Exhaling after my first Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) conference.
1. We're hiring again.
Helping my company, Monster, capture leads at our booth, I personally spoke with more than 300 players in the HR industry. Almost everyone said they were hiring, and hiring now. Only two hiring managers said they were going through layoffs. Both were in the telecommunications industry. The most passionate HR folks were looking for help in manufacturing and healthcare (no surprise here).
2. Background check businesses are growing.
More than 100 background check businesses were represented at SHRM. Almost everywhere you looked, there was a booth with a business determined to help your company find the best applicants by screening their past. One rep told me that "since 9/11, there's a lot of concern about who you're interviewing." The guess here is that major consolidation will occur and that a few major players will emerge by the beginning of 2005.
3. Christopher Reeve is the man.
Magic Johnson was scheduled as the keynote speaker on Monday, but canceled on Friday. No problem. Christopher Reeve, in New Orleans to direct an A&E movie, stepped into his place. Reeve's message was both riveting and inspirational, focusing on crisis management. He created a buzz. Everyone who saw him supplied rave reviews.
4. Monster rocks.
Without a doubt, Monster's presence was incredible. In a 40x40 foot booth, Monster boasted more than 40 dedicated employees who worked hard on promoting the brand and gathering leads. Our team had very little time to "float," manning the booth to meet, greet and give demos of our products. I was proud to be wearing the Monster logo.