Insights from LinkedIn Talent Connect 2019

Insights from LinkedIn Talent Connect 2019

LinkedIn’s 2019 Talent Connect conference spanned from September 25th-27th with keynote speakers the likes of Michelle Obama and Dean Carter, breakout sessions about everything talent acquisition, and even morning meditation and yoga. Some of our team members attended the event and gave us their favorite takeaways. Here's a round-up of recruitment marketing soundbites, top tweets, and where you can watch (or re-watch) your favorite speakers.

Whether you were one of the over 4,700 attendees, watched it live with popcorn and anticipation, or know absolutely nothing about this year’s three-day recruitment marketing extravaganza, here are your key insights from 2019’s LinkedIn Talent Connect.  

Let’s Talk About that Data: LinkedIn Talent Connect by the Numbers

We gathered the following data from surveys within the event’s mobile app. Employers, talent acquisition professionals, and recruitment marketers can all use the data as insight into the hot topics of recruitment marketing and where TA professionals would like to learn more.

We find it so interesting to see what attendees wanted to learn about, especially because the top choice was “Data-driven Recruiting!” It’s great to see the industry embracing data to make smart decisions. 


Source: Survey Results on LinkedIn Talent Connect App

“Talent Connect polled attendees prior to the conference on the top areas in which they wanted to learn about the most. Out of 651 responses, Data-Driven Recruiting received the highest number of votes at 35%, and Employer Branding took second place with 21%. The other categories—Diversity & Inclusion, Reskilling & Upskilling, and Employee Engagement—all faired equally as important.” - Julie Calli (Chief Strategy Officer, Recruitics)  

When we compare the attendee interest poll with the actual number of sessions by topic, it's possible that the attendees would have found more sessions on Data-Driven Recruiting and Employer Branding helpful. Recruitics’ President, Adam Stafford, also observed that Learning & Development was prominent at the event and provided a unique opportunity for “employers to differentiate through investment in developing people.”

linkedin-talent-connect-2019-attendee-poll-interests   linkedin-talent-connect-2019-attendee-poll-location   linkedin-talent-connect-2019-attendee-poll-times-attended

The event’s in-app surveys provided some other interesting insights about the conference and the industry, as well. For instance, LinkedIn Talent Connect’s success stems from giving attendees the ability to connect with not just other professionals, but the keynote speakers, too. This is reflected in the data where the majority of attendees (68%) were most excited about the phenomenal line-up of speakers, and 25% were most looking forward to networking with their peers (and apparently a handful of folks just came for the dancing! Or in the case of Cynthia Marshall, the attendees got an amazing speaker and fabulous dancing). 

Additionally, the survey data shed light on where attendees came from geographically and how often they’ve been to the event before, if at all. The data supports the fact that the recruitment marketing and talent acquisition industries are growing based off of the number of first-timers who attended this year (59%) compared to “seasoned vets” (29%), and the number of attendees who traveled great distances to attend (18% from other countries—cheers to the great international representation!).


Keynote Speakers

Now that we’ve reviewed the conference attendee data let’s dive into some of our favorite keynote speakers and their great recruitment marketing insights. 


Cynthia Marshall - “Leading with HeaRt”

Cynthia Marshall, the CEO of the Dallas Mavericks, danced off the conference with an empowering (and tearjerking) talk about leading with heart. We love this quote and completely agree—HR is essential and the “most vital part of an organization." It’s all about people first!

linkedin-talent-connect-2019-cynthia-marshall(Via @haroldmellor)linkedin-talent-connect-2019-cynthia-marshall-2(via @JenniferMcClure)

linkedin-talent-connect-2019-cynthia-marshall-3(Via @mfaulkner43)

linkedin-talent-connect-2019-cynthia-marshall-4(Via @JenniferMcClure)

The idea of writing out company values in more than just words is such a creative way to increase engagement—we love it! For instance, create unique hashtags for each value and rally your employees around those.


Jeff Weiner - “Better Together”

LinkedIn’s CEO, Jeff Weiner, talked about the “Network Gap” and the power of the network effect in his presentation, as well as LinkedIn’s fight for equal opportunity. He said, “people with equal talent should have equal access to opportunity, but some people don’t have the right connections or community to help them land the job they want.” He then invited attendees to take the Plus One Pledge and share their time, talent, or connections with people outside their network who may not have the same resources. 

linkedin-talent-connect-2019-jeff-weiner 2(Via @GlenCathey)

When it comes to the power of the network effect, employee advocacy is key. We see this in the data that “people who ask a connection for a referral when applying for a job on LinkedIn are 9X more likely to get hired.”


Read more about LinkedIn’s plan to close the network gap here.


Gary Vaynerchuk - “Running a Company with Empathy and Kindness”

The infamous Gary Vaynerchuk—CEO of VaynerMedia, best-selling author, and internet personality—took the stage at Talent Connect to discuss running a company with empathy and kindness and, of course, he added a bit of Gary Vee out-of-the-box thinking to recruitment marketing.

linkedin-talent-connect-2019-gary-vaynerchuk-1(Via @bmwatx)

linkedin-talent-connect-2019-gary-vaynerchuk-2(Via @mfaulkner43)

linkedin-talent-connect-2019-gary-vaynerchuk-3(Via @Lars)

linkedin-talent-connect-2019-gary-vaynerchuk-4(Via @HireOnLinkedIn)

As Gary puts it, "How can you have an organization where the asset is people, and yet you never focus on them?" We agree! Putting people first is critical, and it’s also why attracting and hiring the right talent is so important. 


Dean Carter - ”Beyond Stoked: The Power of Living Values Wildly”

Patagonia’s VP of Human Resources, Dean Carter, wowed the audience (and Twitter!) with his inspiring talk on how he incorporates Patagonia’s values into employee benefits and how other companies should, too. 

linkedin-talent-connect-2019-patagonia-1(Via @christinecuoco)

linkedin-talent-connect-2019-patagonia-2(Via @mfaulkner43)

linkedin-talent-connect-2019-patagonia-4(Via @MsMeaghanLynch)

linkedin-talent-connect-2019-patagonia-5(Via @StacyZapar)

linkedin-talent-connect-2019-patagonia-6(Via @Lars)


Michelle Obama - “A Moderated Conversation”

The featured special guest and last speaker of the event—the one, the only...Michelle Obama! Attendees began lining up at 5 a.m. for the former first lady, and her talk did not disappoint. 

Sara Wagner, Client Strategist at Recruitics, describes Michelle Obama’s talk as “the highlight of all the speakers. She reminded us that when it comes to inclusion, once you get a seat at the table, you’re not done—the work must continue, and you must be deliberate with your actions.”

linkedin-talent-connect-2019-michelle-obama(Via @frolady)

Watch the full Keynote Speakers’ sessions here.


Breakout Sessions

Last, but certainly not least, we would be remiss if we didn’t talk about some of the fantastic breakout sessions at the event. Talent Connect had over 40 breakout sessions spanning over two days. Here are some of the top highlights: 


LinkedIn - “Better Together: LinkedIn Product Vision”

The LinkedIn team introduced company news and developments, such as a complete overhaul of their mobile platform (expected later this year) and integrating their Insights into their Recruiter & Jobs platforms. 

linkedin-talent-connect-2019-product-vision-better-together(Via @StacyZapar)

John Jersin, Product Leader at LinkedIn, also announced that LinkedIn is now partnered with every major ATS in the space.

Read more about LinkedIn’s product vision here


Instacart - “Let’s Give ‘Em Something to Taco ‘Bout: How Comms is a Key Ingredient to Your Employer Brand Success”

Instacart had plenty of food puns to keep the audience (and Twitter) egg-cited! 

linkedin-talent-connect-2019-instacart(Via @mvdtweets)

Melissa Van Dyke, Social Marketing Manager at Recruitics, says, "It was inspiring to see how Instacart embraces their company culture and unique personality into their employer brand and creative assets. How many companies can say they have a running food pun library?"


Rosanna Durruthy & Deanne Tockey - “Looking Beyond the Glass Ceiling”

This inspiring session by Rosanna Durruthy (LinkedIn’s Global Head of D&I) and Deanne Tockey (LinkedIn’s Insights Program Manager) shared how LinkedIn is working to give women more seats at the table. 

linkedin-talent-connect-2019-glass-ceiling(Via @JoieKarcher)


John Vlastelica - “How to Be a Strategic Talent Acquisition Pro”

John Vlastelica’s session was a favorite amongst attendees as he gave relevant, actionable information. 

linkedin-talent-connect-2019-john-vlastelica(Via @DawnHBurke)

Dawn mentions, “If recruiters are giving leaders time back, we are winning!” We couldn’t agree more, and that’s why we recommend finding recruitment technologies, automation tools, and agency partners to help your hiring teams move faster and save time! - “Tactics for Learner Engagement”’s session focused on learner engagement and had some great advice, like “create a learning brand within your company.” Happy employees are learning employees. Learner engagement is key to employee happiness, which leads to increased retention and productivity.  

linkedin-talent-connect-2019-weandme(Via @rithesh)

linkedin-talent-connect-2019-weandme-1  linkedin-talent-connect-2019-weandme-2


Who Were Your Favorites?

This year’s Talent Connect was filled with amazing keynote speakers, informative breakout sessions, and some great yoga. Our faves are Michelle Obama, Dean Carter, the Network Gap, Looking Beyond the Glass Ceiling, and Instacart’s food puns. We’re already counting down the days until next year’s event!

What were your highlights of Talent Connect? Have any favorite quotes, tweets, or moments? Share them with us with us on social media.

twitter-596368-64x64 linkedin-596368-64x64 (2) facebook-596368-64x64 instagram-01


Subscribe to newsletter


Find Out How We Can Become an Extension of Your Talent Acquisition Team