Need to do a LOT of hiring? Consider an open house. Jobs2Careers is growing fast, so we hold them often – and we’ve come a long way since the early days. Read on to learn what’s worked, what hasn’t, and why open houses can be a low-cost, high-return component of your recruiting strategy.
Even when you’re offering the chance of a fantastic job at an innovative company, it’s hard to get people to give up an evening to learn more about a company they may not be familiar with. Promoting the event will take some elbow grease. We promote our open houses via email, social, and through referrals. But that doesn’t always cut it. Enter paid social. Try Facebook ads, and make sure to test a variety of images and copy for the highest engagement, and the lowest cost-per-engagement. Track all your results and try to improve on them next time. Even a small daily budget will yield the RSVPs you want over time.
Speaking of time – promote as soon as you can! We find that three weeks is the minimum we need to build a solid audience. Make sure there isn’t a holiday in that time frame – that will suppress registrations. No one wants to think about updating their resume when they’re enjoying 4th of July hot dogs.
Every recruiter knows how important employee referrals can be. Offer a referral bonus to your employees to provide incentive for their recommendations. An open house can be just the thing to warm up a potential referral who may not be actively looking.
We’ve had open houses that include mini-interviews, but the format was too complicated for a relatively short event. We eliminated that logistical nightmare and opted instead for a networking meet-and-greet, followed by a Q&A, which was a much smoother format.
Our open houses feature our C-level executives and leadership from departments that are currently hiring. The Q&A format offers a unique opportunity for candidates to ask the J2C team anything that’s on their minds. Questions in the past have included “Give me your elevator pitch!” (okay, not exactly a question, but great idea nonetheless!) “Where does Jobs2Careers see itself in 5 years?” and “What does work/life balance look like?” Candidates get to learn, and hiring managers get to see who has thoughtful, well-researched questions.
Tell your guests what your dress code is, ask them to bring their resume, and tell them what’s on the menu. Everyone gets nervous before this type of event, but you can mitigate a lot of that stress by managing expectations. Make it a true open house by allowing people to get there between certain hours, not all at once. This will make the event flow better, and it’s respectful of candidates’ full schedules. Send a map of the area before the event, and provide a way to get in touch if candidates get lost. Schedule an email reminder the day before the open house – and don’t forget a “thank you” message the day after!
The goal of any open house is to make hires. We’ve been lucky to do that at every event we’ve had so far. But that’s not the only benefit. Inviting people in to see your office, meet your team, and see how you work builds a community of advocates for your brand. People remember a fun and informative event, even if the fit wasn’t exactly right at the time. Candidates tell their friends, and soon enough, people start coming to you to ask when you’re hiring again. Branding bonus!
Open houses can take a lot of time and organization, between the promotions, the event planning, and the time required of your staff. But the best ones result in great hires you wouldn’t have found otherwise – plus the added benefit of great branding. Don’t forget to enjoy the event. It’s fun to meet new people and tell them your company’s story, take them on a tour, and share why you love coming to work!
Sam is a former Washingtonian who spent the first 10 years of her marketing career working in the science, nonprofit, and publishing fields. She moved to Austin in 2015 for the thriving tech scene, abundant breakfast tacos, and beautiful swimming holes.