2019 EVENT STAFFING BEST PRACTICES
People really are your greatest asset #StaffSmarter.
People really are your greatest asset
If you want your event to be the best in your market, you need authentic, well-trained people who embody the ethos of your brand behind it.
Recruiting event staff, however, can be quite daunting. While attracting applicants might be fairly straightforward, they might not always be of the spec or high caliber you’re hoping for. Meanwhile, your competitors are also vying for the cream of the crop, so how can you gain the attention of the top candidates?
To reach those professionals with the most experience, event talent, and creativity, follow these eight tips and make sure you recruit the very best.
Understand your skills gap
Before you start actively recruiting, it’s helpful for you to understand the skills you really need. What’s missing from your team? Perhaps you really need someone good at writing copy, who can speak Spanish, or is proficient in a certain CRM system?
Make a wish list of capabilities and rank them in importance – this will help you both when writing your event ambassador vacancy advertisement and when assessing candidates. Being clear about what you want can reduce the number of non-relevant applications you receive and give you a better chance of finding your “unicorn”.
Create an employee persona
Just like you write buyer personas to understand how to target event attendees, creating an employee persona will help you reach out effectively to the talent you seek. What is the likely age, background, experience level of your ideal hire? What are they doing now? What sort of event job opportunity are they looking for and how are they trying to find it?
Know exactly who you’re talking to and address them directly in your event job advert. The advert should act as a self-refining sieve, gently eliminating unsuitable candidates as it progresses. By the end, only those who tick all the boxes should be left.
But before putting the word out, be sure you’re clear on your expectations and needs. This helps ensure only qualified individuals apply, which saves you time (and ultimately, money) in the process.
“A-players” tend to know “A-players” and may be able to recommend friends and former colleagues,
Here are the criteria to consider:
Their existing L-O-V-E for the brand/product they’re promoting. Look and training are not enough! Your Brand Ambassadors must have existing knowledge and love for the brand they’re promoting or the consumer engagement will come off as inauthentic. When your event talent has existing affinity for the brand they’re representing, conversations happen more effortlessly and engagement/trial numbers increase!
Their appearance. Your event staff must personify the product and brand they’re promoting to give off an aura of trust and authenticity. This may mean you need someone with an edgier look vs. a polished appearance or vice versa. If your talent’s appearance embodies that of the brand, consumers will engage quicker, stay longer and buy faster!
Their knowledge. Proper program training can make or break the success of an event. For example, If you’re a mobile phone provider, for example, technical skills are a must. On the other hand, cosmetic or health care companies need other types of people. Seek those with expertise or certifications related to event responsibilities.
Their physical abilities. Events or experiential marketing activities may place physical demands on talent. Are they up to the challenge, whether lifting heavy objects or spending extended time on their feet?
Their demeanor. There’s no doubt you need Brand Ambassadors who can easily interact with your customers or prospects to achieve a personal connection. You (and your customers) may prefer someone extremely outgoing, while others may seek Brand Ambassadors more subtle in personality and volume. Also, experiential events require people who are open to change and adapt quickly. Keep flexibility and attitude in mind when assessing candidates.
Their reliability. Confirm that Brand Ambassadors are available on the particular days and times of your experiential event with zero conflicts. You need event staff who will see the event through from hiring and training to execution and wrap-up. Find people with a solid history of showing up early and giving 110%.
Generate excitement with your job listing
We’re sure your company isn’t dull and ordinary, so don’t write a dull and ordinary event job advert. Recruitloop.com recommends starting with a catchy (but not misleading) job title and three bullet points that communicate the most eye-catching benefits of the job.
However, placing the main focus on the challenges of the event vacancy, rather than the rewards, will attract those with drive and ambition. And while you should generate excitement through your listing, an important point is not to exaggerate the role – you want Brand Ambassadors who are enthusiastic about the reality, not the hype!
Use internal recommendations
If you were looking for a good restaurant, you’d probably ask people you trust for recommendations, right? So why not ask your team when looking to make a new hire? Your best people will have an innate understanding of what you’re looking for in an employee and whether they know of anyone who fits the bill.
“A-players” tend to know “A-players” and may be able to recommend friends and former colleagues, or identify contacts in other companies who they believe could be worth trying to appoach.
Work on your brand
If you want to attract the best Brand Ambassadors, it stands to reason that your company needs to have a strong reputation. That reputation is normally conveyed through your brand, so work on strengthening it via social media, industry press, and candidate-focused content.
Telling your company story and communicating your vision/mission through blogs, case studies, photos, and videos is the ideal way to engage prospective employees in your brand. Encourage existing employees to produce their own content for platforms like LinkedIn demonstrating what they do and why they love it. Testimonials from motivated and satisfied employees provide the social proof your brand needs to attract top talent.
Create a hiring experience that matches your brand
If your brand is young and cool, potential employees might be surprised to face a formal panel in a bland meeting room. It’s important that the image portrayed in your marketing materials and brand is actually carried through to office life. In turn, this “personality” should be evident to candidates – from the initial communications they receive, through to the interview process and onboarding.
Don’t forget that you need to sell your company to the potential employees as much as they need to sell themselves to you. Create a strong elevator pitch for your company and work hard to win them over – for the best candidates, it’s a buyer’s market and they will look for an employer that really stands out.
Use activity-based interviews to help assess competencies
To assess Brand Ambassadors for particular skills, don’t rely on simply reviewing CVs, as this is often not a reliable indication. Instead, introduce practical tasks that allow them to demonstrate their competencies.
For example, you might ask a candidate to prepare a sample event budget, write an RFP (request for proposal) or create a piece of marketing material for your event. This can help you assess how they perform under pressure, as well as test their understanding of your company.
Ask tough questions
If you want to hire a superstar, here are three questions you should ask all potential candidates:
What do you like about our business and what would you change?
This is a tricky question, requiring tact – how will the candidate verbalize what they don’t like, or will they take the easy option and say everything is perfect? Ideally, you want someone who can identify a weak spot but then focuses on the solution.
Tell me about a problem you faced in your current job and how you fixed it?
Again, this question seeks to identify the candidate’s problem-solving abilities. Asking for a real-life example shows how hands-on they’ve been in their current role and lets them showcase their creative thinking skills.
What’s the one thing you’ve accomplished in your career you’re most proud of?
The point of this question is to help you understand what makes the candidate tick and how they define success. Does it align with your own ideas of success? Will they be motivated to achieve the things you want them to?
To secure the best people, you can’t afford to be complacent; competition for top talent is fierce. Take time to identify exactly the kind of person or people you’re looking for and make yourself as attractive to them as possible.
The best brands know themselves and who they want.
Ultimately, people are human, and things can be out of our control. But having the right people in place is half the battle, and can serve as a mitigating factor should something go wrong. When event staffing is done thoughtfully, it can significantly help avert disaster. Selecting staff members who are diligent hard workers and who fit well with the type of event you are organizing means that you are increasing the number of people willing to go the extra mile to ensure the event is successful. The process doesn't just begin when you start recruiting, there are a number of factors to work on prior to recruiting. When you get your process right and are faithful to conduct due diligence, you will get the outcome you deserve and worked for.