Employer Branding

Event recruitment: adding the personal touch to sourcing

December 7, 2018

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Event recruitment: adding the personal touch to sourcing

6 min read

It’s hard to connect with so many candidates without being physically present. Including event recruitment in your talent attraction toolkit will help you can breathe life into your employer brand.

Job boards and social media are recruitment essentials. But every once in a while it’s a great idea to rediscover just how valuable in-person interactions are. Just like you, candidates are first and foremost people, and sometimes we tend to overlook this vital fact while recruiting.

Despite time pressures and deadlines, making time for face to face contact with potential candidates can also improve the quality of your future hires.

Recruiting at events is a great way of securing face time. There are many ways that you can include event recruitment in your hiring process, even if you’re a small business. With everything being automated and most business communication happening online, people generally appreciate a personal touch.

Event recruitment combines marketing and hiring

Previously events were all about marketing products and services to boost sales. Event-based recruitment was limited to career fairs- but not anymore. Today, you can easily combine sales and marketing events with talent sourcing. There’s no end to the mix if you apply some creative thinking.


Depending on your type of business and the type of candidates you want to attract, you can either host or sponsor events. Listed below are six excellent event recruitment ideas.

6 event recruiting ideas to improve talent attraction

1- Competitions

Running a competition to attract talent isn’t like an ordinary contest where people buy a ticket, and the winner is announced in a  lucky draw. You need to create a competition theme that will appeal to the type of people you want to attract.

If you’re looking for designers, offer a prize for the best design submitted. If you’re looking for innovation, give an award for the best solution to a problem.

You can determine the timeframe for entries and how entries can be submitted and the main recruitment event will be when the prizes are handed out. Ask participants if they would like to be included in your talent pool. By running a skills-based competition, you’re going to attract people with an interest in your line of business.

2- Hackathons

Hackathons are also competitions, but aimed at development and IT competencies. They usually take place within a few hours or over a few days at a venue where all entrants meet up. Entrants compete against each other to resolve or create something.

To run a hackathon, you’ll have to have a suitable place as well as refreshments for all entrants for the duration of the competition. Afterwards, you’ll have to have a prize-giving event. Hackathons are great fun as entrants battle it out to come up with solutions. Equally, they’re also a great showcase of entrants skill and experience in practice.

Event recruitment hackathon
Hackathons are often informal and can allow for teamwork. This makes them a great opportunity to see potential talent in action.

3- Expos

Expos are a great opportunity to combine sales and marketing with recruiting through events. There are many ways that you can include talent search and expos. Organizers always encourage exhibitors to run competitions, so you can run a skills-based competition or even a mini-hackathon from your stand. Or you can dedicate a corner of your stand to a virtual tour of your company, products, and services and your goals. Engage with people who express interest in your industry. Find out what they’re about and see how they match up to your talent needs.

4- Recruitment fairs

Although career fairs are still a viable idea, think of ways to spice up your presence so that you can stand out among the rows of stalls and tables. You don’t want to blend in with the crowd so consider things like offering a company tour or job shadowing to suitable candidates. Handing out pamphlets or brochures isn’t enough. Event recruitment is all about creativity, engagement, and understanding the type of candidate you want to draw to your stand and eventually your team.

5- Open day

An open day can be hosted on your business premises or as a roadshow where you take your business to people. Open days at colleges or universities are excellent if you’re looking for graduate talent. If you’re looking for skilled talent, you can exhibit at functions that attract people with the skills you want. Conferences and conventions, in particular, are an outstanding place to showcase your company. Most conferences and conventions related to specific industries, so find those for your industry then set up a mini-expo within the facility.

6- Public speaking

Offer your time to speak at expos, conferences, and conventions. Public speaking as event-based recruitment is a wonderful way to give your business a voice. Most expos have guest speakers throughout the event and conferences and conventions are all about speaking.

Find a topic of interest for the type of talent you want to attract and offer your time. Many people would like to chat with the speakers afterwards, so ensure that you avail yourself. Take questions, make notes and give out your email address and social media contacts. Be genuine and make sure that you reply to every message that you get after the event. Anyone who engages with you after a talk is interested in what you had to say and could be a great future hire.

Localize your event recruitment

Small and medium businesses especially can incorporate recruiting through events with local activities. Local sporting competitions, business networks and even school and colleges can yield talent. These are ideal opportunities to combine product and service promotion with talent attraction through sponsorships or public speaking.

A critical factor of event recruitment is engagement. There’s little value in offering a sponsorship with a few prizes and displaying your company banners. To attract talent you must be out there speaking to people and listening to what they have to say. How else would you identify potential?

Event recruitment is a team effort

Today hiring the best talent has become a collaborative effort throughout any business. Hiring managers need to work closely with the sales and marketing departments to find ways of incorporating product and service promotion with talent sourcing.

After all, talent sourcing needs marketing skills to attract candidates and sales skills to get candidates to accept offers.

Many passive candidates are interested in your products and services, and to find them you have to get the message out that your business is always on the lookout for top talent. You have to take your business to candidates just as much as you expect candidates to respond to your job advertising.

That means that product and service brochures aren’t all that you should be handing out at events anymore. Event recruitment involves engaging with visitors, taking their details and inviting them to connect on social media or directly with recruiters.

Remember to ensure that you get individual consent from everyone you meet to process their details in your ATS.  Also always share details of how to reach you, find out more about your company and apply for jobs.

By entering all communication on your ATS you can keep track of your records. An ATS also allows you to tag each entry with details of where you met the candidate. This is vital info to manage ROI on events.

Event recruitment helps you attract top talent, build a solid talent pool and improve the quality of your hires through in-person engagement. An ATS ensures that you keep track of all potential candidates you’ve engaged with.

Bev has enthusiastically worked to match top employers and candidates for almost twenty years. An endless curiosity of the human mind, HR tech development, how to help people reach their goals and the ever-evolving hiring landscape is what keeps her fired up.
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