As a Recruiter it's not what you know but whom you know! An active network will not only promote your agency brand but the staff working within it.
I remember when I was recruiting my biggest billings were as a result of meeting senior candidates and clients within an informal setting.
Recruitment is a highly competitive industry and there is no harm in thinking outside the box.
Why not hold a Networking Event ?I can guarantee all who attend will be more relaxed and open to sharing their expertise and opportunities.
How to run a profitable networking event:
1.Have a clear purpose:
Consider the event from all angles. Is the event primarily to raise brand awareness or is it to gather leads and referrals? When considering your approach consider which direction you are taking. For example, to raise brand awareness it may be wise to book an industry specialist to speak .Attendees should be given published materials to take away. This style of event will raise your agencies professional profile and is excellent PR. If you are looking for industry specific leads you may wish to invite previous placements, hot candidates and clients to enable interaction within a social environment. Whatever your objective for the event its integral to understand the purpose at the planning stage.
2.Set the Scope:
By scope I mean size and industry. How many people are you looking to include at the event? Are you planning to have a sit down event where people take it in turns to discuss their business or will it be freestyle-networking. I found “speed networking” to be highly effective. Each guest gets a limited amount of time with all attendees. This will get people talking and creates a buzz that engages all. Any of the above are extremely successful once you understand the scope and plan accordingly.
3.Save the date:
We are all living in a hectic world so its integral that your event is arranged with plenty of notice. Be aware of any conflicting events and as part of your marketing send out “save the date cards” or RSVP’s so you can plan.
4.Secure the Location:
Once you are sure of the purpose and scope of the event secure your location in plenty of time. You will want to do this as early as possible.
5.Spread the word:
This may be obvious but many times people start planning events and spend too little time promoting it. Be careful, it does not become a “secret event”. In other words something only you and a few close contacts are privy to.
6. Plan refreshments carefully:
A Networking event is not an entertaining event. Keep food light and easy to eat, nothing that requires cutlery and offer a range of soft drinks. Alcoholic beverages are not recommended.
7. Prepare your participants:
When promoting and planning your event you will gain insight to numbers and types of attendees. Update all of this. Not only will this assist you in setting an agenda but will keep your event at the forefront of peoples calendars. This will also help prepare your guests. For example, they can plan the number of business cards or what materials they may wish to bring. Remember your guests need to prepare and will appreciate these updates.
8. Set an Agenda:
Distributing this will keep participants engaged prior to the event. The Agenda sets the tone. An example could be: 6pm to 6.15pm Meet & Greet, 6.15pm to 6.25pm Welcome & Introduction, 6.30pm to 7.20pm each attendee takes the floor and 7.20pm to 8.30 pm freestyle-networking or speed networking.
9. Facilitate Mingling:
The key to any event is successful mingling. Whenever you bring a group of people together, there will always be some who mingle easily and others who are more nervous in a room of people they may not know. As the host it’s important to encourage interaction.
10.Promote your brand:
This can be tricky, as the event is all about its content but subtly promote your agency both at the start and end of the event. Just because you have coordinated the event, does not mean you cannot use it as a PR tool.
11. Provide Materials To Take Home:
Give all participants a welcome pack, which includes the Agenda and any other agency materials. This will ensure you receive some return on your event.
12. Get Feedback:
You may think that your event was a total success but without feedback you cannot be sure. Gather feedback from your guests and use this intelligence for your next event. It may be an idea to write personally to your guests thanking them for coming and address any concerns they may have brought to your attention. Remember recruitment is all about relationships.
Let us know what else you do when planning an event .Follow us on Twitter for more tips!