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How To Leverage Event As A Recruiting Tool

How To Leverage Events As A Recruiting Tool


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Speaker: Barry Goodwin, Program Manager, Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society (PICS) Tel: 604 596-7525 ext 223, Email: barry.goodwin@pics.bc.ca
Bio: PICS sponsors the Mega Job Fair, one of the largest recruiting fairs in Metro Vancouver. The 6th Annual Mega Job Fair will be held in Surrey, July 8th with more than 8,000 job-seekers anticipated. Barry is a program manager in the employment services division of PICS and has been heavily involved in planning of Mega Job Fairs. In his program and project work, Barry focuses on meeting the needs of both employers and job seekers. Barry Goodwin builds on more than 20 years in marketing, program management, employment counselling, community and media relations, business lending, business counselling and training. Barry is a graduate of UBC (BA) and Queen’s University (MA). He has earned also his Career Development Practitioner Certificate as well as the Provincial Instructor Diploma.

Speaker: Alice Zhou, Talent Strategist of Altitude Recruiting, Tel 604 662-7773, Email: alice@altituderecruiting.com
Bio: Alice Zhou is a graduate of Simon Fraser University with a degree in Communications, minor in Sociology and a past winner of Cultural DiverseCity Youth Entrepreneur Business Award. She has been an established event producer with Gracious Host Events for 5 years, producing a variety of functions ranging from Galas, Conferences, Trade Shows, and Job Fairs. She is currently an IT talent strategist and brings her business savvy and superb communication skills to groom job candidates while finding the perfect match with employers. Her motto is “quality over quantity”.
Speaker: David Childs, President of Living Blueprint Creative Group, Tel 778 737-3833, Email: david.childs@livingblueprint.com
Bio: Dave Childs founded Living Blueprint in 2002, combining creative and innovative design with solid marketing strategy. He is committed to a vision of building powerful business strategies for his clients. He believes that even small, start-up companies should have strong brands and strategies that not only help them break into their market space, but rapidly build a noticeable presence.
“Clients often come to us to develop a website, or a logo. What they get is an integrated strategy that includes a powerful brand as well as ongoing marketing strategies for developing their business.”
David’s past experience as co-owner of Whirlwind Digital studios and as the Marketing and Advertising Manager of Terra Remote Sensing provided him with a wealth of experience in design, animation, and corporate branding strategies. He is the recipient of an “Excellence in New Media & Internet Technology” Award.
When you encounter Dave, you encounter “enthusiasm, passion and his intense focus on making YOUR business a success.”
Duration: Each speaker will have 20 minutes speech, followed by 5 minutes break. 7:45am – 9:00 am, Friday, May 21, 2010

•    Essential Job Fair Tips for Recruiters – Key ingredients to help you get the most out of your job fair participation
•    Tools that will save you time and money
•    Common mistakes that get employers frustrated and overwhelmed
•    What marketing & promotional material works and don’t work
•    Cool effects that makes you the “Belle of the Ball” at any tradeshow
•    Things to do BEFORE and AFTER the show
•    How to organize your own in-house open house, seminars, and recruiting fairs

How To Leverage Events As A Recruiting Tool

A. Job & Educational Fairs

Many company representatives come to a career fair with no recruiting plan, no marketing strategy, and little or no understanding of the basic principles of sales and marketing. This is the first mistake, because successful staffing will only come as the result of a recruiting plan based on the elements of a successful sales campaign. A career/ job fair is a “sales campaign” – prepare for it.

Here are some helpful tips:

Plan Before the Event:
Set measurable objectives:
•    To properly evaluate the success of your participation, set goals that you can measure against once the show is complete. Have targets for the number of visitors you expect, the number of qualified candidates you require and expected recruitment return.
•    Analyze probable audience
•    Know your audience (bring multi-lingual staff if the audience is multicultural, or younger staff to an educational fair).

Have a Staffing Plan:
•    Don’t forget to leave room for your candidates, and space for candidate interaction. While many of your representatives may attend the show, not all of them need to be hanging around your booth. If you have a good staff at your disposal, you can draw up a formal staffing schedule and stick to it. How many staff to bring? Some say, bring four people to the job fair, or four people per shift in case of multiple-day or all-day events. Others claim that a maximum of three people should work an average 10′ x 10′ booth.

Plan as a team/ Set-up processing procedures:
•    Work with your job fair team before the event. Make sure there’s no disconnect between those planning the exhibit and the recruiters actually attending the event. All members of an exhibiting company need to work together to ensure that everything runs smoothly and nothing falls through the cracks.
•    Your booth staff should have full knowledge of your corporate image and the personnel needs you want promoted at the show. Choose your staff carefully; they will represent your company and create a first impression for potential candidates.
•    Each person, staffing representative or hiring manager should have their designated specialties − in essence, those areas they can discuss in detail and with authority. Have a workflow plan in place to prevent the net result of a day’s screening becoming an unmanageable pile of paper. Try using file folders with a simple break down of need by profession (programmer, finance and quality assurance) or by hiring manager/department (operations, marketing and technology). As you finish with each candidate, write a few quick notes, pull any staples from the resume and place in the appropriate folder. Pulling the staples may seem like a small detail, but the next day when you can just load resumes into the copier already containing routing information, you will be glad you did this small step. All these details need to be discussed before the fair. If you do not arrive as a team with a plan, there will be no time at the fair to become a team.

Processing Procedures:
Pre-screening candidates:
•    Prepare your process and your staff. Make sure that they can qualify candidates properly and distribute literature appropriately. Qualify prospects…quickly! The average visitor to your display will spend LESS than five minutes with you. During this time, your staff must qualify him or her as a candidate, determine his or her needs, goals and possibilities, and record contact information for follow-up.

Interviews at event:
•    Train your staff in your “pre-selection process”. Will “interviews” be carried out at the booth, at a separate designated table or a room? The arrangement will affect your screening/ qualifying process.
•    An interview at the job fair is generally a screening interview. It is efficient in that it saves you a lot of time in your recruitment process. This type of interview is totally different from an office interview, where there are little or no constraints on time and space.
•    Paper resumes? apply on-line? Always accept paper resumes. A big complaint from career fair candidates involves recruiters who refuse to take paper resumes and instruct jobseekers to apply online at a company web site. You should always accept resumes from job fair candidates. Just explain that they must also apply online as part of your company policy. This courtesy shows candidates that their effort to meet you in person is appreciated.

Marketing of/ at the event:
•    Check out the sponsor’s marketing plan. Make sure there is an advertising campaign to attract candidates. Be wary of those sponsors who rely heavily on their database to attract candidates. The database probably consists of the candidates who attended the last show. Look for an advertising campaign that includes Internet, newspaper, radio, direct mail and co-sponsorship with professional or other organizations.

Additional promotional opportunities:
•    Almost every job fair provides a variety of opportunities to publicize your company, often at no (or a reasonable) additional cost. You may be able to publish your open positions on the event web site.
•    Include your company logo on printed materials; get listed as an exhibitor in radio or TV ads; receive additional exposure as an event sponsor; deliver workshops, info sessions, speeches; MC Marketing by ‘moving around’.
•    On occasion, send one of your team members out armed with recruiting material. Have them wander up and down the aisles, out into the lobby area and in good weather even out into the parking lot where the waiting line is. This gets the word out that you are there and eager to meet candidates. As the candidates wander the aisles of booths, they will feel obligated to come up to you. Or they will feel like the ice has already been broken.

Booth Set-up and Protocols:
Table placement:
•    Where to place your table, displays, staff? Consider placing your table at the back (or side) of the booth, leaving room to greet and interact with candidates face-to-face (without the table as a barrier).

Don’t sit:
•    Your booth staff should not sit; better to stand up, greet, walk around. If they need to rest (and they will), go take a break.

Greet, then qualify prospects:
•    Greet candidates when they approach your exhibit. Sounds like common sense, but some recruiters seem to prefer chatting with their booth co-workers or talking on their mobile, or texting instead of welcoming candidates. Remember why you’re there and be a good host. When someone visits your booth, introduce yourself, shake the candidate’s hand and start a conversation! Then qualify prospects…quickly! Train your staff how to end conversations courteously and move on.

React quickly at the fair and you will hire quickly:
•    Be prepared to set up interviews on the spot. Candidates are impressed when you can do this and the word will spread.
•    If you have a hiring manager in the booth, encourage him/her to leave the booth and find a private area to conduct a detailed screen. Have applications and other interview materials for the candidate to take home. Remember that this hot candidate may see several companies that will want to hire her/him.

Giveaways − materials & items:
•    Choose carefully, be thrifty
•    Promotional items: Are they ‘green’? Will people use it? What is a money waster? Is everyone coming to your booth to grab your promotional item, then leaving without asking any questions? Often literature distributed at a public event is not looked at or, even worse, it is discarded before leaving. A better idea is to produce and distribute less expensive literature that has been adapted to your needs for the particular job fair.
•    You may include an offer to mail or e-mail your quality brochures. Only serious candidates will ask for further information. This is a great way to determine how interested a candidate is in working for your company.
•    Don’t run out of business cards, marketing materials, application forms, etc.

Staffing at the event::
•    Unattended booth? Never leave your booth unattended. If one recruiter goes to lunch, the other should stay at your exhibit. The same goes for breaks, tours of the other exhibitors, and trips to the bathroom. You never know when outstanding candidates will visit your booth, and you can’t guarantee they’ll come back if you’re missing in action. Also, an unattended booth sends the wrong message about your company.

Visit other exhibitors:
•    Have enough staff to have them ‘walk the trade show’ – to observe, learn, make contacts (with candidates), network, etc.

Stay until the end of the event:
•    Show up on time and stay until the end of the event. Make sure your travel plans and other arrangements leave enough time for you to exhibit for the entire job fair.
•    Breaking down your booth early is a distraction to other attendees, and it could cause you to miss top-notch candidates who arrive at the end of the event. Also, think of the message an empty booth sends.

Event Follow-up:
Immediately respond to everyone:
•    Save yourself a lot of phone calls. After the show, make one complete set of copies of all resumes. Give this to one individual to make mailing labels or type email addresses into your email system. Send everybody an email or acknowledgement card, detailing what happens next in your process. The candidates will have your name. They will call. Contact them first. At the fair, be honest. Tell all candidates that processing this many resumes will require a week. That will give you time to contact them first. Empower the hot candidates to contact you directly within 48 hours.
•    This will prevent you from losing a good candidate due to backlog or lost resumes.

Do post-event evaluation:
•    When the event is behind you, this is the time to see how well you did in meeting your goals. Did you get the number of visitors you expected? Did you generate enough qualified candidates? Will you meet your recruitment target? Did your information and graphics communicate the right message? Did your display do its job? How did you compare with competitors? Were you properly staffed? What can you do better next time? Answering these questions, and your own, will help you to be better prepared for your next participation in a career/ job fair.

Get accurate data on job fair performance:
•    Do not judge the job fair by how many hires you make. You may have a slow process, have salary issues or just not be an attractive employer. The real measure of success is how many candidates you saw that you wanted to interview.
•    The other issues are ones you need to address − the fair organizers cannot be held responsible for your staffing problems. In addition, track the sources of walk-ins over the four weeks following a fair. Many of these unknown source candidates are in fact candidates who did not go to the show but saw your advertising or picked up a copy of the fair brochure. They may have borrowed recruiting material from a friend who did go to the fair.

B. Follow-up In House Events: Open House & Internal Job Fair

How you get the word out determines the volume and quality of the candidates that walk through the door. If your company is a well-established organization within your community, expect job seekers to crash your doors due to the current economy.

Free Event Promotion:
Traditional media:
•    BIV Datebook, Georgia Straight, Translink Buzzer, etc.

Online Events Calendar:

•    Most schools have a career centre, and a job posting or events board where you can easily put up a poster for free. You could send a digital version of the poster to the managing director of the career centre. Also consider Co-op programs, as well as alumni groups of local College and Universities. The best person to get the word out is the Dean of the program or the top instructor in that program, as they continue to have contact with past alumni.

Event postering:
•    This is a very effective way to distribute event posters to raise awareness of your event. Use the poster guy (high traffic areas). He has up to 300 places he can post around the Lower Mainland, and charges $1 per distribution location.
•    You may consider putting up posters at places such as community centres, public libraries, free employment centres like SUCCESS, PICS, ISS, MOSIAC, MHHS, JOB WAVE, Training Innovations, PCRS, Laundromats, walk in medical clinics, and local watering holes (such as sushi restaurants, cafes, coffee shops like Coffee Around the World, Starbucks).
•    The higher the traffic, the more volume, but you might attract mostly students, and entry-level job seekers. If you want professionals, then advertise in their trade publication. Employment Paper is a good starting point, so are the various business publications.

Deciding to put on a follow-up event externally or internally depends on the following:
•    Number of positions you’re planning to hire
•    Volume you will attract
•    Space capacity
•    Your own HR staffing, resource and capacity
•    Your company morale!!! (If you recently laid off 1/3 of the staff, don’t do an in-house hiring fair)

External follow-up events:
•    There are pros and cons when you have a follow-up event externally at a hotel, or community centre. A hiring fair at a hotel will add cache and credibility to your organization, if it is well done. Ensure the HR staff who participate in the job fair and the follow-up fair have great customer service, are knowledgeable and sincerely passionate about the organization.
•    If you work with a local employment centre such as Success, Multicultural Helping House Society or PICS, they will advertise, promote and organize the facility all for you. This will save you much time, energy, money, and manpower. The potential downside is that you can’t control the quality of candidates walking in.

Internal follow-up events:
•    You will have to do serious planning and communicating with your existing staff to execute a well organized internal follow-up event. One great thing is that the job candidates will get to experience every aspect of your company facilities, transportation from their residence, security, procedures, inter-department relations, cleanliness, any awards or accolades the company has won, professionalism/ friendliness of the receptionist; quality of washroom, any additional facilities like cafeteria, gym, and daycare, values of the company, and attitude and vibe of current employees.

Talk the talk and walk the walk:
•    Please keep in mind that the values and mission statements from your website should line up with the actual corporate culture that exists in your office. If your company claims to be a green company, make sure you have recycling bins available throughout the office.

How is your organization different:
•    Provide job candidates a 360-degree view of your company. Schedule a positive employee from each department to participate and speak at this internal follow-up event; keep your media trained PR spokesperson and yourself more in the background.
•    Your job should be the one-on-one interview, but leave the talking to happy employees that are growing, thriving in the company, and have a real sense of pride. Get them to talk about their hiring process, and the progress they’ve made.

Here are the steps for the typical follow-up event:
•    Step 1: After signing in your job candidates, conduct a 10-30 minute corporate overview presentation (values, type of positions that are open for hire, typical pay and benefits, length of time for hiring, procedures, perks, community involvement, any accomplishments of the organization, future plans for growth, where people can find more information such as annual report, or website). Make sure the slide shows pictures of team building, charity involvement, pictures of the top management down to the receptionist so job candidates can understand the reality of the culture. Look out for consistency, e.g., when your company’s mission emphasizes cultural diversity and woman in the workforce, then your upper management should reflect this.
•    Step 2: Live testimonials or play video testimonials from happy employees. The person in the video will be more believable if they’re natural, and don’t appear to be a hired actor.
•    Step 3: Onsite speed interviews (10-15 minutes per job candidate). You can conduct the HR interview followed by the department interview depending on the volume of job candidates you receive.
•    Step 4: Have an area set up where job candidates may drop off their resumes, not everyone will have time to do the speed interview when you put on the open house, so be accommodating.
•    Tips: Communicate the job openings starting from your own employee base! They know people in their industry, so leverage their network.

Event Vendor List::
Tradeshow booth:

Audio visual:


Special effects:
www.hollynorth.com (wind, fog, snow, global, etc)
www.performancevisualworks.com (live interactions using technology)
www.canamimportique.com (movie sets and props)
www.greenscapesilk.com (trees and greenery, real and fake flowers)

www.wildbills.ca (pillars, décor, backdrops, props, greens, 12 full themes including winter wonderland, Hollywood, Viva Las Vegas, Casino Royal, etc)

Event promotion:
www.streetcards.ca (postcards in 50 locations, mostly cafes)
Bob Tuner, Poster distribution to 300 locations in the Lower Mainland, $1 per location, 604-817-9173 turner@internetfilter.com

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