Over the past month, most talent teams have been looking at ways to take their recruiting events online.
Many of them have been investing time in reworking their recruiting strategy to fit the shift in economic condition following the COVID-19 crisis, but might still be figuring out how to translate the strategy into tactical actions. If you are in that situation, and haven’t yet had the opportunity to hammer out how you will shift your recruiting events online, then this post might be helpful.
We’ve put together a step-by-step plan to help you transition from offline events to a fully digital strategy in 2 weeks. Now, depending on the organization you work for, some parts of this plan might take a bit longer, but hopefully, the tips below will highlight potential blockers early.
Day 1: Review your recruiting events strategy
Given the incredibly rapid changes that have hit the job market recently, some of the recruiting events and strategies your team had planned for may no longer be relevant. .
For example, you might want to revisit the need for any events targeted at increasing your top-of-funnel pipeline. Each industry has been affected by the international lockdown situation differently, so take the time to do some research. For example, if you are in the hospitality or leisure business, you might have a dramatic increase in applications simply because of the recent mass layoffs in those sectors.
Some events will also simply not lend themselves to an offline shift. A small group networking dinner, an open-house with a scheduled tour of the facilities, or a concert sponsorship, for example, will require some creativity.
There are a number of events that lend themselves perfectly to an online format, however, as long as you prepare for them right. It helps to get these two questions out of the way first:
- What were the goals of each event? What would success have looked like?
- Who was the intended audience and how were you planning to reach them?
From there, you can make a few decisions about the kind of technology platform you need, and the lead time necessary to properly promote the events.
Day 2: Set up your recruiting events online with the right tools
This needs to be started right away because this is where you are most likely to experience delays.
Check your current talent tech stack first, as it may already include virtual recruiting events tools. The Beamery platform has a recruitment events module that accommodates virtual events with out of the box landing page templates, attached email workflows, and reporting that is specific to recruiting teams. Those are only some of the things that you could get from your talent operating system, so make sure to check with your providers.
If your providers don’t offer these tools, or if they would take too long to implement or would not be cost-effective, then you can use those discovery conversations to build a quick checklist of the features needed for a fully virtual recruiting events infrastructure.
A basic Google search on “virtual events” will give you detailed reviews, side-by-side comparisons, and all sorts of helpful tips about the tools currently on the market.
Zoom, of course, is popular with all sorts of audiences, and works very well for certain types of virtual recruiting events. There are dozens of other options available as well, depending on what you need—we use GoToWebinar for marketing events, for example, because it plays nicely with our marketing tech stack. However, you might need something a bit more purpose-built if you want to make the most out of these virtual recruiting activities.
Start comparing tools based on your initial research, and on what your team will use these tools for. How many attendees will you expect at a time? How interactive do you need the events to be? Will you hold separate “networking” chats or virtual breakout rooms? What data points will you want to collect on your event registrants and attendees?
This might be something that your talent operations or recruiting operations person can help with, as they will know all the right questions to ask.
Day 3: Get the procurement ball rolling
You might need a few days to get your requests for a new system processed by the procurement department or the legal department in your organization. If you are in one of those lucky talent teams who own the purchasing process for most of their internal tools, then this doesn’t apply to you.
Day 4: Set your team up for success
While your request for new software is being processed, look into the hardware or training that your teams would need.
Before they can get started, some of your team members might need proper equipment, such as microphones, headsets, cameras, or even a new computer. Some recruiters won’t have stable enough internet access to stream quality video, while others might need a change to their home set-up. It will be helpful to determine early who can do what, and how you can best equip them for their new tasks.
You will also need to ensure that the recruiting team has the tools and knowledge necessary to properly promote these virtual events. Make sure to reach out to the marketing team for support. They can quickly point out some of the considerations that might not be on your mind: How will you reach your intended audience? Should you promote with paid advertising, and if yes, who should you target? How much time will you need to get a satisfactory number of registrants? What works best in digital campaigns depending on the channel?
On the question of channels specifically, make sure to explore all your options. In many cases, it’s perfectly fine to stick to Linkedin and enlist the help of employees to promote the event organically. However, you can try other channels as well: perhaps put some budget behind ads on industry-specific networks and groups, consider partnering with universities or schools, or partner with a professional publication to place an ad in their newsletter.
Day 8: Start building your first events
Don’t wait until the end of this 2-week period to start planning your first virtual event. While your new tools or new software are being deployed and set up, pick one or two events that are easy to start with and do not require complicated infrastructure. Check out this list of suggested virtual recruiting events for ideas.
Use a free trial or a free version of your platform of choice, and start building. In the process of setting up the event registration and preparing presentation material, your team will be able to spot anything that is missing from your current plan.
As you’re only on day 8, you still have a few days to pivot if, for example, you realize that your team needs longer lead time than planned to prep for an event, or if some of the features you thought you would need are actually superfluous.
Leave the custom landing pages and the dynamic campaigns for later, and start with a simple email invitation and an out-of-the-box landing page template. The goal here is to make sure that your team has the basics in place—you can embellish on that when you’re fully set up.
One of the outcomes of this test should be a pre-event checklist that recruiters can refer to when they plan future events. This can include anything from the different stakeholders they need to keep in the loop, the content and design assets needed, or the tech checks that have to happen before going live.
Day 11: Summarize your recruiting events online plan
This is your final check up:
- Do you have a final draft of your recruiting events plan for the rest of the year? Or at least the next quarter, including the objectives of each event and your planned budget for them?
- Does your team have both the software and hardware it needs to get started?
- Do you know who your partners will be in setting up, promoting, and holding events? For example, marketing colleagues who will assist in promoting your virtual recruiting events, and/or executives and current employees who will represent the company.
- Have you identified what success will look like for these events, and has your team agreed to these success metrics?
Day 12: Communicate the plan to stakeholders
Now that you are satisfied with your internal planning process, you can communicate to external stakeholders how you will be shifting your recruiting events online.
The rest of the People organization will need to know how this shift to digital will affect their operations or impact the employer brand. Business leadership will ask questions about changes to costs or hiring forecasts. You can use this opportunity to communicate your initiative to employees, as many of them might be more open to supporting recruiting efforts if they can do it remotely.
Finally, communicate with candidates where relevant. If you have to cancel on events that were already scheduled, or push back on dates that you have started promoting, now is the time to correct that. For example, you can add a section on your careers site about upcoming virtual recruiting events.
The focus of the plan above is to move fast. This is why part of the plan mentions getting started immediately on one or two events that are simpler and easier to set up. In this case, the sooner you get started, the better.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to shift gears quickly and be in front of candidates who are looking for jobs and could be great fits for your company. In the long run, this will also help you add virtual recruiting events to your usual recruiting channels, which can only help.
Explore our Events module to learn more about how Beamery helps talent teams organize virtual recruiting events.