Cut & Polish

The Top 5 Talent Acquisition Conferences You Can (and Should!) Still Catch in 2021

Talent acquisition conferences offer important opportunities to “step out of the weeds” of your role for a day (or five!) to expand your network of peers, get acquainted with the latest technology solutions, gain insights into industry trends, discover valuable best practices and creative strategies, get inspired by industry leaders, and generally invest in your own professional development. The last year-plus has been a time of tremendous transformation in recruiting and talent acquisition; so while conferences have always afforded these opportunities, the TA gatherings of 2021 are bound to offer deep insights into strategic pivots, (re)accelerated hiring, and trends that came out of the pandemic that are here to stay.

As many of us start moving “back into the world” beyond our homes and into our offices at the halfway point of 2021, the talent acquisition industry is providing as many opportunities for development, growth, and connection in person as it is online. And if you’re anything like us, you’re probably curious about what recruiting conferences look like—and what they’ll entail—in the latter half of this year. At Gem, we’ve been doing our research on conferences (as well as planning our own!); and we’ve rounded up the top 5 talent acquisition conferences we’ll be paying attention to in the last half of this year. If you’re looking for community, excitement, growth, inspiration, and insights, you won’t want to miss these:

Talent Acquisition Week

When: July 19-23

Where: Online

What is it: Talent Acquisition Week brings together the Social Recruiting Strategies Conference, the Employer Branding Strategies Conference, and the Talent Sourcing Strategies Summit all under one (virtual) roof. This 5-day conference is focused on “utilizing innovative strategies, tools, and technology to reimagine talent acquisition.” It’ll cover everything from how to personalize your recruitment strategies; to methods for improving sourcing, diversity, and employer branding; to post-pandemic approaches to remote recruiting, interviewing, and onboarding; to defining a diversity and inclusion strategy for sourcing and recruiting; to tips and tricks for your social media strategy (or a full overhaul of your current strategy).

Highlights: Virtual networking lounges and real case studies offered by speakers. Keynotes include “Talent Acquisition State of the Union: What You Need to Know” by Susan LaMotte, CEO & Principal Strategist of the employer brand experience firm exaqueo; “Navigating TA Transformation & Record Hiring During the Pandemic” by Robert Daugherty, VP of Talent Acquisition at Lowe’s; and “Humanizing Diversity through Diversity Hiring Maturity” by Rocki Howard, Chief Diversity Officer at SmartRecruiters.

Who should attend: Talent Acquisition Week brings sourcing, recruiting, and employer branding strategies together; so anyone who’s responsible for these things in their org will get some great takeaways from this conference. The event page includes its own list of “Who Should Attend,” which includes virtually everyone in—or who touches—talent acquisition: from sourcers and recruiters, to recruiting leads, to VPs of recruiting, to agency recruiters, to CHROs, to VPs of strategy,  to social recruiting and social marketing strategists, to folks in employer branding and recruitment marketing.

SHRM Talent Conference & Expo

When: August 22-25

Where: Las Vegas, NV (and virtual)

What is it: The industry-leading Society for Human Resource Management is headed to Vegas next month for its annual conference & exposition—though SHRM is also offering a virtual option to attendees. The conference is focused on getting recruitment and talent management professionals the support they need “to reimagine their strategies, processes and policies” in the wake of 2020—the year that forever changed our workplaces. This 4-day conference includes 50+ sessions across 7 content tracks that cover everything from “Fostering Innovation Through a Culture of Allyship,” to how to “Burnout-Proof Your Talent,” to “Digging Into Your Diversity Data and Careers Site,” to “How HR Can Start Building Internal Communities,” to “Transforming and Rising to the Role of Trusted Recruitment Advisor,” to “Women, Emotional Intelligence, and Leadership at Work.” (Note that the virtual sessions are not all the same as the in-person sessions; take a look at the separate offerings if you’re on the fence about how you’d like to attend.)

Highlights: SHRM always brings great keynote speakers, and this year is no exception: Oris Stuart (Chief People & Inclusion Officer at the National Basketball Association), Dasha Smith (Executive Vice President & Chief Administrative Officer at the National Football League), Captain Sully Sullenberger (Retired Air Force Fighter Pilot and Nominated Diplomat), and Marc Effron (President of the Talent Strategy Group) are among the keynotes. Not to mention the “highlight” of gathering together, in real-time, without a Zoom application between us. 

Who should attend: If you’re a recruitment or talent management professional, this conference is for you. 

Gem Talent Summit

When: September 15

Where: Online

What is it: Gem’s second annual talent summit is happening on September 15! Our focus this year is “Hiring. Reimagined.” given so many companies are experiencing post-pandemic hiring accelerations of a kind they’ve never experienced before. When hiring at such scale, and with teams being built faster than ever, how do we collectively reimagine outdated practices? Join us to learn how today’s largest companies are thinking about hiring in this new landscape.

Highlights: We’re still finalizing the agenda; but if 2021 is anything like 2020 was, it’s going to be an outstanding lineup. Last year we had 23 speakers over 16 sessions, which covered everything from how to operationalize a diversity sourcing strategy, to how to strengthen relationships with hiring managers in a world of remote hiring, to the key reports that every talent leader needs. We were honored to be joined by Deepa Subramaniam, Chief Product & Digital Officer at the ACLU, and Reid Hoffman, Partner at Greylock and Co-Founder of LinkedIn, for keynote talks. We also had the opportunity to offer product sessions, summarize some of the most exciting product features Gem shipped this year, share some details of our product roadmap for 2021, and celebrate our customers’ successes in our inaugural Top User Awards Ceremony. 

Who should attend: We’ll be offering two content tracks. The first is for Leaders, Executives, and Talent Ops, which will cover everything from forecasting hiring and capacity planning to using data to create actionable talent acquisition plans. The other is for Recruiters, Sourcers, and Practitioners, and will cover diversity sourcing, streamlining tasks with hiring managers, and more. So wherever you sit in talent acquisition, you’ll have content and learning opportunities that suit your needs. 

ERE Digital

When: September 23-24

Where: Online

What is it: ERE Digital is produced by ERE Media, “the longest-running and most trusted source of information about recruitment, talent acquisition, and talent management.” (ERE Media was founded over 2 decades ago.) September’s event will include two full days of live sessions by expert practitioners; and tickets include a 3-month ERE Pro Subscription—which means access to the largest on-demand talent acquisition video knowledge-base. That’s a lot of resources to accompany your two days of community. 

Highlights: Like Gem, ERE is still working on its speaker lineup; but we can pretty much guarantee that it’ll be practitioner-led and will focus on case studies, practical insights, and immediately-actionable best practices. ERE is known for events that walk talent acquisition professionals through real, tangible solutions to improve their craft; and they always select speakers who can discuss concrete strategies behind their success. So check back… because you won’t want to miss this!

Who should attend: ERE Media maintains three outstanding brands that cater to three core audiences: ERE.net (for recruitment and talent acquisition professionals), SourceCon (for sourcers and recruiters who source), and TLNT (for business-driven HR professionals). If you fall into any of these categories, this conference will bring you ideas and best practices from some of the best in your field.

HR Tech

When: September 28-October 1

Where: Las Vegas, NV

What is it: HR Tech has been “the industry’s leading independent event for 20+ years,” and its focus has been on showcasing the technology solutions that drive success for talent acquisition and HR professionals. We suspect it’s going to be especially interesting this year, given all the new strategies and processes COVID necessitated, and the new technologies that arose from those needs. Want to know what the future of HR and recruiting systems looks like post-pandemic? Look no further than this conference.

Highlights: HR Tech hosts the world’s largest HR tech marketplace (it’s hosting 450+ vendors this year); so recruiting, HR, and IT professionals looking for insights and guidance on important tech-stack decisions can explore thousands of products from hundreds of vendors here. Keynote speakers include Abby Wambach (soccer icon and DEI activist), Josh Bersin (global HR industry analyst), Marcus Buckingham (Head of Research, People & Performance at ADP), and Ravin Jesuthasan (Senior Partner and Global Leader for Transformation Services at Mercer). HR Tech also hosts a half-day summit in the midst of the conference called the “Women in HR Technology Summit,” which is a must for those of you (which is hopefully all of you) curious about technologies that will help you drive gender equity in your workplace.

Who should attend: HR Tech’s primary objective is to drive recruiting and HR success through technology. So anyone who’s looking to optimize usage of current systems, to compare products side-by-side in real-time, to have up-close experiences of this year’s newly-launched products, or to get direct answers from vendors before making any recruiting system or purchasing decisions, would benefit from this conference. (And that includes anyone who wants to know more about Gem… because we’ll be there!)

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