6 ways to make your virtual recruitment events stand out
Since the beginning of the pandemic, employers have had to revisit and rethink early careers talent initiatives. Ali Hackett, Founder & CEO at Meet & Engage offers tips for enhancing virtual recruitment events.
From campus fairs to assessment days, the entire candidate experience has been turned upside down, with virtual recruitment events no longer just a ‘nice to have’ – it’s now a necessity for every employer.
In a recent survey, we polled more than 50 early careers talent professionals, asking them what their candidate events strategy looks like in 2021. The results paint a telling picture: more than four in five said their early careers recruitment strategy would consist of 100% virtual events in 2021.
Research indicates that virtual talent attraction isn’t just a temporary fad, either. Fundamental changes in the way we engage and operate as a society means that employers will have to find new ways of connecting with early careers talent in the digital space.
With all of this in mind, there will now be more competition than ever as employers vie for graduates’ attention online. If virtual recruitment events are on your radar or a part of your strategy, then here are six powerful and effective ways to make sure your events cut through the noise and stand out from the crowd.
1. Know your audience
When it comes to creating events and implementing virtual engagement strategies, many employers make the same fundamental mistake. As marketing strategist Neil Patel said, “It’s hard to beat your competition when you’re copying them”.
When hosting online events, it’s easy to jump on the bandwagon and simply run another cookie-cutter event. To truly stand out from the crowd, you need to first start by answering a pivotal question – Who is your audience and why should they care?
By understanding the motivators that drive early careers audiences, you’ll be able to work backwards and build an event that is highly targeted to their wants and needs. For example, you can implement custom marketing campaigns by targeting graduates with the type of content they want to consume on the social channels they’re most active on.
2. Find the right technology
It might seem simple but finding the right technology to use when running virtual recruitment events isn’t as easy as it sounds. Many platforms have limitations on what they can and can’t do, which may impact a company’s ability to share their employer brand and truly connect with early careers talent on a one-to-one basis.
While group chats and events are a great way to inform cohorts of candidates about a particular theme, these situations can be difficult for less confident individuals. At Meet & Engage, our ‘Inspire & Nurture’ live events platform allows employers to run group and one-to-one sessions, so employers can give candidates all the reassurance they need.
By partnering members of a careers team with potential candidates, you can answer specific questions, help people through the recruitment journey and truly deliver an outstanding candidate experience. This is especially valuable for young talent that may be entering the workplace for the first time.
3. Address issues that matter
As we’ve seen, there are a new set of issues and values that matter to Gen Z audiences. These candidates want to work for employers that take a stand on cultural issues and show support for the community at large.
By addressing a variety of topics – from diversity and inclusion through to climate change – you can demonstrate that your company has a clear plan and roadmap to address these issues.
In fact, you can even run specific virtual events that are geared towards these topics. Diversity and inclusion sessions can help you build affinity with diverse audience groups, so you can answer questions and make people feel more comfortable about working for your company.
Not only will this help differentiate your event, but it will showcase your organisation’s wider commitment to issues that matter to Gen Z candidates.
4. Be creative
The act of hosting a virtual recruitment event alone won’t make you stand out, but your speakers, theme and content will provide candidates with real value.
In the graduate market, candidates are invited to many different events and webinars, so you need to make sure you clearly outline the benefits of joining your events.
Inviting a current grad or senior figure from the business to host chats can also help you stand out. After all, your people are your best assets. Research has shown that graduates want to hear from people they can relate to – the employees who have worked in that role.
By using brand ambassadors to help facilitate live events and share their own stories and experiences, you can build a sense of belonging with prospective talent.
5. Stick to your agenda.
There’s nothing worse than promoting a chat about one topic only to end up discussing another. Candidates will have questions and want them answered, so creating an agenda and sticking to it will help you manage expectations and stay on track.
But it’s not all on you. In fact, technology can help you remain on track and address key discussion points. Polls are useful in generating real-time engagement while sharing content can bring you back to the themes you’re looking to present.
Before your event, add all the content you’d like to share and schedule polling questions you’d like to ask. By coming up with a clear structure and plan, you can better stick to agenda and timings. At Meet & Engage, our technology ensures all group chats are fully moderated, so you can also respond to candidates in a private message if they go off topic.
6. Listen, learn and refine
Virtual events are an incredibly valuable way to learn more about your candidates, their motivators and what questions and concerns they have.
Gathering feedback and analysing data after an event will help you refine your approach so that you can run standout events in the future. Pay attention to specific questions that are repeated time and again – these can be valuable insights that inform your wider employer brand content.
Moreover, you can listen and act on how your audience prefers to engage and where they need more support in the recruitment journey. By leveraging these insights, you can start to fine-tune and tailor your events so that you’re delivering on the wants and needs of your specific audience.
This rich data will help ensure that you differentiate your events and truly stand out from the crowd.
A new world of early careers talent acquisition
Clearly, the shift to digital will pave a new path in the future of early careers talent acquisition.
For employers that want to stay ahead of the curve, adopting live virtual events will enable them to connect with new audiences and engage niche cohorts. Given that younger generations are increasingly tech-savvy, it seems highly likely that virtual recruiting is here to stay.
To become an employer of choice to a new generation of graduates, you need to show up in the way they expect. Now, more than ever, that place is online.
By applying these rules, you can ensure that your next virtual event reaches the right people, stands out from the crowd and converts interest into action.
For more information read Meet & Engage Whitepaper: How to Attract the Next Generation of Talent.