Recruiting events are a tried and true method to attract talent to your organization and build brand awareness. In-person recruiting events are a great way to build relationships with candidates and introduce them to your employer brand through thoughtfully created events collateral.
However, as COVID-19 continues to keep us at home, many employers have moved to a digital-first environment and large-scale events have been put on pause indefinitely. That doesn’t mean you have to put your recruiting events strategy on the back burner though! Today, we’re overviewing 5 virtual recruiting event ideas you can use now to attract, nurture and retain talent.
What are the benefits of hosting a virtual recruiting event?
Virtual recruiting events are an opportunity to broaden your talent pipeline. With virtual events, you have the chance to build brand awareness and connect with talent segments that otherwise might not know about your organization. And virtual recruiting events eliminate the need to travel to a specific spot at a set point in time, which means you can greatly expand your reach to engage more talent!
Virtual events can also help improve your diversity and inclusion (D&I) efforts. For example, data from RippleMatch shows that underrepresented minorities and students from lower-prestige schools are more likely to attend virtual recruiting events than non-minority candidates and students from high-prestige schools.
With that in mind, let’s get into a few virtual recruiting event ideas that will help you stand out and attract talent:
1. Professional development
People are spending more time at home due to coronavirus, which means that people have more spare time on their hands. Many people are using this time to brush up on existing skills or learn new ones. Hosting a professional development event can be a great way to attract candidates, as they know it will contribute to their growth.
To get started, think of what skill sets your organization needs to attract. Use these as the foundation for your programming — this way, you’re not only creating an engaged pipeline, but you’re also building up the relevant skill sets needed for your organization!
Professional development events can take place in many different forms, including: online training, webinars or masterclasses. Regardless of what form your professional development event takes, you should aim to make it engaging and full of value for your target audience. No one should feel like they are being sold anything with these types of events, but instead they should more subtly pick up on cues about why your organization is a great workplace.
2. Diversity & Inclusion panels and presentations
Diversity and inclusion (D&I) is top of mind for many candidates given all of the conversations and protests happening around racial equality. Gone are the days where a diversity, equity and accessibility statement on your website and job descriptions suffice. Candidates want to see how you are committed to creating an equitable and inclusive environment.
A panel or presentation is a great way to showcase your D&I programs and highlight authentic and diverse employee experiences. Not sure where to start? Reach out your employee resource groups (ERGs), company leaders and current employees and ask them to participate in a discussion on representation and inclusion in the workplace.
Check out how Spotify puts their Black employee ERG “BLK” front and center:
Rally note: this is also great content that can be repurposed into an FAQ page, careers blog or Recruitment Marketing campaign on social media. Check out our blog post by Meaghan Lynch from TE Connectivity to see what a Winning Recruitment Marketing Campaign for Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging looks like.
3. Ask Me Anything sessions
An Ask Me Anything (often abbreviated to AMA) session gives candidates the chance to have all their questions answered in one spot. These types of events typically involve a high-profile individual (think a member of your exec team or head of talent acquisition) answering any and all questions that come up from the audience.
In recent years, AMAs have been a popular marketing strategy for consumer marketing and have been used for internal communications purposes too. AMAs have been successful on platforms like Reddit, GrowthHackers and Quora, and on live streams on platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.
An AMA is a great virtual recruiting event because candidates value transparency, particularly from leadership. They want to know what’s really going on inside your organization. AMAs also act a breath of fresh air, since many events are heavily planned and scripted, and AMA feels informal, yet informative. In addition, with so much up in the air right now with COVID-19, these types of events can help ease candidate concerns and clear up any questions about your current hiring process and working arrangements.
As a best practice, your AMA should zero-in on a specific topic. For example, if you have a high volume of applicants interested in a particular role, ask a recruiter to moderate a session with the hiring manager where they can answer questions about the interview process, hiring timelines, benefits and team culture. Pro tip: come prepared with a list of FAQs to help get the conversation going in case the conversation slows down.
To get some ideas of what this looks like in action, watch this AMA with Nestlé USA’s CEO Steve Presley:
4. Virtual info sessions
Even if you’re no longer hiring at full blast, it’s important to continue to create content and conduct activities that build employer brand awareness. This will help you pick things up again quickly as the market recovers. Holding a virtual information session is a fantastic way to introduce prospective candidates to the many different aspects of your business and showcase your employee experience.
Information sessions are appealing to candidates because they are an opportunity to learn about a company without having to worry about networking or making a strong first impression on a recruiter.
Take your information sessions to the next level by inviting multiple representatives from your company and use breakout rooms to split participants into smaller groups to encourage more individualized attention. This approach works well because it allows you to zero-in on specific topics or lines-of-business your prospective candidates are interested in.
Rally note: for more tips on how to leverage technology to create an engaging information session, check out this Rally blog post by Rod Adams at PwC: How to Reimagine Your Entry Level Recruiting Content.
5. “Fireside” chats
A fireside chat is an informal but semi-structured interview between a moderator and a guest (or panel of guests). There are generally no slides or presentations, just a few folks having an authentic conversation around a pre-selected topic.
Because these events are informal, fireside chats are a great opportunity to showcase the human side of your organization. Since candidates today crave authentic, original content, this is just the type of event they’re looking for!
You can mimic a casual, lounge-style atmosphere by creating a cozy backdrop for the session. Better yet, elevate your fireside chat by curating a list of suggested snacks and drinks for the event — s’mores and hot chocolate? Yes please!
To help people navigate the current state of uncertainty and anxiety, Elevate hosted a virtual fireside chat featuring analysts and student staff from top banks and firms.
We hope these ideas inspire your own virtual recruiting events strategy! There are many other ways that you might showcase your culture virtually to keep candidates engaged and improve the overall candidate experience. The sky’s the limit and we’re excited to see what you come up with, Rally community!