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Conference Sketch: CACEE 2010

by Paul Smith

The Recruiters are coming back to the Campus and they’ll be using
Social Media to tell you about it


The Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers (CACEE) just wrapped up a successful, invigorating national conference in Halifax and the news is good. Employers reported that their plans for 2010 / 2011 include a return to on-campus recruiting, but in a modified manner. Ongoing budget constraints will be a factor as they try to meet hiring objectives and social networks will play a role.


It was fitting that CACEE 2010 was held in Halifax, a community transitioning into the 21stcentury economy. It boasts Canada’s highest concentration of post-secondary institutions and thereby home to all of the talent it could need. It is a thriving economic engine in a resurgent Atlantic economy emerging from reliance upon exhausted primary industries. The vibe in Halifax mirrors the rest of Canada; a little bold, a little tentative, a whole lot hopeful.


Wary confidence is returning to the Canadian economy (keeping an eye on Europe and the US) and employers are beginning to recruit. But 2010 is not 2007, and one senses that the “War for Talent” era has passed. The aggressive hiring practices are replaced with efficient and prudent measures.


Recruiting through social networking is innovative and the proper application of these new tools is allowing recruiters to leverage tight dollars and expand their recruiting plans. This gives job-seekers reason for optimism, and as more employers adopt the practice, it will move from the leading edge to the middle of the pack.


In Halifax we learned that the move may be happening; social media are becoming a standard of doing business. Surveyed employers, including those who responded to the annual CACEE Benchmark, have indicated that they plan to integrate social networking into their recruiting campaigns.


The question, then, going into the conference was not “if?” but “when and how?” For many “when” is now and “how” depends on the employer. Conference delegates discussed the range of available social network options, weighing the pros and cons of the better known formats. Facebook is fun, but Farmville is a distraction. Twitter is efficient, but limited in its impact. Second Life started with promise, but seems to have lost traction. The consensus emerged that LinkedIn is the preferred available platform with its inherent CV type structure and reliance upon professional networks to build your contacts.


Numerous sessions of particular interest to ContactPoint subscribers were also offered throughout the three day conference. Topics such as empowering aboriginal youth and preparing international students to engage in the Canadian labour market were among the sessions on offer this year. The role and best practices for campus career services was examined in numerous sessions, as one would expect. And for our employer members, there were valuable sessions on equity hiring and on creating campus awareness for industry sectors, among others.


This summary represents just a small sample of the great things that happened at CACEE 2010 Halifax. Of course, this being CACEE, there was an ample amount of networking that took advantage of all the fun the region has to offer. If you are a college or university career professional and you have never attended a CACEE National Conference, why not join us in Niagara Falls in 2011? And if you’re an old friend, come on back. We’d love to see you again.


For those of you in Ontario, there will be an Ontario Regional Professional Development day on Tuesday, December 7.  Mark your calendar and watch for additional information.


Paul D. Smith is the new Executive Director of CACEE.


If Paul’s report on recruiting and social networks peaks your interest, be sure to visit the Fall Bulletin 2010 for an exploration of Web 2.0 and career development, available at ContactPoint in mid-October. – Ed.

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