Freshly inspired by our Talent & Growth live event last week, engineered for networking, learning and raising money for Mind, I felt compelled to share how valuable events can be for sourcing talent as well.

Events, particularly in-person events, can be a tremendous and subtle showcase of your business, which will help you build short-term and long-term talent pools.

If you work in Talent Acquisition and are looking at your hiring plans for next year, wondering where on earth you will unearth five niche candidates, then events could be the way forward.

Here’s how you do it.

Step One – Identify your target audience.

Whom are you looking to attract to your business?

Where are the most significant demands in your hiring plans?

Which pool of candidates tends to be the toughest to attract?

Work out whom you are trying to attract with your event.

And DON’T try to make your target audience focus on one area.

You know what they say, if you try to attract everybody, you attract nobody.

We can’t be everything to everybody.

If you are hiring across the board, that’s cool; you may need to run multiple events!

But just one target audience at a time.

Step Two – Identify what your target audience would like to hear about

Do not assume you know what your target audience will want to hear.

I am guessing you are not a Product Manager or a JavaScript Developer – you are a Talent Acquisition extraordinaire!

So, do some research – ask existing people in your business who work in the hiring roles precisely what they would be interested to hear about.

Culture? Methodology? Tech? Ask candidates you speak to when sourcing what they would be keen to hear about. Put a poll out on LinkedIn.

Get some qualitative and quantitative data to know that you are aiming your event sniper rifle at the right target.

Events are much work, and you need to ensure you aren’t aiming in the wrong direction.

Step Three – Find your expert(s)

So you have your target audience.

You also know what sort of topics they want to hear about.

Now you need somebody to talk about these topics!

Somebody compelling and somebody with expertise.

Now, the ideal situation here is that you are doing something engaging in your business which ANYBODY in that field would like to hear about.

For example, you are doing some exciting stuff with React Framework that nobody has done before – great, engage your Head of Engineering or CTO to talk about this topic and how other Engineers and businesses can do the same.

But maybe you haven’t. Perhaps you aren’t doing something interesting yet, or maybe you don’t have that compelling expert in the business or one willing to talk.

No problem – find somebody external. You will be using your event as a venue, and your brand and name will be associated with this event, which is excellent. You will still build new relationships with new candidates, who will get to walk into your building and potentially feel what it’s like to walk in there as an employee.

The ideal situation has one person from within your business AND one or two external.

Remember, this is about building a quality event first and foremost. This leads me to…

Step Four – Less Selling, More Telling

The salespeople in the audience will know this statement is usually the other way around, but not on this occasion.

Remove all selling from your brain, and make sure your speakers do the same.

This is not about shouting through the process about how great a business PaulChurch.Com is.

We all hate being sold to. I do, you do, candidates do. At least, in the obvious cliched way.

Focus on the building of a quality event.

Focus on building meaningful rapport with the people you invite to the hosting.

Focus on the quality content the attendees will hear and see.

You will get the wins here from the association with a quality event and building relationships with new candidates along the way.

Not by telling everybody how great your business is, either in the run-up, or during the presentations.

So, no selling – just telling, and by telling, I mean telling the story of the incredible stuff you will talk about at the event, which would interest anybody in your target audience.

Step Five – Prep, Outreach and Marketing

Preparation is everything, so you must give yourself plenty of time.

Plan how the event will go, who is speaking for how long, what the format will be, what the itinerary will be, any catering you will provide and so on.

It would help if you had at least a six-week run-up to this event, don’t try and rush it.

This will give you time to reach out to all the candidates in your target audience who are on your ATS, LinkedIn and wherever else.

Every candidate you speak to mentions the event.

And get Marketing on board to put together some lovely-looking artwork you can plug on LinkedIn and put at the bottom of your emails.

Post about it every other day at least – if this is truly a quality event, which it should be, you should be proud of it and have no problem giving the plugs.

Step Six – Follow-up is critical!

So, the event was a success.

You had a great turnout; the content was informative and compelling, and you had lots of great conversations with many great people…

Now what?

Now, you should have a list of candidates from your target audience who match the profile of the people you are trying to hire.

People you have now met, who have been in your offices, and hopefully, you began building a relationship with via your charm, personality, and overall greatness!

So give them a call.

“Did you like the event?”

“What would you change about it?”

“How was the pizza?”

“And by the way, did you know we are hiring for great people like yourself?”

“Would you like to find out more?”

“Yes? Fantastic!”

And those are my steps to making events a tool for sourcing.

Tomorrow, as a bonus newsletter edition, I will share a blog from Michael Carter, based on our podcast episode, with even more advice about this topic.