Virtual recruiting events aren’t just a response to the pandemic. They are the future. Seeing the success going virtual has had on hiring goals, it’s clear they are here to stay.
Not only are virtual recruiting events cost-effective and have the ability to reach a wider audience geographically, but you’re also able to gain a more diverse candidate pool. And with virtual recruiting, you’re able to hire great talent at a much quicker speed.
As the digital world keeps becoming more advanced, talent teams need to keep up. The ways to attract top talent needs to be advancing as well.
The coffee chats, info sessions, and professional development series are great avenues to excite potential candidates. Don’t throw those out the window. But it’s time to get creative and dive even deeper into those events. It’s time to think outside the box. Even better, let’s get far away from that box. To draw in exceptional talent, you need to come up with new types of virtual recruiting events.
Let’s put our modern recruiting thinking caps on and strategize.
10 Engaging Virtual Recruiting Event Ideas
Hackathons aren’t anything new. But that doesn’t mean you can’t put a new spin on them. For example, you can host a virtual hackathon and tie it to a social issue that’s important to your company.
For inspiration, Spotify hosted a hackathon that raised awareness around gender inclusivity, specifically in the IT field. After looking at their numbers, they realized they ”rarely managed to get a female/male ratio better than 15/85” at their events. So for their “Diversify” hackathon, they changed up how they did everything (marketing, outreach, and execution) to attain gender equality. They also changed this specific hackathon—this one wouldn’t be focused on competition. What were their results? “Out of all the applications Diversify received, 43% were from female and 57% from male applicants.” It just goes to show that effort, creativity, and being open truly pay off.
2. Diversity and inclusion panels
We can’t talk about virtual recruiting event ideas without including diversity and inclusion panels. Not only is diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) a hot topic amongst companies today, there’s a huge push from the candidate side.
Potential candidates are eager to hear how your company is tackling the diversity problem from within. Research shows that “over 86% of job seekers” look for workplace diversity when searching for a job.
It’s one thing to talk the talk, but it’s another to walk the walk. Showing potential talent what your company is actually doing to create an inclusive workplace is key.
For a great real-life example, SmartBear and Drift teamed up earlier this year to host a candid discussion addressing the racial challenges within the tech industry. Their “Kinks and Coils: Untangling Your Way through the Tech Industry as a POC” event was quite a success and it showcased their emphasis and value on diversity and inclusion.
Here at Canvas, we partnered with CultureAmp, the world’s top-ranked employee feedback, and analytics platform, to reflect on the impact DE&I had on the workplace in 2020. This panel focused on how companies can, and should, prioritize DE&I as they build their 2021 people strategy.
3. Real-Time Illustrations During Sessions
Liven up your next virtual event with real-time illustrations. You might be asking yourself, what is a real-time illustration? Well, it’s cooler than it even sounds. (And we think it sounds pretty cool.)
This company, Live Illustration, will do virtual scribbling to bring your next event to life. According to Live Illustration, they “create through careful listening, the Scribes use their years of experience, business intuition, and drawing skills to create visual business documents that activate audiences, scintillate speakers and capture creativity.”
Boost your engagement with real-time illustrations and your real-time audience members will be more than impressed.
4. Mental health + well-being events
With mental health being top of mind for a lot of employees, it’s smart to host an event around well-being and mental health resources. For starters, Monster’s report on mental health shared that “one in three candidates say their jobs negatively impact their mental health.”
Given our current climate, it’s more powerful than ever to hold a virtual recruiting event focused on how mental health matters to your organization. How is your company supporting mental health issues? What benefits are you offering that help? Does your organization provide a flexible working schedule? What is the work/life balance like? What do you offer in terms of employee’ health benefits? Candidates are curious to hear answers to these questions.
5. Flip the script
Flip the script with your next virtual recruiting event. Instead of interviewing candidates, let candidates interview you. Have attendees send in questions they would like answered prior to joining the event. And be ready to put your best foot (and event) forward.
Job interviews are usually one-sided. It’s all about how the candidate is a good fit for the company—less so the other way around. And in the candidates’ eyes, that doesn’t feel great.
Job seekers should walk away feeling confident that your company is a good fit for them. You can most certainly give them that impression with this virtual recruiting idea.
6. Copy the “How I Built This” podcast
Everyone loves Guy Raz’s, “How I Built This,” podcast. It’s so inspiring to hear Founders talking about the beginning stages of their companies. Beyond hearing how they built their company, you hear the struggles and how they got through them.
Do the same with your organization. Candidates love a good story—so give them one. Host a discussion with your Founder(s) and do a walkthrough of your organization’s story. How was the idea brought to life? What were the behind the scenes moments that were instrumental in making your company a success? What were the biggest challenges?
Share your story and remember to make it a good one.
7. Add gamification
Gamification, “the addition of game elements to non-game activities,” has long been around in the marketing world. Take that concept and bring it to life with your next virtual recruiting event. Instead of being onlookers, attendees will be active participants. You’ll be able to increase engagement and interaction amongst guests.
Not only will you be increasing guest engagement, but you’ll also be making your virtual event feel more personal and less virtual.
Here are some ways you can incorporate gamification:
- - Virtual scavenger hunt
- - Trivia
- - Hackathon
- - Virtual escape room
- - Rewards for sharing on social media
You’ll need to define the rules and the reward. Once you’ve got that, you just need to execute. Let the games begin.
8. Speed networking
Think of speed dating, but without the dating portion. Surprise, most job seekers aren’t coming to your recruiting event solely to learn about your company. They are coming to network. The moments that make recruiting events all the more fun are those spontaneous moments where you meet another interesting person. Or, you strike up a conversation with someone about how you both went to the same college. Or, maybe you both have a mutual friend. It’s those little moments that aren’t so little.
Now, of course, it’s not as easy to have spontaneous moments of networking when it comes to the virtual world. But you can still shoot for the stars. Make your next event heavily focused on networking. Have participants break out into one on one sessions and make it all about getting to know each other and not just your company. In order to have them meet a lot of people quickly, call it "speed networking".
You don’t always need to be the one hosting the event. Instead, think about sponsoring events that you think your ideal candidates might be joining. Let’s say there is a big engineering event coming up, why not help sponsor the event to get your company’s name noticed?
Sponsoring an event is a good way to get involved with other companies and organizations and increase your candidate pool.
10. Past employees speak
We’ve all seen the panels where current employees boast about how wonderful their company is and why they love working there. Don’t get us wrong, these are still very insightful. But let’s change things up a bit.
What if you had past employees speak instead? They could discuss their individual experiences and how working at your organization got them where they are today. They could share how they were hired and what it took to be successful at the company. Because past employees have no skin in the game, candidates are more likely to feel the discourse is genuine.
Get Virtual, Get creative
When looking to attract top talent, you will need to stand out. And with the industry relying heavily on virtual recruiting, talent professionals will need to continue to evolve and grow. Keep thinking outside the box and engage with potential candidates in a way that makes them remember your company. Get clever and get great talent.
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