Last week I headed down to London for the Recruitment Agency Expo at the Olympia. It is always difficult taking time out of the office as a small business and I was making up all sorts of excuses as to why I shouldn’t go and get on with the ‘real business’ of finding great candidates for great jobs.

It was a friend who is a fireman and has nothing to do with Recruitment and nothing to do with business at all really. He said if you sit in your office and do what you always do then you might miss out on that one idea or that one connection which could change everything. Very aware of a tendency to not see the wood for the trees, I agreed.

So it was with that thought that I took the 7am flight from Edinburgh looking for inspiration, motivation, new connections, up to date info on the recruitment market and maybe a couple of nice meals and a few drinks along the way.

I wasn’t disappointed. I arrived around 10 and went into a series of seminars entitled: Developing a Training Program within your Recruitment Business by Ross Williams from one of James Caan’s businesses – Recruitment guide, How to acquire candidates and recruiting clients with the right social media strategy by Tony Restell of Social Hire, Why are recruiters so bad at attracting their own People by Anna Plotnek of Plott Creative (Music to the ears for a recruiter who specialised in recruiting for recruiters).

I then went to lunch with one of our suppliers, Stewart Roberts of the very excellent TBOS (Total Back Office Solutions). Paul McKenzie-Cummins of Clearly PR finished off the day of learning for me with his excellent talk entitled 5 Killer ways to build your Recruitment brand as the agency of choice using PR and Marketing. It was then time to head off to meet a prospective candidate in Central London followed by an early night following an early start of 4am.

Day 2 saw an early start and straight into a training session on learning how to headhunt followed by Shane McCusker explaining candidate sourcing via Facebook. Wendy MacDougall of Firefish software delivered an excellent session on the things that the top SME Recruitment business do (very relevant!!) Anna Swain of Apso told us how to make opportunity out of chaos and some other chap told us the 7 steps to success.

I must admit that by this point I was totally ‘seminared out’ and so an excellent lunch with a guy who is helping with the Blair Recruitment marketing strategy was a very welcome distraction.

All in all a very productive 2 days and very much looking forward to returning next year.