With the growing popularity of online job boards such as Indeed, Monster, and GlassDoor, in-person recruitment events are more important than ever. Submitting a resume online to an impersonal jobs page without even seeing another face can’t begin to compare to the dynamic that can come from interacting with someone in an in-person environment.
But the way we think about hiring events is starting to shift as businesses are trying to compete with the abundant amount of online job sites.
Companies like Spotify and L'Oréal are developing new, creative recruitment strategies that step away from traditional career fairs to seek out their ideal candidate. Face-to-face communication proves to still offer value to these major corporations, just with a different style. No longer are there generic “job fairs” but instead there are Hackathons, Expos, and competitions. There’s a new wave of recruiting events upon us.
What is a recruiting event?
Recruiting events merge recruitment marketing and event marketing strategies. By incorporating the tactics and strategies of recruitment with a physical event, a company can attract the best talent from a wider range of backgrounds. Engaging in face-to-face conversation, making eye contact, and shaking someone’s hand offers a type of perspective on an individual that you just can’t have when you’re just reading their resume on a screen. They are a real person--and so are you! The best way to show that is to interact in-person at an event.
These events aim to hire individuals for open positions within a company. The most common image of a recruiting event is a long string of tables at a career fair with a multitude of businesses set up at each one. However, bigger companies are finding that experiential marketing methods can find top talent while also offering more to a candidate than just a pamphlet.
These innovative examples recruitment marketing strategies include:
- Weekend Retreats
- Company-hosted Recruitment Fairs
- And more
Let’s check out some of the best examples of each below:
Table of Contents
- Spotify - Diversify
- LEGO Brick Factor
- NBA Hackathon
- Ford Days
- Amazon Jobs Days
- Paypal - Money20/20 Hackathon
- MGM Grand & Casino - Competition
- IBM - DeveloperWeek
- Department of Defense - Grand Challenge
- L'Oréal - Weekend Retreat
Photo source: Spotify
Hackathon events attract programmers, coders, and developers which unfortunately is extremely male-dominated. Spotify recognized this imbalance (they saw their events having 15/85 female to male ratio) and as a major company in the industry, leveraged their influence to promote a change. In 2015, Spotify hosted a hackathon titled “Diversify” to pull in 50/50 female and male participants.
Spotify worked hard to market the event outside of the usual Facebook hacker groups by advertising through word-of-mouth and avoided “ninja and Barbie themes” in their recruiting campaign. Although coding a product was a major aspect of the event, workshops and lectures were also featured to step away from the traditional idea of a hackathon. The company managed to bring in a 43% female and 57% male participant ratio, unseen before at tech events.
- Promoting event diversity in hiring will help attract non-traditional candidates.
- Pushing for social change will give your business a voice and help you stand out.
- How you market your event greatly impacts the type of attendees you will have.
Photo source: Boston Magazine
Who knew that playing with Legos as a kid could help you land a job as an adult? The LEGO Brick Factor is a competition held by LEGO around the country where 100 competitors complete three building challenges to earn the title of Master Model Builder at a Legoland Discovery Center and is hired on spot.
The challenges ask the builders to create pieces based on prompts such as “build something from your favorite book”. Children are invited to watch the competition and the builders are expected to interact with the kids. Ian Coffey, winner of the Brick Factor in Boston, was chosen because of his excellence in engaging the children. At one point, he stopped designing to ask the kids, “What blocks should go here? What color should this be?” Among other responsibilities like constructing new features and models at the Legoland Discovery Center, the work of a Master Model builder involves hosting workshops and visiting public schools to teach children about wonders of Lego. There’s no better way to see if a candidate can be successful at a job than hosting an event where they can prove just that!
- Competitions can find hidden talent.
- Events can not only attract new talent but be a fun event for the public that boosts brand awareness.
- Giving candidates tasks they would need to complete in an actual work environment is a great way to test compatibility.
Photo source: TechCrunch
Sports aren’t all about athleticism. Hackathons present a unique type of sport that focus on mental strength rather than physical and requires a computer not a basketball. For two years, the NBA has hosted a hackathon to attract college students to contribute developing analytical tools to overcome the challenges in the NBA. Teams work for 24 hours before they present their work to a panel of judges, NBA personnel, and the media. The grand prize includes lunch with NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, and a trip to the NBA All-Star Game.
Hackathons are a fantastic way to predict how a candidate will perform by having them complete a task before hiring. These types of competitions have evolved from a way for a company to showcase their product to the public in an interactive way to an effective recruitment campaign.
- Hackathons showcase the potential of candidates.
- Participants find solutions to your business problems.
- An attractive prize can help pull in participants.
4) Ford Days
Photo source: The Daily Universe
Setting up a car show on campus is one way to attract students according to the Ford Motor Company. The 100 year old car company may be ancient but they have been on top of their game when it comes to recruitment marketing. “Ford Days” is a series of events held at college campuses like MIT, UCBerkley, and UMichigan to attract top talent.
The day-long recruitment event includes a vehicle display, meeting Ford team members, and a lecture by a senior level individual. This year, Ford Day at MIT will have Dr. Ken Washington, Ford VP of Research & Advanced Engineering and Chief Technology Officer, as the guest speaker. Students have a chance to spend a whole day learning more about the opportunities Ford while staying right on campus.
- Don’t wait for candidates to find you, go to them!
- Hosting your own event will keep the focus on your company.
- Involving a lecturer from senior-level management will improve your credibility.
Photo source: Business Insider
In August of 2017, Amazon hosted the largest hiring event in the US, receiving a total of 20,000 applicants. As the company was expanding, there was a greater need for those in the “fulfillment network”, which is where people to package the orders and deliver them. Amazon’s benefits package attracted many with pre-payment for tuition and medical benefits for full-time hires.
As a nationwide event, locations were set up in Maryland, New York, Washington, Ohio, Tennessee and more. Guided tours of the facility were given to all the potential hirees and interviews were held in tents set up outside.
"I think it's an opportunity for people to have a good, excellent job but also have an opportunity for a future," Amazon’s VP of Human Resources, John Olsen told Business Insider.
- Utilize your strengths -- Amazon used its name to bring in thousands of applicants. What part of your business can you use to bring in candidates?
- Hosting recruitment events on location offer candidates a unique look at the exact place they will be working.
- Nationwide events can bring in more candidates and greater press coverage for your event.
Photo source: CNBC
With more than $125,000 to take home and a job at Paypal, the Money20/20 Hackathon held in Las Vegas definitely has a great incentive to participate. The annual FinTech conference accepts more than 500 hackers to compete in the two-day long competition. The event takes place in a huge Vegas ballroom where teams work to complete challenges and present their solutions to judges, investors, and a public audience.
Event sponsors vary by year, with MasterCard, Visa, and Capital One participating in this year’s Hackathon and offering prizes of their own. Paypal’s recruitment strategy was to offer a job at their company as their prize in 2014. Participating as a sponsor allows these companies to have access to their ideal target audience where they can either introduce or reaffirm their services to the participants. And it’s an especially great way to find the perfect employee within the crowd!
- Sponsoring an event can be a cheaper alternative to hosting your own.
- Working with other organizations can attract a larger pool of candidates.
- Sponsoring an event puts you in front of an engaged target audience.
Photo Source: TripAdvisor
What better way to test the skill of a chef than to put them in a high-pressured, time sensitive cooking competition like that of Masterchef or Iron Chef? That’s exactly what MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas did to find a head chef for their new restaurant. But instead of looking externally for candidates, the hotel chose chefs internally to compete for the spot.
Teams were drawn from the 16 restaurants at the establishment and had one hour to create a four-course meal. The winner ended up being a 23-year old sous chef and he became the head chef of the Japanese restaurant at the luxury hotel.
- Sometimes the best talent can be found internally.
- Internal hires reward hard work with movement up the ladder.
- A candidate who’s been working in the company is already a good culture fit.
Photo source: DeveloperWeek
DeveloperWeek is the world’s largest developer expo and tech conference series, held in San Francisco, New York, Austin, and Chicago with over 8,000+ attendees. IBM is just one of many companies who are attending the Hiring Mixer at the event to find top talent in the pool of candidates participating in the conference. The week-long event includes multiple developer conferences, a hackathon, and the hiring mixer.
- Your business has a chance to network with other companies and form professional connections.
- Conferences can boost your brand awareness.
- Not only can you find new employees but there’s a crowd of potentially new clients for your business!
Photo source: DARPA
It’s not just tech companies who are coming up with creative recruitment strategies. Funded by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), a research organization a part of the DOD, the Grand Challenge asked teams to create self-driving vehicles to race 150 miles of desert from Las Angeles to Las Vegas. The winning team would win $1 million and a chance to work at the DOD.
Although no one completed the challenge when this race first started 2004, DARPA has continued to hold this competition year after year to encourage the development of technology and new research that will overcome the challenges we face today. The second Grand Challenge had five teams successfully complete the course and the winning team from Stanford University took home the $2 million prize.
- Competitions not only single out the best talent, but can encourage an advancement in the industry.
- A challenge series that occurs either annually or every few years will build awareness to your brand and your cause.
- You don’t have to be a tech giant to be creative--anyone can do it!
Photo Source: L'Oréal
What is the biggest pool of people who are the most eager about finding work? The answer: college students. Every year, L'Oréal hosts “Taste of L'Oréal”, an internship recruitment program that offers around 100 undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to learn what it’s like to work at the company. The weekend retreat invites students to New York City for an in-depth orientation, presentations from presidents of Divisions, and a full-day to work on a case study. Participants also learn more about career options and have a chance to interview in-person for a position.
“We've created a unique program that gives students a complete understanding of what L'Oréal is all about, and gives us insight into what they have to offer,” says Sumita Banerjee, Vice President of Talent Recruitment, L'Oréal USA.
- Applicants want to learn about you just as much as you want to learn about them so offer an opportunity where both parties can do just that!
- Focus on a target group to organize your event around.
- In-person interaction can build stronger connections and commitment to your company.
What You Need to Know About Recruiting Events
Recruiting events are valuable because they provide a type of face-to-face interaction that can foster new relationships in ways that just can’t be achieved online. New, creative recruitment strategies include hosting events that can directly test the skills of the candidate as well as boost your brand awareness in an eye-catching way. If nothing else, keep in mind these five takeaways:
- Be creative with your event like hosting a hackathon or competition. It can assess the skills of potential hires in a simulation of actual work they might do. They can also find solutions to your current business problems.
- Be a sponsor to an event rather than hosting your own. You have the potential to network with new clients and other companies as well look for ideal candidates.
- When looking for the best talent, sometimes you needn't look further than your own company. Someone who already knows the environment and company culture can make for an easy fit to your hiring position.
- The attendees who come to your event are extremely engaged and passionate about your industry, why else would they be there? You have the perfect opportunity to talk to your ideal target audience.
- Go out and find candidates rather than having them come to you. You can reach a larger audience if you host your recruitment events in various locations.
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