December 8, 2016
How to Use Events to Enhance Your Recruiting Strategy

Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a candidate tree?  You could just shake it every time you needed a talented team member, and there they would be…ready for the taking.  Ok, now it’s time to wake up from that fantasy and face the reality of searching for good talent. 

There are a multitude of ways to attract and identify exceptional people.  One of the best ways to gain access to multiple people at the same time is to host an event aimed at attracting people who might be interested in your company.   It provides a perfect way to grow your company and strengthen your brand simultaneously.  Obviously, it’s a little more involved than just tweeting out “Hey, free beer – come learn about us!”  But just how do you get started?


You might host an event differently aimed at attracting technical talent (hello, hackathons) than you would attempting to woo salespeople.  If you are trying to gain the attention across the gamut, an open house provides a good forum.  Aim for a just-after-work time slot, have impressive voices from your company representing you.  They don’t have to be the most senior people, but they should be strong representatives of your brand and culture who can influence and mingle.  In this low stress environment, attendees can meet a variety of representatives from your company and engage in several conversations.  Yummy nibbles and drinks are always crowd pleasers, and a fun panel discussion or Q&A session can work well as an agenda driver. 


Do you know what makes your company special?  It’s not about gimmicks, but do take advantage of your uniqueness and culture to drive interest.  Whether it’s gathering a group of talented young people looking for opportunities in sales by treating them to a basketball game or hosting a BBQ in a local nearby open space, pretty much anything goes.  Be different, be unique, and be memorable.  Just don’t forget to build in the time to connect with people!  


Just as you wouldn’t throw a big party together at the last minute, you should put plenty of thought and planning into your recruiting event.  Though you might have a designated point person running the show, these are the types of things that go well with input from a broad variety of employees to make sure you are appealing to your desired audience.  

Once you’ve selected your venue and theme, start thinking about content.  Whether it’s a video, a presentation or a panel, organize carefully to ensure you have plenty of time to prepare for the messages about your company you are going to put out to potential hires. 

Next send invitations.  You can use event tools like Eventbrite to help, and it’s wise to ask for RSVPs to track attendance and build momentum.  Using social media is another way to get people who might just be toying with the idea of a visit to pay attention and commit to attending.  

As the big day draws near, take the time to review logistics to make sure you’ve got all your supplies ready (food, drink, equipment, a place to hang coats!) is an important step.  If you have giveaways or other materials to hand out, make sure you’ve got those coordinated too. 


When the big day arrives, take a deep breath.  Like any event, the details leading up to it are important; but not nearly as vital as creating the right experience for people during the event.  Many people won’t care if you forgot to put out enough pens at the registration table – but if you invite them into your environment only to make them feel uncomfortable once they walk in the door, you stand to do reputational damage.  

While the goal might be to meet as many potentially qualified people as possible to join your company, this is also a great way to build your brand in the market.  Whichever way you choose to orchestrate it, allowing outsiders to get a sense of who your company is, what it stands for, and insight about what it does, will go a long way in making a connection with people.  Leaving a good impression with someone who has made time out of their day to come visit your company is a gift.  Even if they aren’t the perfect fit for a role you might currently have open, they could be an excellent fit for a role down the road.  Or, perhaps they have such a good experience, they share that with a friend or colleague who becomes interested.  Capture information, and debrief with your team immediately after to compare notes and create action items for following up with people.  

Remember, no matter what event you aim to create, these attendees are choosing to attend your open house rather than head home after a long day in the office.  Think about if you were in their shoes; what would make it worthwhile for you to attend?  Once you’ve determined that, work backwards to make that experience happen for your potential guests. 

Christina Luconi is Chief People Officer for Rapid7. Follow her on Twitter: @peopleinnovator.