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Recfest 2019: British / U.S. Relations are Headed for a New Low

With Recfest 2019 a little over a week away in London, what better way for Chad & Cheese to pregame than to get the show's masterminds, Jamie Leonard and Joe Slavin? The boys breakdown the show and give listeners a sneak-peek into the havoc that is about to invade English shores.

Tengai: Hi this is Tengai the unbiased interview robot. You're listening to The Chad and Cheese Podcast. I love these guys.

Announcer: Hide your kids, lock the doors! You're listening to HR's most dangerous podcast, Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to punch the recruiting industry right where it hurts. Complete with breaking news, rash opinion, and loads of snark. Buckle up boys and girls, it's time for The Chad and Cheese Podcast.

Joel: Bad food, worse weather, Mary fucking Poppins. We got some Brits on the show today.

Chad: That's right.

Joel: And what better day to have them than when the USA is about to kick the English women's ass in the World Cup.

Chad: Well today, on the Chad and Cheese special edition podcast we have Jamie Leonard, and Joe Snaven, from-

Joel: Slavin.

Chad: Recruitment events company a.k.a. big fucking RecFest. All the way from London, let me hear it guys.

Chad: So guy's you're going to have to be a little gentle on Joel because yesterday was Canada Day, and he's drunk on Canadian beer. I didn't even know Canada had a day. I mean Canada- is Canada big enough population wise?

Joel: Ruin the towel on me today.

Jamie: Is that like the 4th of July for Canadians?

Joel: It's, yeah it's a colony like America, to Jamie.

Jamie: Thank you for that.

Chad: Today as Joel is recovering from a hangover, we're going to be incredibly loud and we're going to talk about RecFest. So, Jamie, Joel and I have been talking about Wreck Fest for fucking months now, because we're really excited because we've never been before. Tell us what we're going to expect.

Joel: Who the fuck are you guys?

Jamie: What the fuck are we guys? So it's a full on festival. So, we've been running RecFest for this will be year 6. To date it kind of started off as pretty much a conference room day drinking, and its slowly progressed into what it is now. So we've hired a big field, we've put down five marquee big tops a hold, 600 people each, we've had to lay wifi cable in, we've got 3000 recruiters, a bunch of sponsors, a hell a lot of alcohol, food, music afterwards, and it's- the tagline is it's the largest independent event for TA on the planet. We're not bigger than the Anaheim guys on LinkedIn yet, but you know we're on the march.

Joel: It's basically Glastonbury for recruiters, or Coachella for our American listeners.

Jamie: Yeah so one of our clients, and I won't do the LA accent because I'll just offend a lot of people, but she said "I hear it's like Cher meets Coachella", and I just couldn't think of- couldn't shake that. For weeks. Me in Coachella, and what that would look like.

Joel: Embrace that man.

Chad: That's good shit. That's good shit. So, how many speakers- you have five fucking stages for god sakes- how many- this is all one day, how many speakers?

Jamie: So we've got just over a hundred speakers in total.

Chad: Holy shit. And you chose to close the entire day, bars open at noon, this thing starts like around nine, or something like that?

Jamie: Yeah, it starts at nine, so you know a good three hours, four hours, before the bar opens.

Chad: You guys chose to bring us in to close this motherfucker out, so why choose a couple of dumb yanks to come on stage and break shit?

Jamie: Because if you know the RecFest audience, by that time in the day they're slightly, what's the word I'm looking for... pissed. Usually. By that point and you know, maybe talking about-

Joel: Belligerent.

Jamie: Some one to come on and talk about the intricacies of DNI profiling probably isn't the best thing these guys want, that they want solid banter. They want piss taking, so I've been a fan of the podcast for many years and thought that this would be a great way to close the show up, because anywhere I've heard you guys talk, there's usually beers anyway, so it's like these guys are used to dealing with a rowdy crowd.

Joe: And as the American representative here on the ground in the UK, when Jamie means pissed, it means drunk.

Jamie: Yep. Sorry Joe's translating for me.

Joe: And when he's asking you guys to piss take, that means make fun of


Jamie: Yeah. Joe's here as the official English American translator.

Joel: Yeah this thing is a who's who of celebrities in our industry. From Charney, to Levy, Aman Brar, the newly minted CEO of JobVia. I mean you guys have done a kick ass job. I know I speak for both Chad and I in saying that we're honored to be on the main stage closing this show.

Jamie: Thank you.

Joel: Torin's going to be so jealous.

Chad: Torin's going to be jealous, the Hung Lees of the world, the Bill Boormans of the world, I mean again, from across the pond from here in the US, it's really, if you didn't get a ticket, well it's too fucking bad because they're sold out. But, from what I'm hearing, and this year's not over yet, so I'm not going to keep you to this, you're looking to make this thing even fucking bigger next year?

Jamie: Yeah, so you know we looked at different options, do we take it to the states? Which I don't think is the right idea. I spoke a lot to Lars yesterday about this, and I'm not sure it would work right now. Or do we try and make it a destination spot for people to come in from outside the UK? And if you're going to do that you need to give people more than a day, so we're looking at plans at the moment to potentially expand this out to a two day conference, two day festival. And then work with other event organizers around that to make London a bit of a destination spot that week, for people in the TA space that want to fly over. Not just from Europe, from the US, and around the UK. They want to come experience all the UK has to offer when it comes to TA resource and recruiting, so that's the plan.

Jamie: We've got the venue for next year, that's good. It's now just working out the intricacies of going two days, because one day is difficult, with this many people, two days starts to get quite complicated. But I'm sure the team will figure it out. I won't, because I don't get involved in that shit, I'll turn up on the fucking day and I'll drink, that's fine.

Chad: See that's a great leader right there. You know you have the vision, you can- you guys are doing four day work weeks, which I think is just fucking amazing. You're going to have to tell us a little bit about that. And at the end of this, you're like "you know what? I trust you guys to make sure that this shit happens. Go do it", that is a fucking leader.

Jamie: Yeah, you know I'm at a place now where I know when it's time for me to step in and time for me to just get out of the way. And we have a fantastic team. They've managed to pull this off with working a four day week, which is impressive. They've rose to the challenge every time. We've double RecFest every year since we started. It went a hundred, to 200, to 400, to 800, 1500, now 3000. So this team of superheros, they can do anything. I'm sure they'll rise to the task.

Joel: Jamie there aren't very many, if at all, vendors associated with the show. There's no expo hall, there's no gold and silver sponsors.

Jamie: No.

Joel: Is that going to change? Is that by design? What was the thinking around that?

Jamie: I don't want to knock any of the exhibitor companies, like they will do their shit really well, but I used to work at Monster, and I can't remember a worse time than being hungover on an exhibition floor.

Jamie: I can't remember anything worse than- it just, it's a very unnatural process. The whole idea of grabbing people, scanning them, qualifying them, demoing them. It just is very unnatural, and I don't think it's the right way to do business.

Jamie: So we've got vendors here, but they're doing things like... one of the vendors is bringing a litter of puppies for people to play with.

Joel: Oh yeah!

Jamie: One of the vendors is bringing Tengai. Tengai, you guys know Tengai. Tengai is here right, so that's the sort of shit that people bring to RecFest. It's more interactive, a bit more immersive, not just "hey let me come and demo you, and scan you", I've never been a big fan of that format. There's a lot of networking to be done as well. There's a lot of opportunities to have decent conversations at the bar, or elsewhere. RecFest is a bit more chilled out. Yeah, look there's vendors here, we have sponsorship money, we got some great partners, but it's not as in your face as it is with the big conferences, and it's not as forced down your throat as some of the others.

Joel: I hear that robot can drink everyone under the table.

Chad: Yeah and anybody who doesn't get pictures with puppies, and pictures with Tengai, you're just not fucking human. I mean, I'm sorry, those are the two coolest things. We had a chance to meet Tengai in Portugal, and we all thought- I mean Joel and I thought it was pretty fucking creepy, but, we got in front of Tengai, and actually interacted, and it was like one of those "I got to take a selfie, I've got to have five or six different people take pictures of me", it is like one of the coolest things.

Jamie: Yeah. From our point of view, I'm a fan. We like it when people push the envelope with this sort of thing. I think it's going to be interesting watching the recruiters interact with it, and see if this is potentially a threat. I'm not one of these fear mongers that preach that robots are going to take over our industry one day, but it's an interesting concept. They're definitely pushing the envelope, and it's very, very early on at the moment. So I don't think anyone should judge it, I certainly think they should be applauded for trying something like this.

Chad: Yeah.

Jamie: Let's see if they can then turn it into a commercial model afterwards.

Chad: Who's bringing the puppies? That's what I want to know.

Jamie: Tribepad, so a big ATS in the UK are bringing- I think they went to another event and one of them took their own dog and it got overrun with everyone's hanging around. And I was just like, just amplify that by 10. Just bring 20 puppies and see what happens. And they did.

Joel: Assuming Chad's wife is going, they're going to fly home about five puppies.

Chad: No. Not happening. I don't even want to get into that story. Not to mention the last one, we haven't even talked about. We have put together a promotion, or actually Talent Nexus, has put together a promotion where on the day of, we're going to give away a free year of beer or coffee to some lucky RecFest goer. When you get in there you'll see the promotion will be there, I'm not going to tell you about it, we're going to let it be a surprise, but we're really excited about that! And the thing that I'm really excited about, Joel knows this, I love fucking t-shirts. RecFest created their own Chad and Cheese t-shirt, limited 50. Only 50 of these things, and if you're at the main stage, during our headlining gig, where there's going to be no other stages open, only our stage, we're going to be throwing 50 of these bitches off the stage.

Jamie: You're potentially going to cause some sort of riot, you do know that don't you? [crosstalk 00:11:43] My public liability is only 5 million on this one, so if people start getting crushed and shit, I'm holding you guys accountable.

Chad: Can't promise anything.

Joel: What are you talking about? I think we might be able to fix Brexit during our session.

Jamie: Good one. Because your politics are so good at the moment as well.

Chad: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Joe: Yo that John is so lame.

Jamie: Yeah, we can have a who's got the worst politics off if you want.

Chad: I don't even want to have that conversation, I'm having too much fun right now.

Chad: Well guys, so we've got next week RecFest. Anything else you want to talk about before we dump this thing?

Joel: I say we get predictions for today's match. US versus England.

[crosstalk 00:12:25]

Joe: I grew up in New York, I spent about 40 years in New York so I'm quite torn. Being an American I prefer underdogs. The England team is the underdog, and I've lived here for 18 years now, so I've got strong pull there. But I also love the American team and I've supported them ever since I saw them whoop China many many- in the early 90's I think. So I don't think I really know who I want until the first goal goes in.

Jamie: Fair enough. You're on the fence, you're on the fence.

Chad: All right, yeah I think it's fairly simple, it's going to be three one, USA, we're going to on to win this bitch. Germany's out, right, so I think Germany was really the biggest threat that we had other than England, but once we take care of England today we'll be on stage next week and Joel's going to be in his red white and blue speedo.

Joel: I'm going to go two nil. I'm going to go shut up today.

Jamie: I really appreciate you guys call it football as well, I just really appreciate that. I know how much that must hurt, to not call it soccer, so I do appreciate that, thank you. That is a big deal to us.

Chad: It's not American football, but it is football, so we dig it. Not to mention when the US is kicking so much ass.

Joel: Did I hear a Jamie prediction?

Chad: No, Jamie didn't give a prediction.

Jamie: I'm going to go two one England.

Joe: Hey!

Jamie: Two one England.

Joel: Oh.

Chad: Well that being said I think this is going to close out the RecFest edition of the show. Once again guys, if you don't get a chance to go, you're going to hear a lot of reporting and shit from us on it, but make sure you earmark next year, because this is going to be a fucking- not only are you going to see a bunch of really cool people on stage, talking about what you care about, but you're going to have an opportunity to relax, and chill out and then who knows? Maybe hit the mosh pit at the end.

Joel: Guys, this was fun man.

Jamie: Thank you for all the support. I know you guys have mentioned this at times, so we really do owe you one, thank you very much.

Joel: Our pleasure. Chad?

Chad: We out!

Chad: This has been the Chad and Cheese Podcast, subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts, so you don't miss a single show. And be sure to check out our sponsors, because they make it all possible. For more visit Oh yeah, you're welcome.

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