Whether you set up a booth at a university event or hold your own open house for candidates, it's important to look for the optimal face-to-face engagement with job seekers that gives you the opportunity to sell your positions and your company. Remember, just as you do with other strategies in recruiting, be sure to measure success and test new formats for your hiring events. Follow these best practices to ensure that your in-person hiring event is a success.
Hosting a Successful In-Person Hiring Event
Don’t wait until the day of your event to throw anything together. All aspects of planning for your event can be done ahead of time and will help ensure that everything runs smoothly. If your hiring event is at your company HQ, you’ll want to decide where (conference room, lobby, etc.) depending on the size of your location. If it’s a retail store, you can set aside a section with a table to be staffed by hiring managers and floor employees while making sure the business still has coverage for customers.
Whether in-house or at a campus hiring event, consider branded tablecloths, signs, flyers, handouts, and swag like t-shirts or water bottles. If this is an on-site after work event, you’ll want to have light refreshments. You can also get creative with snacks, like having cookies made with your company logo or serving small bites that say something about your brand (e.g., bacon-wrapped jalapenos meaning “we’re hot”). This is the time to get creative and a sense of humor appeals to every type of candidate.
Have enough (of the right) staff at your event. If you get buy-in from all teams, it’s a good idea to have hiring managers representing each open position at your event, along with senior team members that can engage candidates in conversation during networking. What you don’t want is to have candidates wandering around waiting for someone to talk to. Your hiring managers can also perform quick on-site interviews with attendees, allowing you to screen attendees immediately and close your event with a hot list for follow up. This small action can dramatically improve your time to hire.
How will your event be structured? It could be very informal – have attendees check in then point them to the snacks and beverage stations – or you could begin with an introduction, point out hiring managers and identify their departments, and explain the process for applying on-site or leaving resumes. For smaller companies, having the CEO in attendance or performing the introduction at the start of the event is helpful to communicate the benefits of working for a start-up. At larger companies, HR leadership can play this role, or you can consider allowing a hiring manager from each department to give a quick intro. The most important part of the event is going to be the interaction with recruiters and candidates, so the structure of your event should focus on how that will happen.
Use technology to help sort attendee information, like scanning resumes and checking off registrants on an iPad. You can also have each attendee sign up as they arrive. This will help you ensure you’re collecting information from every attendee for follow-up later.
You can take this a step further and have dedicated laptops on site as portals for job applicants, which will save you and your team tons of time over processing written applications. ATSs with matching technology allow you to scan resumes into your system and allow candidates to create an account in which the fields are auto-populated with their resume information. This doesn’t just save you time, it improves your candidate experience because applicants won’t have to enter their information twice.
You can also use the iPad to check attendees in as a tool to separate registered attendees from non-attendees if they pre-registered on your landing page. This can help you segment candidates when you market follow-up content to keep them engaged in your hiring funnel.
Finally, it’s a good idea to have a “day of” meeting with employees and hiring managers who will be available at the open house. This is to ensure that everyone understands their role, as well as allow you to plan for the unexpected, like having more attendees turn up than you estimated based on registrations or what to do if your registration capture or application portals stop working. You’ll want to ensure that employee attendees can be easily identified by candidates. Having them wear branded t-shirts and name tags is helpful, as the candidates attending may meet many people and want to make a note of who they spoke to without having to ask their names a dozen times.
Follow these best practices for a successful in-person hiring event every time.