Find out how to benefit from meeting a potential candidate face to face

stock-photo-tired-executives-listening-p-2274207-129503-edited.pngIn the past decade, technological advancements have provided new ways for employers to recruit both jobseekers and passive candidates.

Job search-related mobile device use, for example, is steadily increasing, according to Jobvite’s most recent annual study; a 2015 report from the software provider found 92 percent of recruiters use social media to reach out to potential candidates.

Companies today often rely heavily on social media recruiting — but it hasn’t replaced other types of recruiting, including in-person events; and it shouldn’t.

With so many HR professionals and recruiters using social media and other tech tools to contact potential hires, active jobseekers and passive candidates may already be bombarded with employment leads. To successfully connect with top candidates, you’ll likely need a more unique approach.

Combining a robust social media recruiting program with college career fairs or other hiring-oriented recruiting events can help you potentially reach a larger amount of qualified entry- to mid-level job applicants.

How to Find Candidates

In-person events provide some advantages connecting online can’t.

Being able to physically speak with potential candidates can help hiring managers understand some of the more intangible factors, such as verbal skills and enthusiasm about a position. These aspects can be more difficult to gauge when communicating via email or social media messages.

Companies also get a chance to find out what a jobseeker’s specific interests and desired job attributes are, which can help HR professionals share information about the organization that will best resonate with the person to present the most compelling value proposition.

When considering attending or funding in-person recruiting events, however, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure they’re as successful as possible:

Involve employees

There’s no reason only hiring managers or other HR professionals should go to job fairs and other recruiting events. Employees can often present a compelling case for working at a company because they have first-hand experience; encouraging them to spread the word about events they’ll be attending though their personal and professional networks can also help attract potential candidates. Employee referrals and recruitment companies are the top two most effective sources for potential job applicants, according to an HR trends survey conducted by Randstad.

11-16-15_blog.jpgTarget post-graduation hires

If you’re hoping to recruit university students, don’t wait to attend or schedule in-person events until the end of the school year. Sixty-four percent of professionals and executives identified the autumn of a student’s last year as the best time to recruit top candidates in a recent Korn Ferry survey. Some businesses are working to recruit college students even earlier: 88 percent of organizations with a college internship program say its primary intent is to help identify the best students to hire after graduation.

University career fairs aren’t the only option: College career fairs are the most popular type of recruiting events, according to a survey conducted in 2015; however, gatherings organized by professional associations, which 76 percent of respondents had attended, and in-house career fairs, which 72 percent participated in, were also ranked highly. In-house events were credited with generating the highest ROI.

In-person events give you a chance to shape your image

Nearly half of job rating site Glassdoor’s members read reviews when they start their job search — before they’ve spoken to a recruiter or hiring manager. That means in many instances, by the time you respond to someone who sent a resume or meet a candidate in person, they’ve already begun to form an opinion about how they view the company. Unless the candidate specifically asks about any unfounded negative criticisms a former employee or other entity may have posted online, you may never get a chance to counter them.

Nearly 40 percent of jobseekers say initial contact makes the biggest impact on their impression of a job, according Jobvite. Personally meeting potential candidates through recruiting events or other venues provides greater control over the narrative about your organization. Job applicants may still see those negative comments at some point; however, by being able to share information about the company first, you may be able to prevent those employer review site posts from offsetting all the positive things you want to stress about working at your organization.

Looking for additional recruitment ideas? Read these posts on rethinking your recruitment tactics, ways HR professionals can improve their tech outreach practices, smarter social media recruiting, how to reap passive recruiting’s many benefits and our round-up of four organizations that have sponsored revolutionary recruitment campaigns.