3 Insights from the ISSA Midwest Staffing Conference 2017


The echogravity team recently attended the 2017 ISSA Midwest Staffing Conference, a gathering of staffing leaders from across the state of Illinois. The event consisted of valuable networking opportunities and several presentations and panels from thought leaders in the industry. It was an excellent opportunity to meet up with some of our existing clients, meet new companies and leaders, and learn about up-and-coming trends. We’re also grateful to Careerbuilder, who hosted a lively dinner to kick off the conference.

Here is a small window into some of our experiences at the conference.

ISSA Midwest Staffing Conference 2017 Dinner

Social Media Best Practices in Staffing

echogravity’s own team members, Amy Wunderlich and Natalie Chrapla, led a seminar on the best practices for building your personal brand and hiring talent on social media. They revealed some telling statistics that should be eye-opening to anyone in the staffing industry. In particular, 59% of employees say that a company’s social media presence was part of the reason they chose to work at the company. Furthermore, 80% of employers say social recruiting helps them find passive candidates.

ISSA Midwest Staffing Conference 2017 Social

If you’re not using social media as a key tool in your sales and recruiting strategies, then you’re missing out on a major opportunity that you can guarantee your competition is on top of. Having said that, chances are likely that you’re dabbling in social media already. The challenge is that effective social media use that achieves a successful ROI requires consistent and comprehensive effort as well as ongoing knowledge of the evolving changes each network employs on a frequent basis.

Amy and Natalie presented some high-value insight into sourcing practices on LinkedIn, Twitter and Reddit. We’ll be discussing this in further detail in a future post, so stay tuned.

“3 Under 35” Staffing Leaders Panel

The ISSA Young Professionals and Emerging Leaders group is a collaboration between staffing leaders who are all under the age of 35. At the Midwest Staffing Conference, three of these leaders served on a panel to share their insight and experiences in the industry. The panelists included Bryan Tweed, Director of Recruiting at CyberSearch; Shannon Deamer, Managing Director at Careers in Nonprofits; and Jon Jelinek, Managing Director at Advanced Resources.

ISSA Midwest Staffing Conference 2017 3 under 35

To open the session, the panelists were asked how they got into recruiting. Because most people in the industry usually reveal that they “fell into” their career, Bryan Tweed’s answer surprised us: He always knew he wanted to go into staffing and recruiting, in part because of his love for relationship-building. On the other hand, Shannon was originally on track to be a therapist – she has several degrees and coursework towards that goal – but ended up in recruiting, specifically in the nonprofit field, where she loves helping people shape their careers.

When asked what advice they would give to young professionals starting out in staffing and recruiting, all three panelists agreed that it takes persistence. A successful career in the industry requires a marathon effort, not a sprint, and your first year is never going to be a slam dunk. In essence, you reap what you sow. There was also agreement in what attributes to look for when hiring someone in the staffing/recruiting field: It’s all about hunger, they said. A candidate must have skin in the game and be money-motivated. If they don’t have that hunger to keep winning, it’s too easy to walk away when things get hard.

Attributes of Best Staffing Sales Reps

Tom Kosnik of the Visus Group also spoke about the attributes of the best sales rep in his insightful seminar about the end-to-end process of building a strong staffing team. These attributes include the following:

ISSA Midwest Staffing Conference 2017 Tom

Ego strength: A successful sales rep must have a strong ego to capture the attention of buyers. Time and again, he’s seen that lower egos have a hard time connecting with buyers and closing the sale.

Extroversion: The ability to approach people confidently is key to successful sales, which is why extroversion is important. However, although a sales rep must be outgoing, they also must be a great listener. Great sales require a two-way conversation.

Analysis: Analytic thinking is crucial for a successful sales rep. Long-term success is not created through intuition or with a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants attitude.

Conformance: This is an interesting one, because a person must be able to conform to a basic set of rules, but the best sales reps are willing to go against the grain and know when (and how) to break some of those rules to achieve the best results. To some degree, they are non-conformists.

Wrapping Up

This is obviously a small window into all the insightful and engaging sessions at the ISSA Midwest Staffing Conference 2017. We loved spending time chatting with many leaders in the local industry, and gaining new perspectives on what it takes to be successful.

ISSA Midwest Staffing Conference 2017 Kevin

The Illinois Search & Staffing Association is a valuable organization for making connections, growing knowledge, and gaining benefits that will make your staffing firm successful. Check out ISSA here.