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The best Talent Acquisition Conference of 2013 had nothing to do with recruiting

Perhaps the best Talent Acquisition Conference of 2013 happened in Boston last week and guess what? It had absolutely nothing to do with recruiting . . . or did it? The conference was Inbound 2013, which is hosted by Inbound Marketing Automation software company, Hubspot. The attendees were mostly marketing professionals or creative agencies that make up the overall Hubspot ecosystem, and while a portion of the conference is decidedly directed towards the tactical and functional needs of these two audiences, it is actually much more of a cultural development event. An observation I noted in a tweet the evening we arrived in Boston, and was almost immediately confirmed by Hubspot CEO, Brian Halligan.

@JoelCapperella @dharmesh Glad y'all could make...I agree -- its more like a movement than a user conference.

— Brian Halligan (@bhalligan) August 20, 2013

You see, the culture of Inbound delivers what Hubspot calls ‘delightion.’ This essentially means that the experience a person has with a company should be delighting, and delighting in a way that is selfless. That is what the company offers in the experience alone, and seeks no other motive other than merely providing something of value to the individual. While the ‘delighting’ may ultimately lead to an opportunity to serve that individual, the Inbound exercise is one in which such an outcome is completely secondary. Engaging and providing value is the sole objective.

The cultural movement is built upon the tools that have ushered in the dawn of a new communication age; all social and all mobile nearly all the time. Keynote speaker and marketing mastermind Seth Godin placed the availability and communication shift in stark perspective. The two key elements, Godin opines, of not just leveraging these new tools of communication to drive business but for leading the way in which these tools should be put to use for the betterment of all mankind (yeah it is that heavy), is to pay close attention to two key ingredients: Art and generosity.

As talent acquisition professionals, we have a choice over how we view the community of talented individuals that posses specific skill sets that are currently in demand. Inbound 2013 made it clear that the choice must be made to help the individual see the possibilities that lay ahead of them based upon their unique attributes. To see their possibility not just from the actual, physical or technical skills they posses, but the possibilities represented by the very essence of who they are as individuals. More importantly, how they as individuals contribute to the mission that is advanced through the fruit of their work. It is a revolutionary moment that allows the individual to find creativity in what they do and to consciously give away the gifts they posses, trusting that relinquishing them will result in benefits that they may not initially be able to identify. There are benefits beyond the compensation gained by working, advancing the good of those directly and indirectly affected by the work.

Inbound is a cultural phenomenon. As far as talent acquisition goes, Inbound will transform it forever. Employment brand, talent community development, employee engagement, and company culture will all be molded by the new way of communication.

The most important Talent Acquisition Conference of 2013 was Inbound 2013, and it was about far more than recruiting. It was about helping every individual find the creative value in what their skills allow them to do, and in insisting that the employers that leverage these abilities are interested in more than just a ‘human resource.’ Edifying the individual, helping them identify their possibilities, providing them with the information that will help them realize their aspirations, and matching demand to these aspirations is the way of Inbound talent acquisition. It is the way in which the successful companies of today and the future will build their fortunes; fortunes that will be the result of the generosity to the very talent that makes the fortunes possible.

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