3 Takeaways From Talent Connect and Glassdoor Summit

By: Chris Skaggs | @chrislskaggs


I had the privilege of recently attending two great conferences, LinkedIn Talent Connect (#TalentConnect) and the Glassdoor Summit (#GDSummit). I’m not a newbie to conferences, but I kind of geek out for these…#guilty! The few days away from the office, networking with some of the industry’s best and brightest is such a great experience. I mean, who doesn’t want to hear from Sir Richard Branson and Arianna Huffington, as well as the heads of talent acquisition and talent management at companies such as Netflix, Salesforce, Uber, HubSpot and Ericsson?You may be thinking that’s great to hear what SAP and Cisco are doing, but my company doesn’t have the same teams or budget. I had the same mindset too, until I realized with just a few tweaks and adaptations, even small to medium-sized businesses can use some of the same programs and initiatives of much larger companies.

I first attended Talent Connect three years ago, when our company initiated its rebranding and marketing journey. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’m also not at all ashamed to tell you much of what we currently do at TSP is inspired by adapted programs from some of the nation’s largest and most award-wining companies that I heard from at Talent Connect that first year. In fact, I even wrote about our talent brand journey and a recap of my first year as a one-person marketing department.

There are typically several key themes that come out of these conferences each year, and this year was no different. Here are my observations and takeaways from Talent Connect and Glassdoor Summit 2016:


Robert Hohman, the CEO of Glassdoor, addressed how “transparency has forever changed the world of HR” in his keynote speech. Think about it for a minute – before you make a sizable purchase, what do you do? You research. Before you choose what college you want to attend, what do you do? You research. Before you swipe right on Tinder, what do you do? You research.

Similarly, companies need to demonstrate transparency and show (not just tell) job seekers what it’s like to work there. Today, candidates are more in power than ever and as a result, are demanding transparency from prospective employers. In fact, 90% of job seekers say that it's important to work for a company that embraces transparency.

Keep in mind that potential employees are also consumers, and very likely to read reviews about your company. Candidates want a realistic picture of what working for your company will look like. 

Although it may be uncomfortable at first, you should embrace the good along with the bad (warts and all). That right there is radical transparency, and definitely the movement that is occurring today.


Simply put, the EVP is your company’s unique offerings, associations and values as experienced by your employees. Your employer or talent brand, which was first defined in the mid 1990s, denotes your organization’s reputation as an employer, as opposed to its more general corporate brand reputation.

You might be thinking, why bother with defining your EVP and developing a talent brand …aren’t a company mission, vision and set of core values enough?

Yes and no. While they should align, your EVP is an employee-centered approach. A good EVP should consist of statements (we’re not talking a charter document here) explaining why working at your organization is superior to working at other organizations.

Think of it as a roadmap for what a candidate can expect should they choose to bring their talents to your organization. This is why it has to be authentic. As Lars Schmidt said, “great employer branding both attracts and repels candidates.” 

If you give candidates an accurate and authentic vision of what’s it’s like to work for your company, you should be able to keep detractors to a minimum. Not every company’s culture is right for every candidate, and that’s OK.

So what do you do if you haven’t documented your EVP? It doesn’t have to be a huge drawn-out process and it definitely isn’t set in stone, but you should go into the process with a purpose and defined strategy. The four easy-to-follow steps shared at Talent Connect are: 1) research internally, 2) research externally, 3) put it all together, and 4) measure and optimize.

Still not convinced you need to invest time in developing an authentic EVP and employer brand? Think about this – according to LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends Report, 80% of talent leaders agree that employer brand has a significant impact on their ability to hire great talent.


Sounds simple, right? The ultimate challenge is “great talent is not attracted to mediocre recruiters,” said Wade Burgess, VP of Talent Solutions at LinkedIn.  

Recruiters must up their game to bring in the great talent, and your hiring managers and talent acquisition professionals must form a trusted partnership. According to Nellie Peshkov, VP, Talent Acquisition at Netflix, “The foundation of true talent acquisition business partnerships has to be mutual, built on trust, and have a constant flow of communication.”

During Nellie’s keynote, she spoke about the true meaning and value of partnership, and specifically how she was able to build a culture of recruitment at Netflix where every single person at your company is passionate about recruiting great talent.

For those who want to uncover all the “superpowers” talent acquisition professionals can use to build successful partnerships, do yourself a favor and invest about 30 minutes of your time to watch her entire keynote address. 

It’s nearly impossible to summarize the knowledge from industry conferences to just a few key takeaways, but if you only take one thing away from this post – always remember attracting great talent takes a village (I’m serious, people!). Whether you are a hiring manager, a recruiter or an individual contributor, we can all work together to build a culture of recruitment at our respective companies and hire the right people for the right jobs.

To close, I have a challenge for you – get out to at least one conference in the next 12 months. I promise you won’t be disappointed.