When it comes to technology, the sky’s the limit. In the age of virtual recruiting, employers have a unique opportunity to be more creative than ever before with their recruiting events. Since virtual recruiting events don’t have the same financial or geographic constraints as their in-person counterparts, employers can be more flexible, experiment with different formats, and design events that attract top talent in any industry.
The COVID-19 shutdown accelerated the adoption of virtual recruiting and many employers initially used virtual tools to replicate their in-person recruiting events. Now, as job seekers become more familiar with virtual recruiting and more employers are active in the space, talent acquisition teams need to do more to differentiate their organization from the competition. Branching out from the standard career fair formula is an effective way to do just that. Creative recruiting events are more interesting and even fun for candidates to attend, which increases participation. These types of events also strengthen your employer brand and drive candidate engagement throughout the recruiting process.
Here’s a look at six creative ideas for virtual recruiting events that your team should consider hosting this year. Bookmark these creative ideas as a reference when plotting out your hybrid recruiting strategy, since many of these suggestions can work just as well for in-person events as for virtual career fairs.
The Resume Review
Events that help job seekers with their employment search are very effective for increasing awareness of your employer brand and building trust with candidates. Some organizations in highly competitive industries are hosting informational events for early career candidates that build relationships with candidates early in the process, such as resume reviews or even career coaching sessions. Employers staff virtual booths with experts—from within your recruiting team or a third party organization—who offer advice to help candidates position themselves in the best light and can meet one-on-one to make suggestions for changes to their resume that will improve their chances of finding the job of their dreams.
The Coffee Chat
Perhaps the most casual of the suggestions on our list, coffee chat events can look a lot of different ways. They can be structured as Q&A sessions with key members of your organization, or you might have speakers presenting on specific topics. No matter the focus, candidates can interact with presenters, engage in discussions, and learn more about your organization’s mission and culture.
The Employee Resource Symposium
Quickly becoming a key strategy in DEI recruiting, these events center employee resource groups, who host discussions around common challenges and work experiences for a specific type of candidate. You might have your women’s network lead an event around the unique challenges for women in STEM roles. Your LGBTQIA+ group could host a discussion around what inclusion really looks like and how your culture stacks up. Your Black employee resource group might address what job seekers expect from employers on social justice issues. Hosting events that acknowledge the different experiences of different types of candidates can help diversify your talent pipeline and further strengthen your employer brand.
The Reverse Career Fair
The reverse career fair is a rare breed of recruiting event, but a valuable one in certain situations. In these unique events, as you might imagine, the roles are reversed. Candidates man the booths and multiple employers visit to engage with them. This type of event works best for high-level candidates with niche skill sets but universities are increasingly using this model with students and recent grads. Centering the experience on highly sought after candidates builds awareness for universities as well as the employers who participate in them.
The (Event) Screening Event
Some organizations are beginning to host screening events to create a more curated guest list for other events. We’ve seen this working particularly well when TA teams need to filter a large number of candidates for a few roles, and it’s also an effective approach for screening candidates for in-person events as a part of their hybrid recruiting strategy to enable social distancing. In order to screen and target the exact right candidate base to a more tailored or small event, you can hold an event to quickly meet and screen candidates, and then invite top candidates to another, more exclusive event.
The Curated Hiring Event
Once your candidate pool is screened and vetted, host a curated hiring event. These events are invitation-only, and all the invitees have been pre-screened either at a previous recruiting event or individually through traditional phone screenings. Hiring managers man the booths, interview candidates, and often make same-day offers. Most employers see high conversion rates from these events, since they are attended by prequalified talent.
The Gamification Event
Gamification in recruiting isn’t new but it’s an overlooked approach to recruiting events. Infusing events with game theory can help test on-the-job performance and speed up the evaluation process by making it easier to assess candidates on soft skills like creativity, time management, and innovative thinking. These events incorporate quizzes or other challenges that can be used as behavioral evaluations, as long as your phasers are on fun. To enhance the experience and create a more jovial atmosphere, many employers award prizes, such as gift cards, electronics or cash rewards. Gamification can be as simple or complex as your resources allow, from a basic game show quiz format to an immersive visual gaming environment produced by your web dev team. Whatever the scale, infusing your recruiting events with fun helps you stand out from the crowd.
There is No Box
As these creative recruiting event ideas demonstrate, virtual recruiting enables talent acquisition teams to do more than think outside the box. Virtual recruiting means there is no box at all. Every employer can host events tailor made for their intended audience and outcome, and no two events have to be alike. As with all virtual recruiting events, it’s crucial to collect feedback from candidates and participating employees so you can assess the full scope of the results of your experiments and use that data to inform your future events. Above all, focus on what your candidates need and want, and look for new and creative ways to deliver.
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