Casual But Powerful: Conversations that Need to Happen

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A Conference of the Minds

In the past, I have had the incredible good fortune of attending the ERE Spring Expo in San Diego – this is a conference and expo geared toward in-house or corporate hiring professionals.  I am a big fan of any gathering where great minds, incredible technology, and brilliant conversations are allowed to boldly roam.


A memorable conversation at a past ERE took place a couple years ago with one of my favorite people, Mr. John Sumser.  Some of you may know of John or have had the unique opportunity to meet him, experience a Sumser presentation, or read his work.  He is intimately connected with conversations not only surrounding but also deeply entrenched in the recruiting and HR industries.  Several years ago, he toured the country with a very insightful and inciteful project known as The Recruiting Roadshow – the FIRST recruiting unConference.  A casual but powerful conversationalist, John is able to incessantly drive discussions which lead to change of thought which we all know leads to change of action.   His knowledge and connections are derived from years of  writing for and about the recruiting industry and those who serve it.

Let’s just say he has a vested interest.

Thankfully, I can directly thank John Sumser.  He is one of the reasons why I am such an avid and frenetic writer.  He challenged me from almost the first day we met.   Challenge and finding the better way have always been driving forces for me and I can think of no better education than motivation.  When Mr. Sumser learned of my project Bonus Track that began on and how I intended to write Monday through Friday, holidays included, leaned into me – our noses almost touching – and said menacingly, “You will never be able to do it.”

My Thanks

I can thank him and rightfully blame him for the unmistakable impetus he planted in my heart and restless writer’s brain.  I have since never had writer’s block.  Never.  One might think this is a great attribute for a writer, but – for me –  it is sometimes a curse.  I can’t not write.  Ever.  Every time I think I might be experiencing something that feels like writer’s block, I picture myself ceremoniously shaking my “I’ll show you” fist at Sumser’s now infamous pony tail as he walks away.  Good times.

Out With Normal Conventions

John Sumser and his cohorts over at HRExaminer often shake their collective fists at the normal conventions and misunderstandings we typically hold of (and within) the HR community.  Those who sell services and technologies to Recruiters and HR Professionals think they get it, they think they understand the core HR and Recruiting buying audience and how to sell to them.  But following multiple conversations with John and others like him, I realize how wrong these assumptions are and can be.  This continues to be a “shake up”.  It stirs the very soul of HR sales and the writhing body of Recruiting Tech development. 

Sumser is all about shaking up preconceived notions.  And yes, he is a writer who has a love/hate relationship with this industry.  There are many of us who do.  There are also many of us who wish and work diligently for success, greater success than already achieved.  And why the hell not?  For me, it is the better way which I consistently seek.

I Do It My Way

I write what I want.  No one tells me what to write.   I am a renegade with a clear and present maverick heart.  I write about what I am compelled to write and this post is no different.

In our frenzied world of heated debates surrounding the stereotypes of politics, sex, and life – why would the HR and Recruiting thoughts, practices, services, and technologies be any different? I am prepared to stand in the gap and be a bridge between stereotype and what it truth and reality. And I have a feeling I am not alone.


by Rayanne Thorn


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