenzy. All this about a tool and skill that I would dare to say, is greatly foreign to those pointing fingers.
This sounds like bad foreign policy.

Drunk pictures. On Myspace. "It's bad, because in my time, professional means X." As if "professional" cannot change. Or rather, as if professional should not include whole people.
There was far too much talk about how candidates should be more conscious of how they represent their desired companies.

The topic of conversation needs to shift to how companies can better represent, commit to and embrace their new employee. Things are changing. Young candidates are not necessarily coming to work to represent you and your brand. Its your job to integrate into their already highly developed network and personal brand.

But let's set the stage a bit more. In the room, completely unrepresentative of the passive and active workforce were recruiters, HR folks, strategists, online recruiting old timers, and an expo full of job boards, tools and resources in the name of hiring.

There was not one active job seeker in the room.

There was no contingency of young folks who use the software, technology and social networking that creates such a huff.

What this looks like to me is a sort of planning nightmare.

Spending the spring in New Orleans, the three things that experienced social justice organizers worked for was transparency, accountability and community participation. Our work was meaningless and in fact, detrimental, as soon as the population we were there to serve was left out of the conversation. All decisions made and projects implemented without their blessing, were doomed to fail.

Is recruiting and job placement not a form of social service?

So, this inevitably leads to the question, who is the ultimate client when it comes to recruiting, really. And while I know the answer is both companies and candidates, I have to admit, it seems as though the scale is a bit obese on one side.

Its time to get real.

We were lucky to have a great meeting with the folks at Expereince.com. Sitting down to talk, I was immediately brought back to Earth. Here are folks working for the candidates. Backing off of a job board focus above all else, Experience is implementing programs, blogging and mentorship that focuses and studies intently, the experience of college-aged candidates.

One of the gems that came across, almost too quickly, was the idea that experience.com focuses on self-development and then career development. This may sound hokey to some of you. Airy fairy or Californian in fact.

The opportunity we have at hand is the integration of active self-development and awareness, as the millennial's do it, into the workplace. Hmm. Happy whole, honest employees. I think that makes for happy, whole, profitable employers.

Is that not the goal?

Bridget Sumser (bridget at linkitup.org)

Download the slides that John (john at johnsumser.com) and
Bridget (bridge at linkitup.org) Sumser presented at the OnRec Conference this week: Multigenerational_Recruiting_interbiznet

John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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