10/05/2017  //  By Tracy Kelly  //  hiring eventS

Between third-party review sites, social media and Google searches, potential employees know your Glassdoor rating, what employees are saying about the company online and recent company updates—all before visiting your organization’s booth at the next career fair. To own the narrative while providing candidates a positive experience, create a recruiting event communication plan before your next career fair.

What is a recruiting event communication plan and why do recruiters need one?

An effective candidate communication plan can help streamline candidate engagement leading up to, during and after recruitment events. A recruiting event communication plan will help your team:

  • Own the narrative: Present candidates with information about your company, instead of leaving it up to independent research. Provide talent information about company awards, employee stories and unique culture attributes to own the narrative.
  • Build brand awareness: Capture the attention of candidates and build excitement about meeting your team at the career fair. Candidates who are familiar with your brand may be more likely to visit your event booth and pursue opportunities with your organization.
  • Cultivate a candidate pipeline: Grow candidate relationships before, during and after the event to generate a pipeline of talent. A nurture campaign can develop candidates who are more engaged, interested in your organization and more likely to choose your company for their next career move.
  • Maximize event ROI: Engaging candidates before the event can attract top candidates to your booth, and help to increase the number of hires resulting from the career fair.

Steps to Create a Recruiting Event Communication Plan

Follow these steps to create a recruiting event communication plan that engages candidates before, during and after the career fair.

Set goals

What is your goal for developing a recruiting event communication plan? What do you want to achieve by building and executing the communication strategy? Are you looking for a certain number of candidates to pre-register for the event? Do you want to generate awareness for opportunities at your company? Determining goals for the communication plan will help guide your strategy. Keep objectives in mind from plan creation through final execution.

Identify target audiences

Your target audience is a group of people who are most likely to be interested in your organization. Brainstorm with team members to identify your target audiences, and understand you may have multiple audiences for each career fair. Key groups may include:

  • Local candidates: Search your talent relationship management system for candidates who live or work near the career fair. These candidates may be former employees or previous applicants who have gained more experience. Plan to reach out with an invitation to meet your team at the event.
  • Previous event candidates: Do you have a list of candidates you met at the same career fair last year? Consider including previous attendees as part of your target audience to continue to build relationships with these prospects, or ask them to refer friends who may be attending.
  • Skillset requirements: If you recruit for specific positions at the career fair, search your TRM for candidates who possess needed qualifications. Offer these candidates information on the positions you’re hiring and why the role is a positive opportunity for their career.

Pick communication platforms

After identifying target audiences, decide which communication platforms will be most effective to reach these groups. The communication platforms you use to engage entry-level employees may be different than the tools used for seasoned talent. Platforms to consider include:

  • Career site: Post a hiring event schedule on your career site so prospects can easily see where your company will recruit. Include pre-registration forms to let candidates sign up to meet you at the career fair and add these candidates to your pipeline to nurture them leading up to the event.
  • Social media: Engage with potential attendees and reach a wider audience on social media. Create a social media schedule that includes weekly posts encouraging candidates to attend the career fair. If the event has a hashtag, incorporate it in your messages and leverage photos or Twitter polls to boost engagement.
  • Email campaigns: Incorporate email campaigns in your recruiting event communication plan to tailor messaging for each of your target audiences. Use a talent relationship management system to build branded communications and segment audiences.
  • Text messages: The 2017 Yello Recruiting Study found 86 percent of candidates feel positively when text messages are used during the hiring process. Use talent relationship management software to send text reminders to groups of candidates prior to the event, or send a company culture video post career fair.

Create a recruiting event communication timeline

Create a timeline for your recruiting event communication plan to guide every phase of the strategy. Each segment may incorporate unique messaging, communication platforms and audiences.

  • Pre-event: Eight to twelve weeks before the event is a crucial time period to generate a pre-event buzz. Reach out to candidates to invite them to pre-register, promote event attendance on social media and update your career site with event information. Set your team up for success by building candidate excitement before the career fair starts.
  • During the event: Between collecting resumes and engaging candidates, it may be challenging to communicate while the career fair is underway. Prepare communications before the event to stay top-of-mind with candidates during the fair. Use a talent relationship management system to schedule day-of communications in advance. Prepare to send a welcome email with your booth location, text reminders to candidates who pre-registered and emails inviting high-potential candidates to self-schedule interviews.
  • Post-event: Candidates you meet at the career fair expect to hear from you. Immediately following the event, email candidates to thank them for their time and outline a clear call-to-action. In the weeks following the career fair, provide updates on hiring process next steps and consider surveying candidates for feedback on the event.

Plan to execute career fair communications

Career fair planning can be chaotic. Between securing booth space, planning travel logistics and coordinating hiring manager schedules, candidate communication can slip to the bottom of your list. As part of your recruiting event communication plan, determine how you will execute the strategy. Designate team members responsible for communications. Use a talent relationship management system to schedule all email and text campaigns, and leverage social media tools like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to automate social media posts.

Evaluate success

Post-event, review the goals you set and progress you made to meet your objectives. If needed, refine your strategy for the next career fair to continue to work toward the goals you set out to achieve.

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