In-person events might become a thing of the past for high-volume hiring.
Perhaps you hosted at a big convention centre. Or hired out a whole restaurant. But now, you’ve got candidates applying from different locations and hiring for permanent-remote roles. What are you supposed to do?
This is where a virtual hiring event is valuable. Done right, it can build the same sense of connection while also showing off your fantastic culture.
Here are the considerations you need to plan for when hosting a virtual hiring event.
Determine the goals of your virtual hiring event
Before you can start planning your virtual hiring event, you need to determine the goals of the event. Broadly speaking, a virtual candidate meetup will have one of three goals:
1. Meeting candidates to get them to apply: If your goal is getting applicants interested and applying, your event should focus on introducing candidates to your team, your vision, and your ways of work.
2. Assessing candidates who have already applied: If you’re looking to assess multiple candidates casually before inviting them to an in-depth interview, then your event should offer group connection activities where you can observe behaviours and see who you might want to engage with further.
3. Sell meetings to get people to accept your job offers: If you’ve already made job offers, your event is less about hiring and more about selling the candidate on your company and the position.
Choose the right platform and tools
Just like choosing the right physical location sets up an in-person event for success, the right technology sets up a virtual hiring event for success.
Here are some features to look for based on your event goals:
- No cap (or a high cap) on event attendees.
- Ability to host breakout rooms or similar so you can parse out attendees.
- Two-way engagement features so candidates can ask questions and interact with people.
- The ability to host different types of micro-events within the main event (for instance: one for socializing, one for screening, one for a quiz, etc.).
- A host control room where you can see what attendees have completed or engaged with.
- Attendee journey mapping so you can ensure all candidates go through the same screening (necessary for comprehensiveness and inclusion).
- Multiple engagement styles (1:1, 1:many, and many:1) so candidates can learn more about people at the company.
- DIY engagement rooms where candidates can view presentations about culture, ways of work, or benefits you offer to candidates to entice them to join the company.
- The ability to connect to real-life (for instance a candidate can signal interest in something, which triggers an email follow up the next day).
Match platform features to event needs
There are over 40 virtual interviewing platforms on the market that could help with this kind of event (here is Willo’s guide to the top free video interview platforms to try out). These can be helpful because many integrate directly with your applicant tracking system.
However, you may also want to try a real virtual event or virtual conference software for a more feature-rich experience, such as:
Zoom: While originally built for meetings, Zoom’s breakout room and conference features make it a viable tool for hosting virtual hiring events.
Forumm: Forumm is an online conference platform that powers both live and pre-recorded elements, plus different engagement features for attendees like breakout rooms.
BigMarker: This platform highlights features like screen sharing, polls and surveys, session recording, and interactivity between hosts and attendees. Also, you’ll be able to live-stream on Facebook and YouTube if you want.
Hoppier: Operational in over 60 countries, Hoppier powers virtual and hybrid events. While their marketing and positioning is more focused on employee engagement, the features can be used for external events as well.
SpotMe: With the ability to create both live and on-demand events, SpotMe features breakout sessions, personalised agendas, and two-way communication between event staff and attendees, similar to other platforms like it.
If you’re planning to use an event software rather than a purpose-built HR software, make sure you have a plan for getting the candidates into your ATS so everyone gets a good experience.
Get your admin in order
With goals and a software in place, here are the administrative things you need on hand for a success event:
Promote the event in the right places: You can use job boards, social media, your company website, and email to promote your event. Make sure you're clear about what type of role(s) you're looking to fill and what the qualifications are to avoid any candidate confusion.
Prepare questions and answers ahead of time: Prepare a list of questions you want to ask your candidates. This will help you keep the conversation flowing and avoid any awkward silences.
Set up a control room: Most event or interview platforms have an admin panel. Make sure this is set up a day (or more) in advance with a dry-run so you won’t run into any obvious tech hiccoughs when the event starts.
Make a plan for wifi issues and attendee drop off: If someone has to drop off or if there are any wifi issues, try to re-engage them as soon as possible. If you can’t get them back in, send them a link to the recorded event or offer to schedule a one-on-one meeting.
Evaluate and follow up with candidates
After the event, take some time to evaluate the candidates and follow up with them. This is where your notes will come in handy. You can reach out to candidates via email, phone, or social media. Depending on your goals or budget, a nice touch could be to send them a physical thank you card or small gift to show your appreciation and give them something to remember you by.