Heard on the [HCM] Hill: Candidate Experience Symposium

October has been a busy month, starting with the 2nd Annual Candidate Experience Symposium and Awards Banquet.

Pause & full disclosure: The Devon Group represents Talent Board, the brain trust behind The CandEs. And, as a New Yawker by birth, Texas usually feels like another planet to me.

So imagine my delight when Fort Worth, Texas turned out to be the most charming venue for one of the industry’s most well-produced and compelling conferences on the recruiting topic. Pre-conference workshops kicked off the event, featuring industry experts such as Joe Murphy from SHAKER, Dwayne Lay of Dovetail and Crystal Miller of Branded Strategies, the ubiquitous Matt Charney and Craig Fisher. Wow.

Although familiar faces to all, it was great to see CareerXroads welcome new partner Chris Hoyt and Talent Board announce Kevin Grossman as VP. And while I love rubbing elbows with old friends, my favorite sessions were those featuring in-the-trenches case studies from Delta Airlines, Wells Fargo, McKesson and Capital One. Double wow.

The absolute pièce de résistance was a keynote by relatively unknown Heath Padgett. He’s a writer, filmmaker and Texas native who quit his job in software sales to travel across 50 states in an RV with his newlywed wife. Along the way, Heath worked an hourly wage job in every state, while filming a documentary titled “Hourly America.” He’s like 24 years old, incredibly poised, a super communicator and all-around great guy. Don’t think he’ll need that RV to go far in life. Triple wow.

My only regrets were not getting to see more of Fort Worth (note to self: schedule long weekend there) and missing the closing keynote by China Gorman, one of my most favorite people on this earth.

Think a positive candidate experience doesn’t really matter? Think again. Your candidates are your customers.