I attended an HR association meeting today at a chapter that I think is well run and well attended. In the 4 months that I've attended, around 40 Human Resources Professional attend, and the structure and organization seem to be top flight. But after sitting through 2 sales pitches for the last two meetings I attended, decided it's time to complain about it formally! As I began to think about this post, it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, the world of social networking and social media is impacting the way we act in real life.
In the two meetings I attended, the monthly topics were to be diversity training and managing workplace conflict. Both good topics for a professional association meeting. However, in each presentation, the speakers spent nearly 10 percent of their time discussing their extensive background- who they've worked with, what services they provide, how they serve their clients needs, etc. After the 10 minute "personal branding" segment, we were lead into an infomercial that tied the core training ideas to the solutions that these presenters sell. It makes me feel bad for the monthly meeting "sponsors" who have to pay a couple hundred bucks for the opportunity to promote their goods and services, but only get 5 minutes.
As a professional who has spoken at many hr and trade association events, I know how alluring the sales potential of this activity is. I realize that the opportunity to speak to 40-100 potential customers for 90 minutes is rare, at best. And, as with any consultants, there's the business 101 voice in the back of your head telling you that you have to promote yourself to keep you business running. Really, though, don't you understand the professional courtesy here and the role you have been brought in to play? If you had asked to present to the group and told the programming committee that you had a great 90 minute sales pitch for employer services, do you think you'd get the gig? And once you're in, do you think the audience somehow doesn't realize that they're being sold to?
I am always turned off by this brazen salesmanship. I physically become uncomfortable and agitated. When I speak to the HR groups, I always feel that the best way that I can build long term career success is by building trust and confidence. I believe that's done through providing educational and informational content that people can use, when you're brought in to educate and inform. That you don't only provide solutions that meet your own needs, but provide your audience with a range of options and ideas and opportunities. Okay... it's true. I'm a New Englander, and I'm an old-school sort of a guy. I do have faith in the Universe, and do believe that if I maintain my personal integrity and professional courtesy, success will find me.
My company, JobsInTheUS, which hosts JobsInME, JobsInNH, JobsInVT, JobsInMA, and JobsInRI, will be providing numerous educational webinars and seminars in 2009, and while I am often defending myself against the sales and marketing folks, I will continue to make sure each event is educational in nature, and certified by the HRCI. Our goal is simple, do our best to make sure that every webinar and seminar attendee leaves our events feeling not only that they've learned something, but that they now have more tools to implement that knowledge.
That's how it looks on the Recruiting Front Lines from the HR Association of Central MA from one stodgy curmudgeon!
We have moved to Wordpress! Posted by Jason Links to this post The Recruiting Front Lines has evolved. At the beginning of the year, I changed jobs within my company, moving away from Outreach and Education, and into my new role as Director of Business Development. While I remain closely involved with our field activity, I am now more focused on strategic partnerships, social media, and the world of internet recruitment resources. As I have made this change, the focus of my blog content has also changed. Recently, I began to feel that many of the ideas I had for blog posts would not fit within the framework of The Recruiting Front Lines. This was a cause of some frustration, as I felt that I was either misrepresenting my content with the title of my blog, or that I was stifling my writing because I felt it didn't fit. To rectify this situation, I have created a new blog home, now on WordPress. I am still ironing out the wrinkles, but feel that it is far enough along that I can move all my past content, and begin posting all new content, at the new address. I would like to formally welcome everyone to come check out my new home at jasonblais.com. I can't wait to hear what you think! Best Regards, and Thank you for your time and attention over the past 18 months. Jason