Recruiting in the meetings and events industry can be challenging in any economy. When times are good, top candidates have many options, and when times are bad, employed people don’t want to make a move. As with any challenge, it’s important to tackle it strategically. When it comes to acquiring talent, having your sourcing strategy and process in place should happen before you even need to hire someone. You may be wondering why you need a search strategy before you need candidates. With the market quickly fluctuating, it’s important to know where to look and what type of talent you will be looking for, because as much as you want to snap your fingers and have amazing candidates appear, it often takes a lot longer than that. To help you get started, here are some lowcost or no-cost sourcing channels that could be considered as part of a recruiting strategy.
Employee referrals (ER) are the No. 1 source of candidates by far—and usually rated the best quality source. ER programs don’t always need to have a monetary reward, though many do, and the best focus is on recognition and simplicity. Recognizing employees quickly for their referral is the key. Instead of monetary rewards, think about other less-costly rewards that focus on the recognition. Try not to put too many rules or barriers to participate in the process. If you pay a reward, consider paying it immediately upon hire and consider alternative ways to pay including branded debit cards or check ceremonies.
Job boards are great for attracting active candidates. Ensure that your team’s postings are well written from a candidate’s “what’s in it for me” perspective. Don’t use company acronyms and slang. Check out and “borrow” great postings using the job board’s search system. Make sure your posting is easily findable and refreshed regularly. Resume databases are quite expensive, and because of this, they aren’t suggested if you are focusing on lowcost resources. However, there are some other alternatives to this option including the use of free or “niche” job boards.
This is a great opportunity to find more passive candidates who may not be applying to your open job postings. Using social networks only help your recruiters find possible targets to contact; you still have to call or contact these people! Keep this in mind when you are planning your recruitment strategy. Since time is limited, focus on the best resources.
- LinkedIn: First, make sure your team members are easily found. Their profiles should be complete and public. Change the settings in LinkedIn to ensure that they are searchable in Google. There are places on profiles to include links to websites for your company and other information. Your team should thoughtfully ask and answer questions in LinkedIn to be more findable. Use LinkedIn Groups to join and start groups, and you can post jobs here for free! Invite people who can expand your network to find the type of people you want (like your hiring managers). You can use these LinkedIn sources to build a call list to actually call or e-mail them directly (outside of LinkedIn). LinkedIn “InMail” is limited and more expensive.
- Facebook: Facebook is still targeted at a slightly younger audience. It’s harder to find sources on Facebook, but your team can use regular searches to find their co-workers, classmates and others to get beyond their own network. Search for friends on Facebook or leverage it to find candidates to join Facebook pages that are appropriate to you and your jobs. Facebook company pages are also great ways to attract candidates.
- Twitter & Instagram: It is even harder to find people on these platforms, but a lot of posts are public and searchable. Use these sites to broadcast your jobs (video job descriptions starring current employees or your CEO are a popular low-cost option) to relevant people or talk about your company’s culture.
Search relevant online blogs for subject matter experts and sources of candidate referrals. Find blogs by using Google Blog search and review the About Me section. Look at their blogroll to find others who share the same interest. Discussion groups are great places to search, too. You can simply review content and decide if you want to pursue.
Googling for candidates is an even more specialized skill and is one that is free, provided the recruiter has the skill to do it well. There are great resources out there to learn how to do this even more effectively. Remember, the lowest-cost solution may not always be the best resource to actually save money if it ends up taking an unskilled person triple the time to complete the task.
RESUME MINING SERVICES
Instead of buying expensive resume database access, consider using a resume mining service. These services offer a low-cost solution on a per-job basis or in packages of jobs. The work they do is simple: they source and scour internet online resume databases for actual resumes and provide the resumes to you, usually overnight. Most services can offer an additional resource to do quick telephone screens on the resumes submitted. Sourcing can be stressful, but with a game plan and a little creativity you can find the best talent with little or even no budget. Good luck with your sourcing efforts!
Jeremy Eskenazi is a speaker, author of “RecruitCONSULT! Leadership,” and founder of California-basesd Riviera Advisors, a recruitment/talent acquisition management and optimization consulting firm.