From national conferences that attracted tens of thousands of attendees to regional events that featured training workshops, GR8 People’s 2019 marketing calendar was filled with a broad range of events. As the company’s marketing specialist, I’m responsible for event management and promotion, and this includes taking time to evaluate which events were most effective at both raising awareness of GR8 People and connecting us with talent acquisition leaders across the country.
As I reflected on the challenges and successes associated with our 2019 events, I came away with several “lessons learned” that apply not only to B2B marketers but also to the TA teams that regularly attend events as part of their candidate attraction strategies.
Staying organized is crucial to keeping tabs on top talent.
If you are tasked with overseeing recruiting events for an enterprise organization, it’s likely that many of the events you attend overlap—this is often the case for college recruiters who need to juggle busy campus recruiting schedules throughout the fall and spring semesters. Keeping track of all the details, which undoubtedly differ from campus to campus, can be a daunting challenge for even the most detailed and organized individuals.
Fortunately, there are numerous technologies and tools that can help keep recruiting teams on track. In the case of campus recruiting, these tools allow organizations to house all event information online and streamline repetitive and time-consuming administrative tasks like gathering student resumes and checking in attendees at the booth. Instead, savvy campus recruiting teams are leveraging self-scheduling and screening applications, as well as resume uploads and onsite check-ins via tablets. After all, why spend valuable time processing candidate information manually when you could use that time to talk one-on-one with students?
Bigger events may not always produce better recruiting results.
Maybe it’s habit. Maybe it’s FOMO. Whatever your reasons for attending large events, whether a general fall career fair or a national professional conference that correlates with a target talent discipline, it’s always good to pause and reassess the ROI. What may appear to be a can’t-miss event might actually be a significant drain on resources (both time and money) once you take a closer look at the results.
Last year, we attended a highly specialized niche event for the first time and, based on the various measures we use to evaluate event performance, it’s again on our calendar for 2020. The takeaway for talent acquisition is to seek out smaller event opportunities that could be a better investment, such as a campus hiring event that is hosted by a school or department instead of career services or a regional professional association meeting rather than the national event.
Don’t expect recruiters to wing it on event day.
It might seem simple on the surface—show up, set up a booth and talk to attendees—but getting the most out of an event requires that those working at it are fully prepared. We always conduct pre-event meetings with the GR8 team members who will be representing our company at the event, covering everything from logistics and SWAG to target attendees to be on the lookout for and key messages to reinforce during conversations with prospects. Recruiters will benefit from an understanding of these same event aspects, so make pre-event meetings a regular part of your event planning process.
Clearly define all event follow-up activities.
Our post-event meetings are just as critical as pre-event meetings, especially as they provide the opportunity to review all leads and determine next steps, whether that means direct outreach from a GR8 People sales consultant or adding the individual to our CRM for ongoing nurturing. These meetings happen immediately following the event to ensure that we keep our event momentum going and that no leads ever fall through the cracks.
Recruiting teams should take a similar approach, particularly when it comes to prioritizing event leads. For example, let’s say you had a great conversation with a student at a campus event only to learn that she won’t graduate for another year. Add her to your Talent CRM and nurture the relationship through ongoing communications that keep her engaged until her graduation date nears. Then, reach out personally and encourage her to apply to relevant openings.
Finally, post-event debriefs are also ideal for gathering general input from recruiters. Was the booth location prominent enough to attract attendees? Which key messages resonated most during conversations with target candidates? What were their most common questions? Did the competition make a splash and how so? Capturing this feedback will arm you with the insights you need to continually refine your strategy and, in turn, improve your recruiting event outcomes.
GR8 People has an entire E-Book dedicated to effective campus recruiting strategies. Get your copy of Campus Hiring 101 today.