In-Person Recruiting Events: Challenges & Solutions

Jul 14, 2023 - Cat DiStasio

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Many employers are reincorporating in-person recruiting events into their talent acquisition strategies for the first time in years since the pandemic began. Others have been ramping back up their in-person events for a while now. What almost every TA team is finding out is that in-person recruiting isn’t quite the same as it used to be. Most of the changes are due to shifts in the talent market—with unemployment rates at historic lows, active candidates may be less enthusiastic about carving out time to travel and meet potential employers face-to-face. And, due to widespread changes in the job search process during the pandemic itself, most candidates today have come to expect ease, accessibility, and most importantly, options across the hiring journey.

In-Person Hiring Event Challenges & Solutions

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most common challenges employers are facing with their in-person recruiting events—what’s happening today, why, and what you can do about it. Some of these challenges include:

  • Low attendance rates to in-person hiring events compared to pre-pandemic levels
  • The hassle of managing registration and check-ins to onsite events 
  • A traditionally cumbersome follow-up process after in-person events
  • Issues with collecting and analyzing  in-person recruiting event data 
  • Hiring manager participation rates

Low Attendance Rates at In-Person Recruiting Events

Perhaps the biggest and most concerning challenge TA teams experience with in-person recruiting events is low attendance rates—meaning lower than past in person hiring events and lower than the numbers needed to fill current openings. We’ve heard from some customers who had just four candidates show up for an in-person recruiting event when they first started hosting them again. Fortunately, that was just a starting point, and many teams have been significant improvements in their attendance numbers for subsequent events.

One of the most effective ways to improve in-person attendance rates is to rethink your hiring event strategy. Consider using virtual events for pre-qualifying events—where you can easily screen hundreds of candidates within a few hours—and reserve in-person events as an invitation-only step for candidates who advanced from the initial screening. Not only does this help you scale the screening process and provide an accessible candidate experience, it also helps improve in-person event attendance rates because if candidates know they will have a chance to talk with a hiring manager and potentially receive a conditional offer at an in-person recruiting event, they might feel more motivated to attend.

Clear communication with candidates about what to expect at your hiring events - whether in person or virtual, or a combination of both, will also boost in person event attendance rates. For example, using an in person hiring event technology solution like Brazen equips you to create custom landing pages and registration forms, where candidates can learn more about what to expect at each type of event. 

Using automation and follow-up tools designed to remind each registrant about your in person hiring event is another great way a technology platform built specifically for recruiting events can help solve the challenge of in person attendance rates.

Managing In-Person Event Registration & Check-Ins is a Hassle

Managing the registration process for in person hiring events can be extremely frustrating, time-consuming, and complex. We've talked with many teams who are still using printed spreadsheets to manage checkins at in person recruiting events. Many are  building online registration forms for their in person events that are completely separate from the data they have for their virtual hiring events, causing a host of downstream issues with follow up and event success analysis. 

That's why we introduced the ability for TA teams to manage the registration and check-in for their in person hiring events from the same system they are hosting their virtual career fairs and hiring events. 

In Person Event Follow-up Communication is Clumsy & Time-Consuming

What happens after an in-person recruiting event matters just as much to your recruiting process (and its outcomes) as the events themselves. We hear from many TA teams who are collecting feedback from recruiters and hiring managers on paper—from checklists to forms to sticky notes. All this paper coming from different sources and often on different timelines makes it exceptionally challenging to relay feedback to candidates at all, let alone in a timely fashion.

The answer lies in leveraging technology. Augmenting your in-person recruiting events with technology that helps you manage candidates’ profiles as they move through your funnel, including ratings, comments, and mechanisms for automated follow-up communication. We designed our in-person hiring event solution to do exactly this and so much more.

Collecting & Analyzing In Person Event Data is Difficult if Not Impossible

Similar to the problem with interviewer feedback, many TA teams struggle to compile data from different sources and analyze the metrics they need to understand what’s actually happening during their in-person recruiting events.  While many teams have gotten extremely sophisticated in terms of measuring the impact of their virtual recruiting events on core hiring metrics, in person hiring events are still usually a black hole in terms of data. The processes used to register, check in, rate, and follow up with candidates at in person events are often slow and largely manual, which means they require a lot of hands-on time and are prone to human error.

When TA teams use our in-person hiring event solution to track attendance and manage candidate flow, many valuable insights are available in real-time—and equip teams to respond right away. For example, TA teams can see which booths or stations are moving candidates more slowly than others and send in reinforcement if necessary. Post-event metrics are also accessible right away, so teams can get to work improving their next event, whether it’s the following week or a month away. Teams can also use integrated registration forms, check-in data, tracking links, and more, to finally be able to build powerful in person hiring event dashboards. 

Hiring Manager Experience Has a History of Being Poor

If your hiring managers haven’t had great experiences with in-person recruiting events in the past—or if they’re new to the hiring role and haven’t participated before—they might not be excited to attend them now. Oftentimes, TA teams can address this with clear communication about expectations and lots of extra support.

One reason hiring managers might dislike in-person recruiting events is because they hope to find candidates for all their open positions at one time, and they don’t understand the less visible value of those events, such as adding candidates to your pipeline and cultivating talent for future openings.

To combat this challenge, many TA teams who are using technology to manage their in-person hiring events are adopting the strategy of one-and-done virtual recruiting events. These events leverage the opportunity to be in front of candidates who they can screen, finalize applications, and send to hiring manager interviews - all at one day. Particularly powerful for high volume hiring, this strategy is now also being deployed successfully for in person hiring events. One client is even using their hire rate of one-and-done hiring events to advertise their events to job seekers (because yes, they're hiring so many folks at these it's an impressive percentage that, you guessed it, helps solve the problem of low in person event attendance.) 

 Experiencing some ‘quick wins’ sometimes helps hiring managers see that there is value in different types of events.

Improve In-Person Recruiting Events with Brazen

No matter what types of in-person recruiting events your organization is hosting, or how often or what size, your team can improve the results of those events with the right combination of strategy and technology. And, with better events comes a better candidate experience, which contributes to your employer brand and your ability to compete for top talent.

Interested in using Brazen to manage your In Person Hiring Events? Let's talk. 

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