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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.
Bridget Sumser (bridget at linkitup.org)
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
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?
Download the slides that John (john at johnsumser.com) and
Bridget (bridge at linkitup.org) Sumser presented at the OnRec Conference this week:
John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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