Candidate Experience RallyFwd™

Old School Cool: Recruiting Events Still Work!

Three smiling employees at a recruiting event
Profile photo of Jenna Sandker
Written by Jenna Sandker
Old School Cool: Recruiting Events Still Work!
5 (100%) 4 votes

Recruitment Marketing growth is all about what’s new – the new techniques, tactics and strategies you can put to use so that your company reaches and attracts qualified candidates. While these emerging methods are crucial for success, there’s one (older) piece of the puzzle that could be missing: recruiting events, including information sessions, open houses and career fairs.

These events are certainly a blast from the past, and were almost rendered obsolete when the internet became the go-to resource for job seekers. Many organizations turned their attention to grabbing candidates’ attention through online means and put in-person events on the backburner.

However, candidates like all of us are now inundated with digital noise, making it more difficult for employers to stand out from the crowd. At the same time, the move to digital has made it increasingly easy for candidates to apply for jobs. This has left many practitioners asking: “How do we get the right applicants at the right time while lowering the quantity that recruiters have to sift through?”

Answer: Use in-person recruiting events in conjunction with your online efforts to better connect and engage with candidates. This strategy has helped us at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) with both our hard-to-fill and high-volume roles, and it’s now one of the main tools in our toolkit.

Here’s what I’ve learned by using what’s considered an old-school tactic to successfully recruiting top talent (don’t worry – you won’t have to dust off your bell bottoms and 8-track tapes).

Note: Jenna will be speaking at our free RallyFwd™ Virtual Conference on May 1, 2019. Reserve your seat to hear her talk about the two secrets to engaging talent in a competitive market. Register now!

Events Provide a Range of Benefits

What we’ve found since making in-person events a core part of our Recruitment Marketing strategy is that they offer benefits that online strategies do not. Of course, that’s not to knock online recruiting – it’s still an integral part of our work and helps support events (and vice versa).

Here are the benefits we’ve seen at MSK through our in-person events:

  • Better personalization: With events, candidates can be sure their application doesn’t fall into the dreaded “black hole.” They get the opportunity to meet hiring managers and representatives from the company to put faces to the names they might have seen online. This helps organizations provide more personalized outreach and interactions for job seekers, which in turn can encourage them to apply.
  • Capture passive candidates: Events are a great way to attract talent who may not be actively looking for a new role. With information sessions, for example, passive candidates can get a more in-depth look at the people, culture and work being done within a company to have a better understanding of what they would be applying into. Armed with this information, they might be more likely to apply for a new opportunity.
  • Improved talent engagement: Events allow candidates to become a part of the process beyond just their application. They are able to participate in conversations and have their questions answered directly from hiring managers. With all of the touchpoints job seekers go through, an in-person event acts as a real life touchpoint that can effectively engage talent on a different level than online methods.
A doctor working in a lab

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center uses in-person recruiting events to engage passive and active job seekers.


Three female nurses working

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center uses landing pages to capture candidate interest for their recruiting events.

Keys to Effective Recruiting Events

Incorporating events into your recruiting strategy requires some planning, and if you’re reviving an old events strategy from the past, you’ll want to make sure you’re using updated tactics to attract and engage the right candidates. Use these best practices to create a successful events plan:

  1. Make sure the hiring team is on board: Creating a partnership with the hiring teams for the different roles you’re hiring for is crucial. These colleagues can help you craft the right messaging and content and can identify their rock star employees who can attend events to speak directly with job seekers.
  2. Know your audience: Being aware of the types of candidates you’re trying to attract will keep your events strategy moving forward. For example, think about candidates’ schedules. If you’re hiring for nurses, early morning info sessions or open houses are ideal as they can attend before or after their work shifts.
  3. Promote open roles internally: As you know, some of your best talent might already work within your organization. Be sure you’re notifying internal employees about your in-person events. Qualified candidates might want to take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about another department or new openings.
  4. Be a great host: When holding an event, you’re not only part of the recruiting team, you’re also the host. It’s up to you to make the event valuable for candidates and hiring managers, and so reminders are important. For example, if candidates need to bring their resume or other materials, let them know. The same goes for food – if people are hungry, they’ll have a hard time thinking about anything else!
Text message conversation between a recruiter and a candidate

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center uses text messaging to increase the attendance rate at their recruiting events.

5. Close the communication loop: You’re likely putting time and effort into creating content that promotes your event to candidates (and you should be – it all ties back to how events and online methods can work together). But don’t forget to follow up with candidates after an event, whether through a “Thank You” email or text, and be sure to outline the next steps.

Events are an effective – and fun! – way to better connect and engage with talent, and to tell them about your company and the career opportunities you provide. Make the old new again by updating or incorporating an events strategy so that you can create in-person interactions with right-fit candidates.

Note: Jenna is a featured speaker at our upcoming free RallyFwd™ Virtual Conference on May 1, 2019. Grab your seat to hear her talk about talent engagement and the methods you can use to better engage with candidates. Register now!

Old School Cool: Recruiting Events Still Work!
5 (100%) 4 votes

About the Author

Profile photo of Jenna Sandker

Jenna Sandker

Jenna Sandker is a Candidate Experience Manager at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where she is responsible for driving the internal and external candidate experience by promoting the MSK talent brand to build the pipeline and hire exceptional talent.

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