Sometimes it’s good to shake things up and rethink how we’re marketing our brand and our services. As recruiters, it’s easy to think of events as something that we attend, but in some cases it’s worth flipping that assumption and becoming the host instead.
This can be an innovative approach in how we market a client’s job vacancies and it can have an excellent return for clients in terms of new hires. It’s also a great way to proactively source placements for the future, building up your database with relevant information, and developing relationships with candidates too.
In this blog we’ll look specifically at hosting client events. So, grab your clipboard, your favourite pen, and your to-do list and let’s get planning your next client event.
What is a Client Event Anyway?
Well, recruitment events for clients present a networking opportunity where clients and candidates can come together and meet outside of a traditional, structured interview setting.
There can be some refreshments and nibbles (best not to have alcohol) and background music too. The aim is to provide a more relaxed atmosphere for the recruitment process.
This allows your clients to meet your star candidates face-to-face, rather than just picturing the “Jane Burns” they know from a paper CV. It lets candidates meet their prospective employer and learn more than the company ‘About Us’ page could ever tell them.
The Recruiter’s Role and Responsibilities
As a recruiter, you’re there to manage the process and be an information point for both parties. Be a good host, help with introductions, and then step back and let the relationships develop (or not) organically. It’s important that nothing is forced because if the parties don’t get on in person or something’s off, it’s better to find this out now than when your client is requesting a fee refund in a couple of months time.
Client events are better than general industry open nights as you have more information to give, the process is more specialised and focussed, and you're solely inviting people who you consider right for the role(s).
Take engineering for example; it’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all sector so if your client specialises in environmental engineering, you know which of your candidates are best to present and who doesn’t fit the bill.
A client event is more likely to result in quicker feedback, perhaps instant feedback, as opposed to sending over 5 CVs and waiting to hear back - or never hearing back at all. Your client has committed to co-hosting this event with you so they’re invested in the process. I think it’s important to have a co-host approach to these events as you want your client to be involved and dedicated to you filling these roles from the get-go.
How to Go About It
If you’re sold on hosting recruitment events, and if your clients are too, here are some quick tips to get you started.
Start With a Clear Objective
What’s the point of hosting an event if you don’t have an objective? If you’re hosting a client event, your objective might be to make placements or secure interviews and even though you may think of your event as ‘a little networking night in the office’, it can deliver great results.
In fact, Firefish clients, and one of Scotland’s best recruitment agencies, Nine Twenty, regularly host client events and see an average return of four placements per client, per event. Not bad for some, eh?
Pick a Venue
FYI - your client event doesn’t have to be in your agency office (although this might cut some costs for you). You could host it in a neutral space like a hotel or local business hub or at your client’s office or HQ.
Having the event at your client’s office is a good idea because it gives candidates a real feel for the place where they’ll spend their working week. Plus, it gives them the opportunity to grasp the essence of the company’s culture and what they’re about.
It’s really down to whatever vibe you’re going for and what your clients feel comfortable with - candidates will probably be nervous regardless so keep them in mind when choosing a venue, too..
A Method That Delivers Placements
At the end of the day, client events may require a bit more work on your part, but the long term results are so worth it. It’s a tried and tested method that delivers placements, ensures your candidates and clients are committed to the recruitment process, spreads awareness of your agency brand, and cements your reputation as a recruiter who goes the extra mile for your clients.
Candidates will be delighted you made a real life meeting happen, and if your candidates really are superstars, your clients will have seen first-hand the calibre of talent you can attract making them more likely to return to you. They will appreciate the work you put into the recruitment process and you will hopefully get some placement fees from it too. Winner, winner.
Megan worked as a recruitment consultant, recruiting in the Office Services, General Insurance and Legal markets.