Like almost every other talent team right now, you are probably reworking your recruiting strategy and starting to deploy new plans to meet your changing business needs.
You might be focusing on engaging candidates and building up your brand equity while navigating a hiring freeze. Or you might be ramping up hiring to face the increased demand on products or services from your company.
In either case, we thought you might find some virtual recruiting events pointers helpful, so we put together a quick starter guide to organizing recruiting events, in addition to four email templates that you can use as inspiration.
Getting started with virtual recruiting events
There are a few places you can start when moving a recruiting events strategy online, but it helps to get these three questions out of the way first:
- What are the goals of each event?
- What does success look like?
- Who is the intended audience and how are 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 event.
Enlist the help of the marketing team
If you need support on digital advertising and promotion, make sure to reach out to the marketing team for help. They are the resident experts in this area and can make some suggestions to help you get started.
Ideally, they’ll help you answer some of the following questions: How much are you willing to spend on each registration and email address? How much time will you need to get the number of registrants you’re hoping for? What works best in digital campaigns depending on the channel?
On the question of promotion channels, make sure to explore all your options. In some cases, it might be perfectly fine to stick to LinkedIn and enlist the help of employees to promote the event organically. However, there are other options that might be a better fit for a more targeted or harder to reach audience. Perhaps put some budget behind ads on industry-specific networks and groups, or partner with a professional publication to place an ad in their newsletter, for instance.
Shop around for virtual event tools
Right now, Zoom is a favorite for virtual conferencing and can be used for certain types of virtual events. There are myriads of other options available as well, depending on what you need – we’ve used GoToWebinar for some of our webinars for the marketing-specific reporting functionalities. However, you might need something a bit more purpose-built if you want to make the most out of these virtual recruiting events.
Some recruiting platforms offer virtual event functionalities – if you haven’t yet, check out Beamery’s Virtual Recruiting Events. At the very least, it will give you an idea of what to look for in such a tool, from landing page builders to promotion workflows to reporting and team collaboration.
Email Template 1: The Classic Company Briefing
This approach is popular in campus recruiting strategies. If you target specific populations of candidates that might not know much about your company, but you know are looking for jobs in your industry, then your goal is to ‘brief’ them. You want to broadly and efficiently share the basic information that will help filter out candidates who are not a good fit and set the candidates who are a good fit up for success.
Ideally, this event would include a presentation with a company executive that can speak broadly to the company’s strengths, its mission and values and its plans for the future – someone who will generate excitement about the company and help distinguish it from the competition. It’s a good idea to make time for a Q&A after the main presentation as well.
For a classic company briefing event, consider writing an email like this:
Hey [First Name],
Are you a [Major/Specialty] graduate looking to start your career in [Industry]?
Register here to join us for a virtual event where you can come learn more about [Company] and what it’s really like to work here.
You’ll hear from [Executive] and there will be a Q&A session at the end.
I hope to see you there!
Email template 2: The Virtual Coffee Chat
This one is ideal for late stage candidates who you’ve been engaging with for a while. They might be considering a job offer from you, or you might need to keep them engaged while that open requisition is on pause for a little while.
Like the name says, it’s an event where you get candidates together with a current employee for one-to-one or small-group-to-one conversations about working in a particular function, professional growth opportunities, ways of working and other questions that a candidate might want to ask when they’re seriously considering a role with a company. If you want to take it one step further, you can send the candidates a small coffee or tea related gift as a fun pre-event surprise.
If you’re hosting a virtual coffee chat, you could use an email like this:
Hi [First Name],
We’re hosting [Industry Subject Matter Expert] for a virtual coffee chat with candidates.
We’d love to have you join us for the session! This will be an intimate discussion with a small group – a great opportunity for candidates like yourself to get your questions answered by an expert in [Department] at [Company].
Register to join us and don’t forget to bring a hot drink and lots of questions!
I hope to see you there.
Email template 3: The Office Hours
The beauty of open office hours events is that they do not require as much planning as other types of virtual events and they are extremely versatile. The idea is to block out time on a recruiter’s calendar, where they start a virtual conference, introduce themselves and stay on the call to be available to answer any random questions that candidates might have about the company.
They might get no questions at all, especially at the start, but that is totally fine – the recruiter can keep working as usual, but stay available throughout the dedicated time slot. It’s not a bad idea to solicit questions in advance of the office hours in order to jumpstart the session with some material and encourage the viewers to not be shy with their own questions.
Before hosting virtual office hours, consider sending email invites to your talent community that look something like this:
Hey [First Name],
[Your Name] here from [Company], I wanted to let you know that I will be holding a series of office hours open to anyone in the [Company] talent community, to answer any questions you might have about our hiring plans for the rest of the year.
The first session will be on [Date] at [Time]. You can register before attending and send your questions in advance, or just drop in on the day of using this link.
Thank you for being a part of the [Company] community!
Email template 4: The Industry Webinar
An industry-focused webinar that helps candidates progress in their career or acquire new skills is an excellent way to virtually build your brand equity. If you have to cancel hiring plans and do not want to progress your current pipeline further down the funnel, you can focus on keeping your company top of mind instead.
For each of your usual target candidate populations, decide on a helpful professional learning topic and find a subject matter expert in your company who is willing to share some valuable tips. This could be technical knowledge, places to go for more information, helpful tools for their field of work, or career progression advice that has helped them get where they are.
Here’s an email template you can use to invite candidates to your industry webinar:
Hi [First Name],
How do you build a career in [industry]? We’ve invited [Subject Matter Expert], from [Company] to share [his/her/their] best career advice for candidates who are hoping to start or expand their careers in the [Industry] space.
Register to join us for a live webinar on [Date] at [Time]. There will be an opportunity to ask [Subject Matter Expert] questions at the end of the session.
If you can’t join us live, register anyway and we’ll send you the recording.
There are so many other ways to utilize virtual events platforms in recruiting. We talked about some of the more conventional ones, such as presentations or coffee chats, but you might have great opportunities to step off the beaten path depending on your industry and the products or services your company sells. So don’t be afraid to get creative!
During a tight talent market, it’s important to act fast and keep talent engaged. Companies can’t seem to hire fast enough, and today’s employees often have the power to choose between several employers they want to work for, so you need to stand out! If all goes well with your virtual events, you’ll be able to add this to your talent acquisition strategy for the long run.