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Presentation from John Sumser, Recruiting Is A Conversation is available for download.

Divergent Interests

(April 9, 2007) This week, I am taking my youngest daughter, Kate, on a tour of some of the Great California Colleges. We're going to Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Marina Del Ray, Claremont and a number of other stops. As you read this, we're facing the ocean in Santa Cruz.

Kate has a number of conflicting interests (this tells you more about colleges today than it does about Kate.) She has an amazing gift for language acquisition (loves Spanish and is going to a Japanese immersion program in Tokyo this summer). She wants to be fluent in Spanish, Japanese and Chinese, as a minimum. She also loves the hard sciences and wants a school that will embrace her as a fledgling woman scientist.

The college road trip is a rite of passage in our family. There are great stories about getting lost in the cornfields of upstate New York, wandering through the streets of New York City, fighting jet lag and navigating the road as an adult. Each of the children has a different path through the trip and through college. They all read broadly, have little faith in authority figures and seem intent on seeking the truth.

As a parent, you don't always realize that there's a pattern in your parenting until it's almost over. Until just now, I never realized the importance and role of this rite of passage. Kate and I are headed off on the last of the trips. You can hear the creaking of the soon to be empty nest. We begin the trip on a delicious but bittersweet note.

It's that way with lots of beginnings.

As I consider the next months, there are no shortages of directions that could be taken at Recruiting.com. I've carved a strong reputation for independent thinking and motivation. It's rare for me to be at a loss for words or next steps. Improvisation on a moment's notice is my stock and trade. And, what other people think of me is none of my business. So, my work at listening in the early days is going to be real work.

I am looking forward to an interesting conversation. We need to figure out how to grow the audience at Recruiting.com. Right now, I think that means figuring out how to reach out into the ranks of Recruiters in HR. The audience should (maybe even must) include the customers and colleagues of the current inner circle. (Make a big mental note to get traffic and audience statistics.)

Here are some areas in which I have questions:

  • Recruiting is very reactive. How do we help it become more planned and proactive?
  • Recruiting technologies come, sometimes stay and often go? How do you consistently choose winners?
  • Is there a way to give people at the cutting edge (like the current voices on Recruiting.com) consistent insight into the opinions of later stage technology adopters?
  • Do physical get-togethers have a place in Recruiting community development?
  • What are some practical things to do with the Recruiting.com site?
  • The ethics question always raises a bunch of smoke. Is there a way to add clarifying fire to that conversation?
  • What are some things that I should think about and don't?
  • There is so little really interesting material on employment branding. Is that because the idea is nonsense?
  • What are the best resources for Recruiters (content, tools, experts, services)? Should we have a way of cataloging and tracking them?
  • What is the best way to continue JD's vision of an entertaining site?
  • Does the Recruiting profession need real training and professional institutions?
  • Can we be a place where recruiting success stories (on individual assignments and overall processes) are celebrated?

My list will grow longer.

The college application process forces students to specialize when many, like Kate, have naturally divergent interests. While the process ought to celebrate and encourage those things, survival seems to depend on making choices that are, in fact, unnecessary. Part of the conversation with Kate will be about remaining broad in the face of pressure to comply.

The conversation with the much more amorphous Recruiting.com audience will have to celebrate that same kind of diversity.

Let me know what you think.

John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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