Virtual recruitment events are great way to connect with potential candidates, and even more-so in our current situation. A great recruitment event can introduce your company culture to prospective candidates and motivate them to apply for your positions.
To successfully host your own virtual recruitment event, here are a few best practices:
1. Set a goal and choose a format that works for your brand.
At the outset of planning your event, set a goal for yourself. How many applicants do you hope to attract, and for which roles? Your goals should guide the rest of the planning process.
If your company is hosting its own virtual recruitment event, you have a great opportunity to further develop your company brand. Before delving into the details of the planning process, consider the image that you want to project to prospective job applicants. For example, if your company’s brand is super-casual, it doesn’t make sense to have an event that features a 45- minute lecture.
Determine the size of your event and the format. Will you be using video, text chat, or some combination of the two? Are there any activities you would like to do? Think creatively about the event. If you can create an event that stands out from what other employers are doing, you can differentiate your company. Once you know what the event will look like, you are ready to choose a host and platform.
2. Schedule your virtual recruitment event at a convenient time across time zones.
Exercise care in determining when to schedule your event. Virtual events can attract people from across time zones, so make sure that your event is at a reasonable time for all attendees who might be interested. Try to schedule the event after the workday has concluded, and avoid events on or near the weekend.
3. Market the event on a diverse array of channels.
Identify the audience for every event. A recruitment event geared towards young engineers will look different than one intended for mid-career salespeople. Then, determine how you can reach your intended audience. What social media channels should you concentrate on in your promotion? Do you have any connections to groups that can help boost your event?
Build a checklist of all of the different locations you plan to promote. E.g.
- Social media posts
- Highlight in the company newsletter
- Send an email to your talent community
- Paid advertisements on Facebook/LinkedIn
- Reach out to university career centers
- Provide templates and share links to current employees
Paid advertising on social media (like Facebook and LinkedIn) can be highly effective at reaching people, but it’s always helpful to get organic reach as well.
You should also try to utilize your employees’ social networks. Ask employees to share information about the event with people who may be looking for a new position. Connect with college career centers. Most will be happy to let their students know about your event.
Keep marketing until the beginning of the event. Virtual recruitment events often attract more attendees when the event is closer.
Bonus tip: Create a competition on your team to see who can invite the most people, with a special prize or bonus for the winner.
4. Be specific when reaching out and sourcing attendees.
When reaching out to prospective attendees, provide details about the event and who you are targeting. An overly vague description can draw in attendees who are not well-suited for the event, hence wasting their time and creating a poor impression of your organization. You want to specify, “We are looking for engineers” rather than say “this event is for all job-seekers.”
All promotional materials should clearly identify the target audience and explain the basics of the event. Avoid language that promises more than you can deliver. Some attendees may come into an event expecting a one-on-one meeting with a hiring manager. If you set expectations correctly, that problem can be avoided.
5. Make it easy for people to sign up for the event.
In general, you want to make it as easy as possible for someone to sign up for your event. Use a simple RSVP form to enable registration for your event. Don’t try to collect too much information. Name and basic contact information are usually sufficient. When people have to provide more information just to register, they are less likely to do so.
Once attendees have RSVP’d, send periodic reminder emails about the event. Your final reminder should come about an hour prior to the event’s beginning.
6. Carefully select company ambassadors who will be the face of your company during the event.
One major advantage of virtual recruitment events is that you have more options for employees who can act as “ambassadors” for your company. Whenever possible, select people who are similar to your target attendees in terms of age, job title, educational background, etc. You want someone who they can relate to, even if the ambassador is not heavily involved in the hiring process.
You should also be careful to choose ambassadors who are comfortable speaking in front of a camera and can answer audience questions effectively.
7. Test the technology ahead of time to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
Technical glitches—and worse, delays caused by glitches—create a poor impression of your organization. Take steps to avoid this scenario by testing the technology before your event begins. This includes making sure that everyone looks and sounds okay on camera. If you need to make adjustments, you want to have plenty of time to do so.
Schedule a test run at least one week before so you can work out any issues.
8. Consider including opportunities for small-group interactions.
An event that’s just people talking at candidates oftentimes is not very engaging for attendees. Consider mixing things up by adding opportunities for attendees to engage in small-group discussions, whether through text or video chat. If a job candidate can make a personal connection with someone at your company, they are much more likely to apply for a position afterward.
9. Record the event so that people can access it afterward.
Make sure to record the event. Once it’s over, you can use the recording as an asset in your company branding. Put the event up on your website and make it easy for prospective job applicants to access after they provide basic contact information.
10. Track analytics for the event.
Analytics can help you to measure the success of your event and help you plan for future events. Keep track of these metrics:
- How many people RSVP’d
- How many people attended
- How many attendees later applied for a job
Some platforms enable you to track additional information. You can also solicit feedback from attendees, although this feedback will be more limited. Experiment with different types of events and do more of what works for you.
11. Follow up with candidates after the event.
A virtual recruiting event is only one step of the recruitment process. Send every attendee an email that thanks them for their attendance. Include a call to action that invites attendees to apply for a position. On your job application, include a box for applicants to confirm that they attended an event.
You can send multiple emails after the event. The first email should come no later than 24 hours after the end of your event. With a strong follow-up, you can increase the number of applicants to your position.