As recruiters, we all have stories of successful and not so successful career events. Consistently hiring top talent at career events doesn’t have to be a fluke if you have a well-defined sourcing strategy in place.
I’m going to highlight some of my best practices for sourcing before, during, and after a career event. My practices are a combination of the tried and true basic networking skills that you’d expect out of any successful recruiter to leveraging innovative ways of identifying and engaging the most sought after talent.
My definition of a “career event” is any gathering of people that can be leveraged for recruiting purposes. This includes the smallest meet-up with a couple of attendees to massive conferences with thousands of attendees.
Develop your goals
Companies attend career events for a number of reasons. These goals can vary from hiring new employees, building an employment brand, evaluating an event, career development, rewarding an employee, and bench marking. Be sure you have developed a goal of what you’d like to achieve before signing up.
In addition to having your goals, there is benefit to letting your internal partners know about the event you will be attending. Ask them to provide you a list of current or potential future openings across the organization so you’ll be able to scout talent more effectively.
Pre Event Sourcing
Pre-event sourcing is where recruiters can play the largest role in maximizing your resources.
Learn how the event will be talked about in social media. For example, find the corresponding hashtags on Twitter. You’ll find that each event is unique in the way it is marketed and leverages social media platforms. If the meeting is organized on a social platform like Meet-Up, it’s easy to see who’s signed up. You can also ask the event planner for the attendee list, review the event agenda, and view the major professional networking platforms to see who has mentioned that they will be attending the event. Some events even have a resume database- but remember that if you only explore the resume database, you’ll be ‘fishing in the same small pond’ as everyone else.
For me it doesn’t necessarily matter if someone is attending a conference, career event, or not. Career events are a great way to personalize an email or phone call and get into a conversation. I’ll say something along the lines of “I see you’re signed up to attend X conference and I’d love to catch up there.” Or “I saw you attended X conference in the past, we’ll be there this year but I’d still like to chat.”
During the Event
Keep a note pad a jot down the people you meet so you can follow up with them after the event.
Be An Active Networker
This includes getting out and meeting new people. Don’t just hang out with your friends and colleagues when you can go out to dinner with a new group.
Get Out From Behind The Booth
This applies specifically to career fairs. I’ve been to many career fairs where it seems almost as if recruiters are hiding out behind the booth. I’ve been both behind and out in front of the booth and have seen much better results meeting people in the isles.
Follow Up Right Away with a note, and of course, add them to your network. When you add someone to your network, send a brief personalized note of how you met. LinkedIn has a great function for keeping notes on how you met and allows you to assign a tag and even set reminders. This function has become invaluable for me over the years.