While it may feel like recruiting events are old hat in this digital age, they’re actually more important than ever. Getting to know your candidates in-person provides a more accurate depiction of a person’s character, personality and experience beyond the resume.
To attract top candidates accustomed to researching and applying online, companies have evolved their recruiting events to add a bit more flare and create a memorable experience. Here are 12 different ideas to consider when planning your next recruiting event.
12 Types of Recruitment Events
1. Casual Hiring Mixer
Remove the professional attire and sweaty palms that come with applying to and interviewing with a company. Instead, host a casual hiring mixer either on your own or in collaboration with other companies to get to know candidates before they apply.
Keep the atmosphere light and at a venue people actually want to go to — local bar, bowling alley, picnic or pizza place.
Such events will allow candidates and hiring managers to let loose and get to know candidates on a more personal level to talk about the stuff that really makes or breaks a candidate from success at your company because in the end, it’s not their work experience.
In each of our seven markets, we host a Top Companies Hiring event every quarter and it includes between 8-15 companies, who are in a rapid growth stage hiring a lot of people in a short period of time.
The event itself is very low lift for companies as our team organizes the venue, catering and design of the event. Companies arrive about 30 minutes before the event begins to set up their table. We provide staff to check attendees in and direct traffic. We also provide attendees with a handout that includes descriptions of each company and their open roles, so candidates are prepared to ask questions when they meet with companies.
2. Networking Event
You may be wondering what the difference is between a casual hiring event and a networking event, and when it comes down to it, not much. The major difference is a hiring event is specifically for companies who are currently hiring, whereas a networking event can be for companies looking to get to know more candidates and build up their talent pipeline for future hires.
You can clarify this in the marketing materials so that candidates know what to expect and how to prepare. If there are open roles, they should know which roles specifically they want to apply for and how they intend to pitch themselves as a qualified candidate. On the other hand, at a networking event, candidates will need to have a more general elevator pitch on their experience and prepare to have questions about the company in general since there may not be roles open at the time of the event.
3. Open House
Bring candidates into your office space with an open house. This will provide candidates with a unique insight into your office and help them gain a better idea of what it’s like to work at your company. Make sure to tidy up your office and ask a few employees (especially from hiring teams) to volunteer so that candidates have a chance to chat with their future colleagues in a casual manner, no resume or business attire required (unless that’s your office etiquette).
Each month, a different high growth company hosts a Built In Brews event in each of our seven market cities. These events provide candidates with a first-hand look at some of the most inspiring tech offices and the opportunity to learn about the company's culture, meet the founders and employees, enjoy drinks and network.
We help promote the event on social media and in email newsletters, and we provide staff for registration and event check-ins, but the rest of the planning is up to the host company.
4. Job Fair
Job fairs are another great way to utilize the resources and networks of other industry leaders to attract top talent in one convenient event. Not only that, but your team isn’t tasked with planning and executing the entire thing. It can be difficult, however, to stand out among a sea of similar employers. Here are a few tips and ideas to get the most out of your job fairs.
- Handouts: Job fairs can be a chaotic, and candidates may be a bit overwhelmed. Don’t take it personally if candidates ask for information and move on to the next booth. They may not have time to chat with everyone. Have plenty of printed resources for candidates to continue their research after the event.
- Business Cards: Give candidates a clear point of contact to reach out to if they want more information, especially if they really clicked with one of your team members or recruiters.
- Activities: It can be awkward and exhausting having the same conversations with candidates over and over. Make it more casual and conversational with a quick and fun activity, like a prize wheel or game.
- Freebees: People love free stuff. Give away branded swag, like t-shirts, snacks, gadgets or experiences (Check out VR recruiting below).
- Ambassadors: Make sure to bring your A-Team to recruiting events. Whether they be recruiters or outgoing team members, your brand ambassadors will form the first impression candidates have about your company, so make sure it’s well-informed and welcoming.
5. Interview Event
Cut the recruiting process in half by having all candidates interview at one big event. It will save you time and energy reviewing application materials and coordinating phone and in-person interviews over the course of several weeks or months. Instead, have your team band together to conduct interviews back-to-back in a single day. Then when all of the candidates are fresh in your team’s mind, have a hiring team meeting to discuss top candidates. This will also cut down on the wait time for interviewees.
6. Panel / Conference
Identify your company as an industry leader by hosting panels or talks about niche topics that will attract candidates with experience or interest in your field of work. The topic of conversation could be anything from industry trends to company-specific knowledge. You could be a keynote speaker at a larger conference, host a panel at a school or create an event of your own. Determine your goals in hosting such an event before you figure out where and how to execute it.
7. School Campuses
School campuses are a great one-stop-recruiting-shop for entry-level roles and internships. Whether they be at high schools, colleges, boot camps or trade schools, there are a variety of ways to get your foot in the door with students.
- Lecture: Host a lecture and shed some light on your industry and company.
- Meet & Greet: Allow students to casually meet with employees to chat and ask questions.
- Job Fair: Partake in a school job fair to attract a wide range of candidates and interests.
- Mock Interviews: Help students prepare for real interviews with mock interviews on campus.
While recruiters often attract fresh talent for internships and entry-level roles on school campuses, there is another pool of highly qualified candidates that is all too often overlooked. Re-internships are opportunities for individuals who have left the workforce for several years to return to their careers.
Hosting a recruitment event that targets these individuals will create a more inclusive recruiting environment and allow your team to tap into a highly talented pool of individuals who may need a little brushing up to re-start their careers.
Organizations like Pathforward and Working Mother help bridge the gap between companies and talented candidates, who may be overlooked in the recruiting process due to their unique career path and resume. Learn more about the value of hiring candidates relaunching their careers with this Ted talk.
9. Competitor Company Lay Off
One company’s layoff is another company’s new hire. That may sound grim, but if a company is downsizing, that’s bad news for everyone involved, and your opportunities could offer a silver lining.
Take advantage of this difficult situation and partner with such companies to host an informational session or hiring booth. The company will be relieved to know some of their great employees are able to move on with a relatively short and simple career change and employees will appreciate the opportunity to adopt a new role in a time of turmoil.
Who doesn’t love a little friendly competition? Top candidates especially love the opportunity to prove their skills and ‘wow’ employers beyond their resumes. No matter the role, there are a variety of recruitment competition events directed at bringing out the best talent.
Ogilvy's “Search for the World's Greatest Salesperson ” asked sales candidates to submit a video of themselves selling a brick. You’ll notice that this event is not in-person, and you’re right. Not all recruitment events need to be in a physical location, and this is a perfect example of a digital recruitment event.
Create the Future is an engineering design competition that calls students, engineers and entrepreneurs to submit product ideas. The event entices talent to participate with a $20,000 prize and national recognition for the winner.
Hackathons are another branch of competition primarily for developers, who are notoriously difficult to hire. Hackathons require developers to either create something or solve a problem, and they are a great way to see how candidates collaborate within a team to solve real-world problems. You can attract top talent to partake in the challenge with prizes, job offers and of course, food.
Here are a few examples of organizations utilizing hackathons for innovation and recruiting:
Tribehacks is an event hosted by William and Mary college to bring students together to learn about and participate in coding challenges. It’s main focus is not to help students find jobs, but to innovate, and it’s sponsored by some big name companies.
While this event is already organized by the school, it may be worth creating a hackathon or challenge of your own, like Jaguar Land Rover’s “Next Generation Recruitment” challenge that tasked engineers with cracking an error in their app’s coding.
12. National Hiring Day
Whether you’re hiring a large number of positions nationwide or a few remote roles, you can host a national hiring day event. It’s a great recruitment marketing campaign to share across social channels and people are keen to partake in a national event. Keep in mind that not all recruitment events need to be in-person, but if you’re a brick and mortar kind of company, in-person events make sense.
Lowes recently hosted a National Hiring Day to hire 50,000 store associates across the nation. Between 10am and 7pm candidates had the opportunity to talk with employees about the open roles and apply for a role with the chance of receiving an offer on the same day. To boost the event, they shared content and videos across major platforms with employee testimonials and information on the open jobs.
Also, keep in mind that hiring events are great for companies looking to hire temp, seasonal or part-time work, whether that be during a holiday season, like Macy's National Hiring Event or to complete a large project in a short period of time.