Recruiting in a restaurant ?

– Report on the first HR unconference in Germany, the HR BarCamp


The restaurant of a well-known TV chef, Sarah Wiener, no agenda, a conference fee of only 25 €, more than a hundred recruiters, consultants and agency people, casually dressed?

That’s a pretty uncommon setting in Germany to talk about HR, recruiting and recruiter 2.0, enterprise 2.0 and social media recruiting. Unlike the UK or other countries, we are not used to Bill Boormans’ TRU unconference style events, but in 2012 we have had our first unconference on HR topics, dubbed HR BarCamp in Berlin.

Here is a video ICR interview with Christoph Athanas, one of the heads behind the HR BARCAMP on his motivation, expectations in future plans with the HR BarCamp.


Instead of snoozing off in a PowerPoint battle or during a key note speakers well known plattitudes we were ask to decide ourselves on the topics of the Barcamp. Christoph Athanas of MetaHR, an HR Consultancy from Berlin, briefly explained the new rules to the audience. Our new motto is “listen, understand, join the discussion and network”.

  The audience is waiting for the topic pitches

The Menu                                                                            

Ok, let’s see what was on the menu (with no intentional order, but in the end we are in a restaurant, aren’t we):


• International Recruiting Channels (for specialists)
• Community Build up und Employer Branding in Social Media
• Live Recruitainment
• Talent Management 2.0 / 3.0
• Social Media Guidelines
• Leadership Branding

Main Courses

• Recruiter 2.0, What’s the new profile must look like
• Who are the millennials? – GEN Y – How to source, hire and retain them
• The future of online ads in the times of social media
• Storytelling – How to use the power of stories (2.0)? Myths – Branding –Knowledge-Sharing
• Go were the fish are! Employer Branding and Recruiting for Graduates
• Recruitainment / Games, Recruiting und Employer Branding


• True Beauty comes from within! Employer Branding & Social Media
• Video Interviews: Experiences, Studies und Szenarios
• Ads on Facebook – what works, what doesn‘t
• Culture of communication – are corporations ready for Web 2.0?
• Gamefication vs. Employee Engagement
• Resourceful Humans vs. Human Resources
• Open Grading – the free system for workplace evaluation 

                                            one man (woman), two votes                                                                the lucky choosen few

Hard to choose

Like with any good menu, it was exceptionally hard to decide what to choose, given the fact, that one would like to taste everything, but had to limit to two (knowing that in the end we would be able to join 6 sessions with 6 different topics). After the crowd decided on what they would like to talk about and had deliberately and democratically (“as mentioned: one man, two votes”) selected the 12 session topics, the separate groups left for the two designated discussion areas. After 50 minutes everybody gathered back for the next distributing of themselves for the following sessions and so on until the end of the 6 sessions.



What do the participants think of the HR BarCamp?

Let’s see the views some of the people, who have made their own experiences. The ICR interviewed Kai Deininger, the former Head of LinkedIn Germany and a TRU London veteran and Christoph Fellinger, Talent Relationship Manager of Beiersdorf, Hamburg.

 "maybe next time a european Recruitment BarCamp?" "I simply love it"

How was the real food?

Extremely important for the success of a (un-) conference, and for some participants the one and only remark after a conference, here are some insights in the provision of food. Started out with a joint breakfast for all participants, followed by a lunch buffet during the lunch break and finalized by the German specialty “Kaffee und Kuchen” (coffee and cakes) the food in the renowned restaurant of TV-chef Sarah Wiener was as delicious as expected.

Is the HR BarCamp any better than a regular conference with agenda, high caliber speakers, best practice show cases?

Compared to other conferences, the discussions have been much lively, (no asking “who would like to raise the first question, com’on guys, someone has to be the first”), a lot less PowerPoint slides, although there is still room for improvement, and a lot more exchanging of real live examples or good practices coming from within the participants. Instead of having excellent speakers and everybody else listening, it was somewhat like a “crowd competence sourcing”.

Definitely an experience I would like to repeat!

Wolfgang Brickwedde, ICR, Institute for Competitive Recruiting

Interested in the status of recruitment in Germany in general? Have a look at Recruiting in Germany: Facts & Figures.

Need assistance with recruiting in Germany? Have a look here.