Human Capital Outlook

Hiring at Professional Events vs. Job Fairs

A common event which is taking eminence on the recruiting calendars of companies’ today- is Job Fairs.Increasingly, job-portals organize this ‘date’ with prospective candidates with much fanfare & talk. But do job-fairs actually yield desired outcomes? Analyze this: It’s a common sight to see someone dropping off resumes for friends (!), holding a bunch of resumes in a carrying case, opening a backpack, then attaché, then folder & having 50 copies of the resume, people leaving a resume without talking, candidates who are just dropping their resume with every company at the career fair?

Thanks to the hot demand for IT & BPO talent & the associated hiring pressures, most recruiters tend to select their approach based on emotion, not facts or data. As a result, they spend a great deal of time using recruiting sources that produce mediocre hires at best. Job-Fairs are one of the most time-consuming and expensive approach to recruiting. It might seem on the surface that hiring managers should attend such fairs, but the fact is that these should be overlooked.

On the other hand, most companies under-use or under-appreciate the value of hiring at professional events, & the worst is that only a handful have even looked at the benefits of hiring there! This is one of the smartest ways to approach & recruit top performers who are working for the best firms in the industry. It has been proven that hiring at professional events leads to one of the best outcomes & produces the highest quality of hire from any source (at par with proactive referrals).

Unlike a job fair, in which only people who are actively looking for a job decide to attend on their own, a conference is a gathering of the very best professionals in the industry, who all are sent by their respective companies. Because they are sent by their firms, you can generally be assured that they all are top-performing managers & technical experts.

At the recently concluded NASSCOM leadership series in Mumbai,having all the top people in the IT & ITES industry together in a hotel was an opportunity too good to miss if one was looking to network with & hire the best. However, there was hardly any presence of the HR community, nor from the executive search firms. Where else can one see hundreds of such top performers in the industry be available for 3 days in one place to talk to you?

Here are some additional reasons why professional event hiring is such an affective approach include:

  • Only the best attend- Companies carefully select & send employees who will represent the firm well.

  • Scanning resumes for managerial capabilities does involve a lot of guesswork & stereotyping. At a professional event, it`s much easier to identify & gauge the personality of the individual because you can actually see & meet him in person.

  • Unbelievable access. Top performers are a busy lot. However, at conferences and seminars their time is much more flexible. In fact, one could just walk up to them and talk.

  • Their guard is down. Most professionals are relaxed at conferences. The dress-down mode is precisely why sponsoring companies like these events, because they can get easy access to sell their product/services to senior company representatives.

  • Identifying individuals from benchmarked firms is easy.

  • Finding people with the right skills is easy. Every conference has clearly labeled sessions and "tracks," you merely need to attend the sessions which involve the skills and the job type that you`ve been looking for. Invariably, there will be someone with the right skills in the room.

  • There are great opportunities to assess their skills. One gets several opportunities to identify people through their actions- one can assess the knowledge and communication skills of presenters just by observation. One can also look for individuals who ask great questions and highlight their experiences, during, or after the individual learning sessions.

  • It is inexpensive.
The world of business is changing rapidly & recruiting the best talent to keep pace is essential. In the recruiting war, the most aggressive and bold hiring strategies would be successful. Companies need to constantly seek out such new approaches to ensure that it hires only the best.