Musings From the 2018 California Staffing Professionals Conference

What we learned at the 2018 CSP Conference.

We loved attending the 2018 California Staffing Professionals Conference (CSP), and we’re proud to support this outstanding event. We connected with clients, vendor partners, prospects and learned a lot from some of the best minds in the staffing industry. This year’s event was held at the lovely Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage.

The theme of the 2018 conference was artificial intelligence (AI). Much of what was discussed focused on this topic and based on people’s reactions to the information that was being shared, AI is a topic of great interest and one that is not getting old anytime soon. Along with AI, discussions around chatbots, big data, analytics, machine learning and IoTs, drew a lot of interest from attendees, including the SmartSearch Sales Team as we are well-entrenched in the development of AI for recruiting and business development.

In addition to the main theme of artificial intelligence as the focal point of the event, the conference offered training on the use of soft skills, salesmanship, negotiation strategies, the power of persuasion and the use of emotional intelligence, along with timely updates on legal issues impacting the staffing industry in California.

Armed with our stylish booth, fun swag, collateral materials, raffle gift and presentation materials, we joined in the festivities along with our fellow attendees. The cocktail reception on opening night, June 6, was well attended and we enjoyed mingling and catching up with old friends.

Starting on Thursday, June 7, the day got off to a roaring start with some great presentations. This is one of the myriad benefits of attending a conference; you get to hear about new ideas and the adventures of people in their discovery of what advancements are happening in recruiting, along with the current trends and disruptions within the staffing industry.

The word “disruption” came up several times at various presentations. At the SmartSearch breakout session What Your Mother Never Told You About Using an ATS, disruption was discussed as a tactic to re-examine actions, decisions, motivations, and follow-through when making a software purchase. We used the concepts from an insightful business guide written by our CEO, Doug Coull. His guide instructs software buyers with practical advice when selecting, implementing and maintaining their ATS purchase.

During our breakout session, SmartSearch representatives Sylvia Dahlby and LJ Morris lead a discussion which emphasized the importance of disrupting the current way people go about buying software and how there is a better way. LJ shared real-world stories about “boomerang” clients, implementations that went wrong and those that went right, and why buyers always need to work with the incumbent vendor first and open a line of communication. Sylvia focused on the advice in the business guide and further discussed the importance of understanding your business needs and goals before shopping for software solutions. A commonly-made mistake is when buyers try to conduct a product-to-product comparison. This approach is ill-advised and often an unsuccessful methodology, as no two products will ever have the same, exact functionality. The SmartSearch breakout was an interactive discussion where attendees shared both good and bad experiences and offered commentary on the advice from others in the room. We entertained many excellent questions and enjoyed hearing the stories shared, though sadly, they didn’t all have a happy ending; but we all walked away knowing more than we had before engaging in this discussion.   

On Friday evening, we especially enjoyed a fun time at the masquerade gala The Future is Here complete with dining, dancing, photo booth, and casino night. The conference planners did a wonderful job arranging the gala, and we all had a great time!

Saturday morning’s breakfast featured the final session of the event, ending the conference with a bang. Keynote speaker, Patricia Conlin, talked to us about resilience and how to be mentally prepared for anything. She discussed why resiliency is so important in business, as well as life in general, and why being positive-minded is a key factor in your overall health, happiness, and prosperity. She touched upon something that struck a chord with us. Ms. Conlin explained why it’s important to give before you get, why being helpful and a resource to people is critical when establishing and maintaining relationships. We were delighted to hear this, as it reinforces our approach to be a customer-centric solutions provider and believers in our slogan, True Partnerships Matter.

We’ll be capitalizing on the great information we learned from this year’s conference by becoming better at what we do and using the information to help our clients reach and exceed their business goals.

We’re already looking forward to attending the California Staffing Professionals Conference (CSP) in 2019. We applaud the staff and volunteers at CSP for their tremendous efforts in coordinating and assembling an outstanding line-up of presenters, taking such good care of the exhibitors, and we thank them for all their hard work.