Today’s small business owner, recruiter and HR professional has to come up with creative and unique ways to attract top talent. While using technology such as LinkedIn is a great way to promote the company brand and connect with active and passive job seekers, there’s one way to bring the talent to you. Literally. How so?
By holding an open house hiring event on-site at your company.
“Attending an on-site hiring event is a unique opportunity for job seekers to see the workplace and get a feel for what it might be like to work at your organization,” says Denise Felder, a career adviser and speaker who works with individuals and small businesses to close opportunity gaps in education and employment.
There are many advantages to hosting an on-site hiring event, including these:
Open house – open invitation
This can be a great way to invite those within your network to come learn more about your company and business. It can also be a chance to open it up to others who may not know a lot about what your company does, and introduce them to learn more. You can nurture existing relationships and develop new relationships.
“Take advantage by offering tours of your workspaces,” says Felder. “Ask a few star employees to lead the tours or to talk with job seekers during the recruiting event. Be sure the employees chosen reflect the diversity you want in your new employees.”
Getting employees involved can take the burden off HR or the business owner/leadership and also help existing employees feel engaged and valued because you are seeking them to help promote the company.
Promote, demonstrate and interview
An open house hiring event can help small businesses in three key areas. Each company must decide which way they want to approach the open house, but consider these aspects:
- Promote: Think of it as a on-site networking event. Open the business to job seekers and let them mingle and meet with company leaders, HR professionals and staff. They can get a tour of the company and talk one-on-one in a more relaxed environment about what it’s like to work there. They can see what the facilities and office space looks like and can get a sense for what showing up every day to work at the company would be like. This is also a chance for HR and recruiting staff to see how potential candidates fit in with other staff members and a chance to see if they may be a fit for the company culture. It’s a way to get to know prospective job seekers outside a formal and often, uptight, interview setting.
- Demonstrate: If you can demonstrate how your products or business operates, do so. Now, this varies greatly on the business and industry, but if there is a way to provide live demonstrations of a day-in-the-life-of your company employee, do so.
“Find creative and fun ways to give job seekers a short hands-on experience or demonstration of your products or services,” says Felder. “Employees want to know what it would be like to work for you. These activities also will give employers a chance to evaluate job seekers’ attitudes, communication styles and possibly their work skills.”
- Interview: This could be a great opportunity to hold speed networking and short interviews with potential job seekers. This can help connect HR with job seekers, get more information and quickly introduce the opportunities to a job seeker. To help narrow down the candidates, it may be best to post information on the type of jobs you are interviewing for at the open house. Do this with any open house event promotion to avoid someone with a background in sales for interviewing for a production position.
On-site career fair
Many companies travel to and set up booths at campus career fairs or hiring events. Or they attend large job fairs located throughout the areas they recruit. This type of open house is similar in terms of the messages you want to get across, but the best part is this: You don’t face competition from the numerous other companies and booths in attendance.
“Offer a nominal gift to job seekers referred to your hiring event via social media or personal contact,” says Felder. “Knowing that they will receive a free t-shirt or movie passes for example will encourage job seekers to attend the event and help you to spread the word to other job seekers.”
Set up a booth and welcoming area so nervous attendees can feel welcomed and like they have a safe place to feel comfortable. Offer beverages and snacks and be sure to put out information and literature about the company.
Use social media to promote
You can easily promote the opportunity via social media – LinkedIn, Twitter and your company Facebook page. If you are in HR, you can personally reach out to some of those talented professionals you’ve been following or have developed relationships with. This presents another way to connect and promote the opportunities within your company.
“Just as employers like to hire people through referrals, job seekers like to feel a personal connection with prospective employers,” says Felder. “Use social media to promote the recruiting event. Personally invite and connect with top recruits via LinkedIn and Twitter. Also, promote the event through community leaders who will refer qualified job seekers to you.”
Be sure to accommodate
Be sure that the open house can accommodate the expected (or unexpected) amount of people who may attend. If you need to, set up an RSVP list and make people RSVP in order to gauge numbers. You will need to dedicate staff to a check in process if so. So plot that carefully. Also, be sure that your open house is accessible for those with disabilities and that you prepare that when planning the event.
Set up a follow-up plan
Be sure to set up a plan to follow-up with high-potential job seekers. Also, be sure to reach out after the event to get opinions on the event. Perhaps create a survey and disperse via social media – or to registered attendees only – to get feedback on what can be done in the future.
An open house is just that – an open invitation to promote the business and hiring needs at your company. Be open to new ways to recruit to be successful.