A Trip Down Memory Lane: #HRTechConf 2018 Preview

I’ve been there, done that with HR Tech.

It’s a bit of a legacy event from my POV. I’ve been working in this industry for 10 years now (#old) and unlike so many of the new conferences on the scene today, it’s the one that no matter what HR technology, RPO, or media company I’ve worked for in this space, someone on my team attended. I’ve overheard analysts from firms big and small tell startups year after year, “you can’t miss HR Tech, whatever you do.”

Whether I believe that isn’t important. It’s the fact that they say it in the first place that is.

I actually met my now wife when I missed a connecting flight in Denver right after my first HR Tech four years ago. Talk about fate, right? I remember feeling really excited about attending. Important. I met so many people and writers I had admired for years – Heather Bussing, Robin Schooling, Mary Ellen Slayter.

And there I was. Having coffees and drinks with them.

I was also really overwhelmed. I work from home, so the commute from my hotel room all the way to the conference hall was a bit of a nightmare. My feet ached. But my head was aching even more. I didn’t know where to go, what to do, or who to talk to.

But, man, did I talk. It felt like I was talking for seven days straight. Getting on my first fight toward home (LAS > DEN), I fell asleep with my arms crossed in the middle seat. Pure exhaustion.
This year will be my third event. I’ve actually never attended another industry conference that many times, and I’m not alone. I know people who have been attending in the double digits now. That’s a sign to me.

No, I’m not being paid to say that, and no, I’m not part of the blog squad.

And the lucky part about attending an event this often means we can take a different approach each year. In year one, I went for too many days. Seven days in Vegas isn’t healthy. In year two, I booked too many meetings. I actually introduced myself by the wrong name during a Glassdoor party – I was that tired. We were going around the circle and the woman next to me said, “Hi, I’m Tracy” and I parroted, “Hi, I’m Tracy.” No lie.

So in year three, I’m trying something different. It’s the first year I am going for Three Ears Media. While I’m not as excited about the part where I have to expense everything to my own credit card, I am proud to represent my own company. Plus, I don’t have to attend any weird team dinners. (Maybe you can’t look forward to the same thing. Sorry.)

As far as meetings, for every business meeting I’ve booked, I’ve also booked a fun dinner or coffee with someone I already know and love – time that I know will make me feel more fulfilled as a human, not just as a business.

I’m also looking forward to the content. In past years, I’ve booked every minute with meetings and this year I’m taking it easy-ish. I want to enjoy myself without going into an introverted coma for a week from over-communicating. As one of the speakers (I’m leading a panel Tuesday morning), I reviewed the agenda and it’s solid. No, not just because I’m on it. I think people who take the time to walk out of the vendor hall and into these sessions can learn a lot.

Here are a few I definitely won’t be missing:

HR: Always Be Marketing
Room: Delfino 4102 Session Number: WH2B
Tuesday, September 11, 2018: 9:30 AM – 10:20 AM

This is my session, so obviously, I’ll be there. This session is about all the ways we’re always talking about our employer brand, whether we know it or not.


An Introduction to AI for HR Leaders
Room: Lando Session Number: AI1
Wednesday, September 12, 2018: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

I don’t miss John Sumser, period. He has a way of making sense of things and I’m interested to know the trends specific to leaders, not just the generic chatbot recommendations I’ve been hearing (most of which are not AI, by the way).


Talent Acquisition Trends: Asking the Tough Questions
Room: Zeno 4602 Session Number: TA1
Wednesday, September 12, 2018: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

If you have “director” in your title, you’re marketed to a LOT. This is a session that can help you sort the mess from the rest when your inbox is piling up with demo requests.


Selecting the Right HR Technology: From Need to Implementation
Room: Marcello 4502 Session Number: PS2
Wednesday, September 12, 2018: 1:15 PM – 2:15 PM

This panel is badass. I love hearing Martin Burns and George LaRocque talk shop and I’m confident their panel will bring some great information, too.


HR Tech Talk | Trouble Metrics: How to Effectively Use Your HR Data
Room: Expo – HR Tech Talks Theater 2928 Session Number: HR Tech Talk
Wednesday, September 12, 2018: 1:20 PM – 1:40 PM

First of all, I adore Heather Bussing. But that’s not why I’m attending that session (at least not the entire reason). I’m attending because if anyone can teach you how to translate data in 20 minutes, it’s her.


Then I go home. Not to say there aren’t great sessions Thursday and Friday, I just won’t be there.

So, how about you? What sessions will you be at? Will I see you there?


Kat Kibben View All →

Kat Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.

Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster, Care.com, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.

Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.

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