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RecPlus: greetings from sunny Barcelona!

I was in Barcelona last week (I know, the life of a Doctor is hard :-)) attending and speaking at the RecPlus conference. It was an eye-opening experience – and one that I highly recommend. The content was top-notch, the attendees a ‘who’s who’ of the international job board and recruitment marketing industry, and the food was great, too! Let me share some of what I heard and learned.

  • Jonathan Turpin, a principal of the AIM Group (who put on the conference) did a detailed and insightful overview of industry trends. Of particular interest was a review of pay for duration versus pay for performance, as well as an examination of what Stepstone is doing to compete beyond simple job postings. He talked about the transition in HR from the current crop of ‘old timers’ to what he called ‘digital natives’ – who will likely accelerate some of the changes we’ve already seen in recruitment.
  • Fatih Uysalfounder of (#1 job board in Turkey), talked about how a business can expand even when it is the dominant site in its market. His team looked at the one sector Kariyer didn’t dominate – blue collar workers – and build a site to dominate it as well. They have been wildly successful, and in the process have show the rest of us a textbook example of successful market analysis and branding.
  • Faith and Steven Rothberg of College Recruiter discussed how they moved their business from traditional ‘pay for duration’ job postings to ‘pay for performance’ – and found new success after decades in the business. They also talked about how they avoided the ‘$1 buys’, opting instead to keep their clients on larger subscription-based models. I noticed lots of note-taking during this session!
  • There were also two sobering and inspirational sessions about overcoming adversity. Aseyeh Hatami, the CEO of IranTalent, faced currency devaluation (due to sanctions) that threatened to eliminate her business. Instead of panicking, she and her team analyzed the business and determined how to thrive despite what most of us would view as an impossible business environment. And in Africa, Luis Verdeja of Jobartis created the leading job board site for Angola despite facing incredible challenges – including finding running water for his office! Both stories gave the rest of us a sense of perspective about the challenges we face in our own markets. I can promise you they’re not as bad as what Aseyeh and Luis faced!
  • Jonathan Kestenbaum, managing director of TalentTechLabs, delivered a tight and blunt analysis of trends in the industry. Among them were: AI is improving matching (finally!) and freelance platforms are moving into new areas of talent acquisition. Plenty of questions and interaction at this session.

There was, of course, much much more (including some Doctor guy talking about startups!). But you get the idea. If you get the chance, definitely check this conference out – and I encourage you to take a look at what some of the folks above are doing. They are the reason this industry continues to grow – and thrive.

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