Attracting quality candidates to your organisation isn’t easy, and competition for the best people is fierce. Younger workers often have expectations regarding workplace amenities and the ability to work remotely, both due to their general natural affinity for technology and to the response to the pandemic. The most successful companies are now adapting to and incorporating some of these evolutions, so you may be asking yourself: what should employers bring to a job fair to attract the best candidates? The answer is less about what you should bring to a job fair physically, and more about how to frame job recruiting efforts generally. In fact, often adapting to new realities can inspire new recruitment event ideas.
Recruitment events are a powerful way to attract top talent and demonstrate why candidates should choose your organisation. But knowing how to recruit at a job fair isn’t going to help you discover rockstar employees. You need to show your job recruits that your company is forward-thinking, innovative, and growing. Revealing these facets of your company can be accomplished more easily than you might at first suspect.
These days, it’s not uncommon for initial interviews and recruiting to be done remotely via Zoom or a similar video platform. This opens up some interesting opportunities for creatively expanding your recruiting efforts and can offer fresh perspectives on the hiring and recruiting process. You may be surprised by what you find when you look in new places and use new recruiting techniques. We created a checklist of ideas to help you get started and organised.
Recruitment event idea #1: Host a friendly competition
Looking for a specific skill set? Host a competition of either internal or external candidates to help you surface the right ones to the top of your list.
Hackathons, for example, put potential hires into teams where they work together to solve problems. Unlike a traditional interview, these events give interviewers a preview of how candidates will perform under pressure.
Because coding and development work is done with computers, hackathons make especially good candidates for virtual job fairs or online recruiting efforts. But competition can also reveal character in addition to skills. Host virtual quiz or trivia competitions to see how recruits perform as a team and to get a sense of their personalities.
Recruitment event idea #2: Expert panel or conference
Attract top talent by giving them access to industry leaders and experts in their field. A small panel of experts or a conference gives recruits a chance to hear from people they look up to, and it gives recruiters an opportunity to meet with potential hires in a friendly environment. Introducing virtual recruiting events? Often busy industry leaders and experts are more inclined to participate in an event remotely than in person – there’s no need for travel, simply log on and Zoom in. Organise it like a speed-dating game: use break-out rooms to interact with your panellists in smaller, more intimate groups, then after ten or fifteen minutes, move on to the next panellist’s break-out session.
This is also a great opportunity to show off your organisation’s internal expertise and thought leaders, a powerful selling point for many candidates.
Recruitment event idea #3: Sponsor an industry event
If hosting your own event is out of the question, consider sponsoring a larger event.
It’s a common misconception that event sponsorship is just for brand awareness. But building your brand can encompass recruiting new candidates and growing industry awareness too. For example, sponsorship expert Larry Weil worked with a heavy equipment manufacturer to recruit mechanics on the trade show floor of a major event.
“We proposed a hospitality tent where mechanics could meet engineers and watch them tear down equipment,” says Weil. “All the sponsor needed to do was staff the tent with recruiters who could interview candidates on the spot.”
This isn’t to say brand awareness is not worth pursuing. Candidates want to work with the leading companies in whatever field they are in, and it’s hard to be a leader if no one knows who you are. Appearing at an industry event in a prominent and impactful way gives your organisation a chance to announce itself. Arranging for a kiosk at an industry convention lets both customers and industry players know who you are. When you run into a potential recruit off-hours later, they’ll be more interested in speaking with someone from a company they’ve heard of, especially if you managed to make a good impression.
Recruitment event idea #4: Transform your office into an event space
In addition to sponsoring a major event, you could also open your office to events relevant to your industry. A speaker series on a topic relevant to your attendees, for instance, is a great way to get the best of the best interested in your company.
Depending on your space, your office could be the perfect setting for a meetup, panel event, or even a relaxed game or poker night.
Recruitment event idea #5: Host a virtual recruitment event
With the rise of Zoom, Vimeo and other video platforms, virtual recruitment has recently taken off. While you may initially think you need to see your candidates in person to know if they would make a good fit in your company, virtual recruiting events give you a chance to expand your pool of applicants to residents in geographic regions that might otherwise have been hesitant to apply due to distance.
Virtual events can also help you achieve your diversity inclusion goals as you expand your pool of recruits. Arrange yours in the form of a Q&A or “fireside chat,” in which several potential recruits have an informal conversation with a recruiter or executive.
Tips for planning a successful recruiting event
Once you have your recruitment event idea selected, follow these steps for a smooth planning process.
Events can get costly if you don’t manage your budget meticulously. If you blow your spend on swanky cocktails, you won’t have any budget left to promote your event and you won’t be able to attract any recruits to sip those drinks. Plus, an empty room never leaves a good impression on candidates.
Choose a format
What format will your recruitment event ideas use? In-person events certainly have the advantage of a face-to-face encounter, which can help in assessing certain social qualities in candidates. But hybrid events – which combine live, in-person formats with online participants – and strictly virtual events result in a larger pool of potential candidates.
Additionally, because so many formerly in-person business activities are now taking place virtually – such as conferences, seminars, and meetings – a virtual event can let you see how your candidates perform virtually. Looking and behaving professionally in a virtual environment is becoming an ever-important skill these days.
Finally, a virtual event tends to be a less-intensive budget commitment, as travel, lodging, and associated costs are eliminated, allowing you to drive traffic and awareness at a fraction of the cost of traditional recruiting efforts.
Whether you’re hosting your own recruitment events or using event sponsorship to source talent, you need to spread the word without spreading yourself (and your budget) too thin.
You don’t have the luxury of assigning a single person to focus on social media all day long. Nor can you pour endless money into every aspect of your marketing campaigns. Check out these promotion tips to think outside the box.
Ticketing and registration
When you have your recruitment event planned out and you’re ready to start promoting it, consider a ticketing partner that will help you attract attendees. A good partner – like Eventbrite – will help you with everything from promotion to your event website.