11 recruiting event ideas to attract the talent you seek

11 Recruiting Event Ideas to Attract the Talent You Seek

Don’t wait for job candidates to come to you. Go find them by hosting one (or several) of these recruiting event ideas!

Finding the right talent is not as straightforward as it once was. At times, it feels as if the technologies created to streamline the recruitment process have actually made things more complicated. Although they save companies time and money, they lack the essential face-to-face interactions that help companies quickly assess a candidate’s fit.

That’s why we put together this list of 11 recruiting event ideas to help you keep your stakeholders satisfied and provide a superb candidate experience. 

Plan a Lunch and Learn

Lunch and learns aren’t just for your team. Expand this concept into your recruiting strategy and use it to bring budding new talent to your doorstep.

The premise is simple: Invite candidates to join you for a meal and use the time to host a quick educational presentation about the opportunities at your company.

(Not sure where to begin? Verizon Media’s career page does a great job of giving candidates a 360-degree view of what it’s like to work for them. A great place to start your presentation would be to cover the same kinds of employer brand information.)

Depending on the goals you’re looking to meet, you might consider sponsoring a local event – such as a conference or club meeting – as an alternative to hosting your own. Doing so can bring in a larger, more diverse talent pool.

Just make sure that the event you sponsor is aligned with your hiring goals. You’ll want to avoid competitors and confirm that the expected attendees have the kind of talent you are looking for.

Arrange an Evening Mixer

Similar to a lunch and learn, an evening mixer is a chance to meet candidates before they apply. The atmosphere at an evening event can help hiring managers and candidates get past the higher-level conversations about work experience and get to know one another on a more personal level.  

If you choose to schedule your own event, the key to getting candidates to attend is to host it at a venue most people enjoy. Bars, bowling alleys, and themed restaurants are always great choices. 

Hosting your own event will keep the attention on your company. However, it can be beneficial to sponsor a third-party event – such as an industry conference happy hour – that brings qualified candidates together in one place.     

Host an Expert Presentation 

An expert presentation is an example of a recruiting event idea.
An expert presentation.

Hosting an expert presentation – such as a tech talk – can help focus your recruiting event on specific open positions. Picking a topic that resonates with the kinds of candidates you are seeking will help ensure that your audience members have the right potential to eventually become valuable leads in your hiring pipeline. Good topic ideas might cover industry trends, new methodologies, or best practices. 

While you’re sharing your knowledge, remember to give attendees ample opportunity for discussion and networking. We recommend using scheduled breaks to get to know the people who might be a good fit for your company. 

Facilitate a Panel Discussion

Do you have thought leaders at your company that can bring a new perspective to a popular topic? Highlight their opinions and invite others to participate by facilitating a panel discussion.

This is similar to a tech talk but will pull in a wider variety of expertise from across your company and can give you a chance to increase your credibility by showcasing the breadth of your team members.

The atmosphere at a panel discussion will support your need to get to know the candidates better as well. With an organic Q&A format, you’ll hear from your attendees through the entire event and quickly learn which candidates have the knowledge and expertise to expand your team.

Hold an Open House

Less formal than tech talks and lunch and learns, the benefits of hosting an open house are numerous and can be a warm way to casually introduce job seekers to your company. This is also a great way to encourage employee referrals. Choose an evening after work to host the event, send invitations to local groups and have your colleagues invite their qualified friends and family.

When planning your event, select a key group of employees to attend as hosts and coach them on the appropriate answers to candidate questions. You could also consider putting together a simple agenda, but the main goal is to create a relaxed atmosphere that encourages conversation and networking. This allows potential candidates to picture themselves working at your company.

Participate in a Meet and Greet

A meet and greet is different from a traditional job fair and focuses on entry-level roles and internships. They’re often held in a group setting at college campus recruitment events, trade schools, boot camps, and high schools, and serve as a great first introduction to your company.

If you are participating in one of these events, you’ll want to be prepared. Time is of the essence, as prospects that stop by tend to only have a few moments. Make sure you arrive early and have both an elevator pitch and your most important talking points prepared before going.

Speed Interview at a Hiring Fair

Conducting speed interviews at hiring fairs is an excellent way to get through a high volume of candidates in a small amount of time. The benefits are great for you and your interviewees.

The key to these types of events is to stand out from the competition. Make sure you treat each candidate as if they were handpicked for the opportunity, clearly communicating the next steps to desirable candidates before they leave.

Organize a Networking Event

Networking events are designed to bring together professionals with shared interests and are great for companies who might not be hiring now but are looking to build up their recruitment pipeline for future openings and growth.

Advertised as such, these events can be more high-level, focusing on showcasing your company’s culture and the benefits of working for your organization. If you are interested in hosting one, get in touch with local organizations and let them know you want to give their members an opportunity to make valuable connections with other professionals in their field. Then, plan a gathering at your company or another convenient location.

Create a Competition

Image of a competition, an example of a recruiting event idea.
. Host a competition.

Competitions are great for meeting people with a specific skill set and are much more fun than asking candidates to submit a portfolio or complete a project during the hiring process.

With entire websites dedicated to promoting these events, some of the most popular competitions hosted for recruitment are hackathons. Facebook’s hackathons, for example, have resulted in some of the social media’s most-loved features. Other kinds of recruitment competitions include cookoffs for aspiring sous chefs and design competitions for creatives.

Additionally, competitions hosted by your company can give your team an idea of how a candidate will react to high-pressure situations or test their creativity for solving a problem or pleasing a crowd. Despite the competitive atmosphere, focus on making the event friendly. Try partnering with a local charity and donate the resulting services/products.

Offer a Training Seminar

People who are serious about their careers are often looking for ways to grow and learn. Offering a training seminar can give you another opportunity to attract top talent to your organization.  

One idea is to recruit one of your thought leaders or an executive member of your team with a wide breadth of experience to share their expertise and knowledge. Then, plan an evening or weekend workshop that you offer to your community for free.

An alternative could be to hold a resume/interview workshop, offering tips to participants on how to stand out in a competitive market. Not only will this give you the opportunity to meet candidates early in their job search journey, but candidates will learn just exactly what you are looking for. 

Sponsor a Free Activity

A no-strings-attached activity is a great way to get your company recognized in your local community. These kinds of recruitment activities are ideal for planting a seed with the widest variety of people – and can even help bring in business.

Consider hosting a community-wide event that focuses less on zeroing in on potential candidates and more on inspiring positive word-of-mouth recommendations. There are lots of options but putting on holiday-themed events like trunk-or-treats and offering free Santa photos can bring in the masses.

Companies have also had success sponsoring admission to popular community attractions like sporting events, theme parks, zoos, and carnivals.

How to Decide on the Right Event for Your Company

With so many ways to recruit top talent, it can be hard to choose where to dedicate your resources. We recommend starting with your strengths. Is your company’s name well recognized? Do you have an ideal location with a great view? Are any of your employees in a musical group? 

Use your answers to these kinds of questions to identify your best opportunities for reaching ideal candidates and narrowing down this list of recruiting event ideas.

Did our list spark any ideas for you? Tell us what kind of creative recruitment ideas you’ve tried or are planning to try in the comments.

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