9 Minute Read

Should You Attend NEXT West This Year? Yes, and Here’s Why

By Maren Hogan:

Recently I attended a conference and as I was eating my cheese cubes and drinking water as I hustled from one session to the next, I wondered aloud to a fellow attendee, “Why do we do this anyway?”

He tilted his head sideways and said, “Funny, I’ve always wondered why I don’t do MORE of this. I’m learning so much!”

And he’s right. As I thought back to my very first professional conference (in recruiting), I realized every single event I’d attended had taught me a valuable lesson, introduced me to colleagues and friends and helped me build a network that is more valuable than any business equipment I own. Which is why I’m currently planning for the rest of the year to ensure I don’t miss any great events!

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Eventually, in addition to attending conferences, I began organizing and promoting conferences and events and that’s even tougher. I realized understanding and truly getting why people attend conferences is one of the most important things to know. So I asked around, dug deeper and talked to attendees, vendors, speakers, and organizers to get a sense of why people attend conferences.

Here are the reasons I came up with and why I think you should make events and conferences a key part of your planning. Specifically, by attending NEXT West, an innovative ASU-GSV partnership giving you access to speakers like Priscilla Chan, Common, Reed Hastings, and Laszlo Bock.

Building a network with deep roots and lasting benefits.

Do your friends roll their eyes when you geek out about recruiting yet again? Have you reached the top of your profession only to find it’s lonely up here?

Conferences introduce you to an entire family of colleagues and friends who are going through the same issues, care about the same trends and get excited about people who are “HR Famous”.

You can build mentorships, give a helping hand to a newer entrant in the field and hash out thorny problems your predecessors didn’t have to necessarily face. Once you’ve built this network (and it happens pretty fast) you can count on conferences to help you reconnect or take your work relationship to another level.

Because your new network can be from across the country or across the globe, you’ll be able to get perspectives you may not find at home.

Why NEXT West: Engage in presentations from industry leaders who will challenge you to rethink how you select and integrate your recruitment technologies—and help you empower your team for success. Additionally, you will learn about top trends and real use-case implementation strategies directly from industry practitioners who are actual agents of change and experts within the Talent Acquisition Technology Ecosystem.

Finding solutions and building your knowledge base.

When you attend a conference, you receive knowledge that far exceeds what you can learn from a book or on your own. You hear about the real trials, what actually works and how others before you did it. You hear from those with big pockets and small budgets. Companies with giant brands and companies no one has ever heard of. You see and even get to try solutions and platforms you might have never seen before (or even known were an option).

Many conferences offer previously unpublished data, hands-on workshops, and meet thought leaders shaping your industry. At most conferences, you can ask probing questions and understand why your colleagues made the decisions they did, which is invaluable (and definitely worth the price of a conference ticket!)

Why NEXT West: Talent Tech NEXT delivers insightful market intelligence and carefully curated company demos. You will discover—and interact directly with—cutting-edge, fully-vetted technologies that are ready to implement directly into your recruiting stack.

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To be noticed and recognized for your own work.

Ever wanted to speak and share your own awesome talent acquisition strategies? Conferences are exactly the place to do it. And the first step is understanding what makes audiences sit up and listen and what information is going to be valuable to your esteemed colleagues.

Talking about your everyday work, or explaining a process or project you designed, or even discussing an embarrassing failure you learned a lot from can all give you additional perspective on the work you’ll do in the future.

Vendors really love conferences because they often will demonstrate new products or participate in competitions that essentially validate their ideas.

Why NEXT West: Scale-out your personal brand and exchange future-state insights with an executive network of passionate TA leaders from global enterprises. Past NEXT attendees have included executives from Amazon, Fidelity, Microsoft, E*Trade, Samsung, Nike, PwC, KPMG, Intuit, and many more.

To further your own professional career.

At conferences, you get to see those who are ahead of you and those who are a few steps behind. Understanding their career progression can help you understand yours. Sure you’re a VP of Talent Acquisition now, but what about when you are CHRO?

Why NEXT West: To meet companies revolutionizing video interviewing or using AI to create skill assessments for specific open positions. Companies that help college students identify a meaningful career path or allow you to find anybody’s contact information. NEXT also offers the opportunity to learn from Talent Acquisition experts from companies like Microsoft, Wayfair and Restless Bandit.

As I completed my deep dive into the reasons we all still attend conferences (even though we have the technology to interact online without ever leaving our office, city, state or country), I realized much of it is about the tremendous value our industry places on learning. Collaborating with our peers, listening intently to those who have gone before, having intense conversations about what’s coming NEXT in the global workforce. That’s why NEXT West is a no-brainer. It offers the intimate, intense Talent Acquisition inside look you need to plan your 2019 and beyond, with the massive, macro-view of what experts predict, expect and plan to impact in the worldwide workforce. All at an unheard of price (try less than you’d pay for an online tutorial).

Join us in San Diego, April 8-10 and we’ll plan the NEXT thing in talent, together.