Your Foolproof Virtual Recruitment Event Planning Timeline

Hosting a virtual hiring event is new territory for many. Naturally, you want your event to go off without a hitch, be memorable, and attract the right candidates to your company. But organizing any event is, in general, a very demanding task. Fortunately, with the right strategy and state-of-the-art virtual event solutions, planning a virtual recruitment event doesn’t have to be intimidating. 

The event planning process usually follows a pretty logical path. It starts the minute you think, “Hey! Maybe I should organize a recruiting event…” and from there, you start to define what you want to achieve and how the event can help you meet your goals. But if you’re thinking about “going virtual” for the first time, the sheer number of options a virtual event presents may feel overwhelming.  Not to worry!  Many of our customers find their way to us because they’re “paralyzed by possibility,” and we’ve created this virtual hiring event timeline to help ensure success.

Here’s what a successful recruiting event timeline looks like.

 

6 Months Out

 

#1 Set your goals

From the very beginning, you and your team need to know what you want your recruitment event to achieve. Ask yourself, “What are the objectives of this event?” and “What metrics will we use to measure the results or define success?” Don’t forget, it’s not just about your company. You also want to set goals for the attendee experience. Be sure to challenge your internal stakeholders to articulate what they want people to take away from attending the virtual recruiting event. 

Aligning all participants towards a common goal(s) will ensure the time and energy you’re spending on your event planning yields an ROI. Examples of goals include:

  • To attract as many potential hires as possible
  • To bolster your employer brand
  • To streamline talent recruitment

It’s also wise to make sure your goals are “S.M.A.R.T.” This means they are:
  • Simple
  • Measurable
  • Assignable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

#2 Create your virtual recruiting event budget

Determine how much money you can spend on your event, and whether your budget can support the outcomes you want to achieve. Fortunately, hosting your recruiting event using a virtual venue is more cost-effective than an in-person event, so there’s a good chance you can stretch your budget farther. Furthermore, sophisticated event tech integrations can more effectively engage your attendees, so you won’t be sacrificing event quality.

A good practice is to prepare different budget plans for possible scenarios. For example, create an ideal budget for a virtual event and an ideal budget for a hybrid one. Or create an ideal budget for an event with a small number of attendees and an ideal budget for a more expanded audience. 

Consider using sponsorships to offset costs. By offering opportunities such as banner ads and video commercials, virtual events create more opportunities to draw in sponsorship dollars. In our experience, this is where event planners can get really inventive. 

Keep in mind too that virtual events are more sustainable, so you’re reducing environmental costs in addition to financial ones. Added bonus: sustainable events are also great for your employer brand.

According to Inc., millennials will comprise 75% of the workforce by 2025, and they’re looking for socially responsible employers. 

 

#3 Select a virtual event platform and build your agenda

At this point, you need to make a decision on the virtual event platform that will host your event. In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the number of virtual event solution providers in the marketplace has increased.  Unfortunately, this can make it difficult for event planners to know how to choose between opposing platforms.  Here’s some advice:

  • The right virtual event platform will support both virtual and hybrid events. Different people will have different feelings about attending events in-person, and for some, there may be a hesitancy to re-join large gatherings of people.  And at the risk of sounding pessimistic, remember that event disruptions can come in any form and at any time.  Recently, we experienced a pandemic which shifted the way we do events. You need to have an event strategy that accommodates different scenarios and investing in a platform that hosts both virtual and hybrid events will be critical.
  • At a minimum, platform “must-haves” are ease of use for attendees, fast build time, multi-language features for global hiring events, and reporting for ROI measurement.  Keep in mind, though, that there’s a lot of “nice to have” functionality outside of these basics that will enhance the entire event, deliver better event value, and help you utilize event data more effectively.  For example, advanced platforms will have AI capabilities that allow you to leverage your registration and behavior information to recommend activities, content, contacts, etc. to each attendee both before and throughout the event, sending push notifications and personalizing the event experience to increase engagement
  • Most importantly, the technology must be rock solid, hosted in the cloud to manage scale, and built with HTML5 for accessibility on any browser and any device.  It’s also wise to consider how easily the platform integrates with other applications.  Ideally, you want a platform that is technology agnostic, meaning you can integrate the tools you use day-to-day with the platform, as well as take advantage of the solution provider’s technology partners, such as captioning, social media walls, etc.  Seamless integrations will empower you to provide an almost endless array of flexibility and choice for your attendees. 
  • Don’t overlook the solution provider’s cybersecurity capabilities. You need to ensure attendee information and all the data you’ve collected throughout your hiring event is secured to the highest standards, with end-to-end encryption and no local applications for hosts or attendees to install.
  • Choose a virtual event platform provider that isn’t just providing technology, but also providing consulting on how to plan virtual recruiting events.  It’s important to know what the possibilities are with a virtual hiring fair, and the right provider will have real ideas on how to optimize the technology’s features and functionality to meet your goals.

Another to-do at this stage is to build your event agenda. Select activities that resonate with your audience. Some of our best practices include: 
  • Give an office tour. You can either provide a live tour or share videos that showcase your office space or depict everyday in-office life. Highlight the aspects that make being in your office unique or enjoyable.
  • Hold a live Q&A. Build a panel of Human Resources representatives, recruiters, and/or hiring managers and allow attendees to ask questions about the interview process, hiring timelines, employer benefits, company culture, mentoring programs, and career opportunities.
  • Host an employee panel. Invite employees and Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to share their experiences at your organization. 

Finally, be sure to identify any collateral, swag, etc. you want to give your attendees and start to create it. You’ll likely want to pre-populate a virtual briefcase in your event environment with one to three pieces of your most relevant hiring collateral, i.e., benefits overviews, employer profiles, recorded executive welcomes, etc.  

 

3 Months Out

 

#1 Make your brand work for you

If your company lacks the necessary creative resources to expertly brand your virtual recruiting event, seek an outside contractor, third-party marketing vendor, or agency. A clear, creative vision for your virtual hiring event elevates the user experience. Here are some key elements to remember:

  • Carry a consistent look-and-feel (theme) throughout all elements of your virtual event, including the pre-event promotion/messaging as well as post-event follow-up.

  • Create a stylized, event-specific logo and incorporate your company’s branding; do not hyperlink the event logo to ensure attendees remain inside your virtual event once logged in.

  • Create a two-minute welcome message to enhance the user experience. Welcome messages should be “instructional” on where to locate collateral, meet an interviewer, etc.

  • Do a quick inventory of your company’s creative assets by searching for existing stock images, photos, graphics, logos, etc. This can save time and money in creating your virtual environment.

  • Use your corporate branding guide (if available) as a reference during the environment creation process.

#2 Begin the promotion of your recruiting event 

You should start spreading the word about your event, choosing the right channels, the tone of the communication, and its frequency. Also, make sure registration is easy no matter which device your registrant is using.  Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Execute an integrated campaign using email, social media, online advertising, e-newsletters, and press releases. Depending on your promotion period, send out at least two to three invitation emails for your event.

  • Create a clean, mobile-friendly registration site to capture attendee details. Allow participants to register with their social media credentials (Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+) and include calendar reminders for registrants.

  • Implement a social media strategy using tools such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to promote your event. Find LinkedIn groups relevant to your ideal hiring candidate profiles.  Schedule regular tweets to create a cadence of interest before the event. Don’t forget to create a #hashtag for your event so people can find and reference it as they tweet.

  • As with any marketing program, you’ll want to track the progress of different campaigns/marketing vehicles by embedding a “promo code” to the event URL link. This way, you can monitor the progress and gauge the effectiveness of each vehicle.

One Month Out

 

#1 Train your team

Make sure everyone is properly educated on the event day-of agenda and is trained on the event technology and any applicable apps. Preparation matters, so have stakeholders demo the technology and practice dry runs. Go so far as to anticipate where potential hiccups could occur and have plans in place to recover. 

Make sure too that you don’t just prepare your event planning team, but also the team members conducting interviews. Communicate that a virtual interview may likely feel different than an in-person one. For example, it might be difficult to determine whether there’s good chemistry without cues such as body language. There may also be technical obstacles, such as internet speed. Encourage your interviewers to be patient and publish and distribute a list of virtual interview best practices. 

 

#2 Lighten your candidates’ fears

If your registrants are new to virtual recruiting events, provide them with an Attendee Guide early in the promotional period. For example, including the guide as part of your email campaign gives your audience a chance to review it and know what to expect during a virtual recruiting event.

You can also invite attendees to experience the virtual event platform before the hiring event takes place.  Allow them to familiarize themselves with the format ahead of time so they understand how to navigate the platform.  You may even want to offer some virtual content prior to the event itself to increase the likelihood registrants will attend.

 

#3 Build your reports

Plan to capture metrics to prove event success and identify hiring opportunities.  The following metrics are a great place to start:

  • Registrations: the number of people who registered for the event
  • Demographic information: data such as location, age, and gender can help you better understand who you attracted to your virtual hiring event
  • Event feedback and ratings, i.e. attendee satisfaction.
  • Qualified candidates: the number of hiring prospects generated by the event 

 

Day of Event

 

#1 Test your technology 

Approximately 20 minutes before your hiring event begins, make sure one of your team members logs in to the virtual environment as an attendee to test your audio and video.   

 

#2 Leverage a “Mission Control Room”

If all your event planners are physically located in one location on the live day, create a “mission control room.” In a large conference room, your event planners can assist each other with questions/issues. Alternatively, they can use a web conference or other shared communication to stay in close contact throughout the course of the event.

Like physical events, many elements during the live-day virtual event can be unpredictable. With virtual events, however, you have the flexibility to control and act swiftly when issues arise. You must have immediate access to your key team members to address or escalate issues. Keep all lines of communication open, regularly monitor all locations in your environment, and prepare a contingency plan with your staff before the live day to ensure program success.

 

Wrap Up

Traditional recruiting processes alone are no longer efficient or effective at attracting top talent to your company. Fortunately, virtual event platforms and event planning technology can help you plan and run recruitment events that deliver results. 

Learn more about how 6Connex can help you manage your virtual and hybrid recruitment events from start to finish. Request a virtual event platform demo today.


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