I just returned from the SHRM Talent Conference in Orlando, and while it’s growing and getting bigger, I was somewhat shocked at the lack of big-name TA Technology vendors in our space who weren’t there.
The argument from the vendor community has been, “Well, Tim, SHRM Talent doesn’t have enterprise buyers.” The thought is that SHRM’s audience is roughly 65% SMB HR professionals. This is when the vendor community shows their lack of math skills. Or really it’s their marketing teams, so I guess we should probably have lower expectations on math skills.
Let me give you some personal data from my 2023 SHRM Talent experience. I was told there were 2300 participants at SHRM. It definitely felt that way. I had two sessions there that were packed with TA professionals, and the rooms were big (500+).
My connection numbers from SHRM Talent 2023:
Total LinkedIn connections: 163 (90% TA-specific titles)
Total downloads of an eBook offer: 141
NPS score of my talks (this is just bragging): 87%
Title level of connections by percentage: Over 50% were “Manager” or above. Of those, over 25% were “Director” titles and above.
Of the 163 connections, how many came from organizations over 5,000 people? 68 and 26 were from organizations over 20,000. Including Toyota, Boeing, Siemens, Johnson and Johnson, Gannett, large universities, large health systems, banking and finance, state and fed gov’t, and large franchise organizations.
In one of my sessions, I asked how many folks were using Workday Recruit, and more than twenty hands went up. There were massive amounts of Greenhouse users, Paradox users, and HireVue users. None of those brands cared to show up. These are some of the biggest brands in our industry.
The SHRM Talent Attendees Are My People!
They are in the trenches, real talent acquisition professionals doing the work and using the tools. They are leaders of TA in organizations that are spending real money and buying technology. In my sessions, these professionals stood up and spoke about the tools they were using. The vast majority are desperate to find recruiting technology to buy, and they believe they have limited options because they aren’t being sold options.
I get asked weekly, by recruiting technology vendors, how they can get connected to our potential buyers. Every single time I tell them they have to get out and put themselves in front of them. It takes time to build the pipeline. People have to see your brand multiple times before they buy. They just don’t get an email and buy. I tell them to go to SHRM Talent, but most don’t listen.
The SHRM Talent Conference continues to grow. When I went a few years ago, there were 50 vendors at the expo. This year there were 100. Next year, it’ll be bigger. The reality is SHRM Talent is one of the only talent acquisition-specific conferences in the US that is really delivering content for TA leaders trying to get better. The sessions aren’t sold to vendors like most conferences in our space.
We (Talent Acquisition) need a great conference in our industry. SHRM is getting close. Having the great TA tech companies show up would definitely put it over the top. It’s a huge miss for the attendees who are there not to have access to all the great tech.
SHRM Talent attendees are the top 10% of talent acquisition professionals in the world. Why? Because they are few who made a conscious commitment to investing in their development. To be at the forefront of TA. To be interested in what’s next. To be open to new ideas and new technologies. You won’t change my mind on this. The vast majority of TA professionals in our industry just show up and do the job, and don’t look for further development. These folks did and I celebrate you.
Great post, and it was good seeing you. I’m not surprised at all about the high NPS scores for your sessions. Always a highlight.
About the vendors, the big ones used to be in the expo, but I feel the perception about exhibiting changed during the COVID-induced break. You make some good points about showing up and I hope the expo does continue to grow.
Tim- Curious… In light of your recent podcast(https://timsackett.com/2023/04/10/generative-ai-and-chatgpt-roundup-in-ta-tech-video/), how many vendors were there talking Generative AI or even chatbots? Is the SHRM Talent community interested? Curious?
Always some chatbot stuff, but very little generative at this point.
As a TA Tech marketing person that’s good to know. It consumes a lot of budget to exhibit at conferences and it’s so hard to tell what’s worth the investment with the number events out there.