How Events can Attract Talent to your Business

On Episode 80 of The Talent & Growth Podcast we were joined by Michael Carter, the Talent Acquisition Manager at Warner Brothers Discovery. We talked specifically about how to use events for sourcing talent. Running events can be a great way to attract new talent and get new eyes on your business and your product, if done correctly. We asked Michael for his insights into the process ahead of our own live event, which is happening at the Warner Brothers Discovery offices where Michael works. 

Read on to learn more about how you can utilise events to attract talent to your business or recruitment pool. 

How effective do you find events are when it comes to attracting new talent to your brand?

I think it’s very effective. To be completely honest, for the talent acquisition team it’s a really fun and engaging way for your teams to grow as well. I think there’s three main points where its effectiveness can be measured. One element of events is that you can really bring in a really diverse range of talent, not just from a geography standpoint, or a coach perspective, but from a neurodiversity perspective. You can get people who are working on different products and in different pockets of the world with different goals in mind and bring them together. You can target separate areas and really work across that. 

The second point of effectiveness is you can test a lot of the stuff that you’re doing within the events. So for example, there’s three ways in which you can source these events. One, you can run a recruitment event where the goal is to hire people at the end of it. Two, you can just host a meet up that gives you a sourcing map afterwards. Three, you attend events yourself, and try to spread like oil in those and network as much as you can. In the second one, if you’re doing an event specific to recruitment and hiring, you can A-B test a lot of strategy, you can change things up, try different interview teams or panels, test structures – it’s pretty cool. The third way is useful if you’re trying to scale up a specific team very quickly and you need to reach more talent. Those are the three main effective ways to utilise events to find or attract talent. 

How can teams use events to leverage engagement with potential new candidates? 

There are a couple ways. One is when the marketing of the event is purely down to recruitment. Obviously, you lean on a comms team and a marketing team and a branding team to create the assets and the content that you’re pushing out, like you do with any recruitment project. The actual marketing and the gathering of an audience is done by recruitment though, because we have the LinkedIn licences, we have the reach, so that’s a predominant reason why you’re involved. We all do LinkedIn messaging, multi messenger threads, the follow up, and this can really build out a different strategy. 

If you have two sources in one region, one sourcer has tapped out engineers in Budapest for example, you can lean on the other’s LinkedIn to send messages to a similar group about an event for a change. It gives you a rejuvenated avenue of search and conversation so you can talk about this event. You want to market it as an engineering focused event with a recruitment advantage, that is the whole point of these things generally. It just gives you a different discussion point, and more importantly, it gives you something to provide these engineers and these people that you’re speaking with. You’re not just knocking on the door going, ‘Hey, look, come work for us’, again. You’re offering them value and saying ‘Hey, this is what we do. What do you reckon if we have a chat after you’ve been to the event?’ A lot of the time, people who are already looking for work will shortcut it and just ask you straight away, but they like having that asset and some reflection of what the work is actually like. 

The other way that you can leverage engagement is with attendees for generic meetups. You can search their companies and that gives you a whole market map to see where they’ve come from and where they’ve gone without that much interaction. It gives you a whole matrix of sourcing materials. We’ve found that from one person who comes to an event, there’s four companies that they will have worked for or interacted with who then become part of our wider market matrix, so you can just tap into that as you go.

Follow up is key, so how do we make that work?

That depends on your tools. If you’re using Eventbrite, for example, you have a signup page, which asks people to tell you their first name, last name, job title and current company, which you can set up to give you an excel sheet of at the end. That gives you all your people or your companies with emails or contact details or whatever they want to add in. That gives you a list for messaging and networking afterwards. One note I would say on this is when you do the sign up, make sure the sheet reflects who attends, because I have done it before where I’ve run an event, then you’ve messaged everyone and said ‘Hey, thanks for coming’ and I got replies saying ‘I didn’t come, what are we talking about?’ Otherwise, the follow up is pretty simple. From a recruitment perspective, that follow up message is really just about giving people the access to knowledge about what’s going on and access to you. As long as it’s fast (within 48 hours), it’s relevant. Follow up actions in terms of whoever spoke on this topic, you can find their LinkedIn here, or you can contact them on their email. You can give them follow up resources and then just reiterate at the end ‘Hey, obviously, as you heard, we’re recruiting. Give me a shout if you can’.

What advice would you give to somebody who’s looking to start using events for sourcing talent?

Just have fun with it. We all have ideas and stuff that we want to try. Doing it in one project that has bookends on either side and a goal can sound quite restrictive, but there’s so much freedom within that. There’s so much interconnection with the group that you’re recruiting for that you really need to dig deep to give you an idea of the culture that you’re bringing people into. It gives you access to employer branding, marketing, columns, relocation… It’s really fun. I think as long as you have the support of the leadership, it can’t really go wrong. My other bit of advice is, even if you think you know something, ask and check it anyway. Just double triple check. At the end of the day, the company will realise it’s at least a good bit of employer branding or product, so even if you don’t make hires out of it, there’s so many intangible benefits that you can do for these things.

To hear more of Michael’s insights on how to create great events and tips for running successful recruitment campaigns at them, listen to the full episode of The Talent & Growth Podcast here!

On Talent & Growth we speak to talent leaders about the challenges they face and their solutions for attraction and retention. If you’re interested in hearing about how companies are building a more diverse talent pool, how you can attract top people from the big players, ways to create a more inclusive interview process or learn about the latest and greatest automation software to make your life easier, then this is the podcast for you.

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