Today, there seems to be more places than ever where a company and a potential candidate can cross paths. From more traditional professional networking websites, to various social media, alumni events, and more, the opportunities for connection are boundless. Tucked within all of these chances are a place where companies often overlook being present, or have employees present, but none specifically geared towards talent acquisition: Conferences and trade fairs.
Sending, for example, several of your key sales representatives to a large industry sales conference makes sense. But, sending those sales representatives alongside a member of your talent or employer branding team makes sense, too, and can make all the difference when a bright-eyed attendee looking for a career shift strikes up conversation with one of your employees.
To dig deeper into the motivation behind arranging this type of presence, discuss Taboola’s presence at DMEXCO 2019, and highlight some key tips and ideas, we spoke to Taboola’s Global Employer Branding and Communications Manager, Miri Bar-Nathan.
Understanding the Importance of Employer Branding Event Presence
Why is it so important for you as an employer to use conferences like DMEXCO for recruiting?
Events like DMEXCO are a great place for us to meet talented professionals from our industry who may be looking, actively or passively, for their next opportunity. They’re also a great place for us to showcase our company, both from a business and an employer branding perspective.
We’re constantly sending some of our top talent to these types of conferences, so it’s a great opportunity for potential candidates to meet them and learn about us through our own Taboolars. We on the employer branding side of things love to accompany our employees to these events.
Their energy attracts others who often approach and ask how they can also work for a company with such great culture and people, and we’re happy to be there to make it happen.
Has recruiting at conferences and events always been on your agenda, or has it grown in importance in recent years?
Taboola has been proactively investing in employer branding activations for the past three years. This has included attending industry events with a focus on recruiting.
Until recently, our focus was mostly on the software developer community, and mostly in Israel. There, we attend and speak at a lot of industry events, meetups, and career fairs.
This year, we’re expanding these activities and will be broadening our employer branding efforts at conferences and trade fairs globally, like OMR and DMEXCO in Germany.
When you’re present at a conference, what type of activations have you seen the most success with?
When we’re deciding on an activity for an event, it’s always important for us to identify the type of audience that will be there. If the audience is more tech-oriented, then we’ve learned that organizing a code riddle or a tech workshop will work well.
If the audience is more of a business/marketing crowd, then a networking event may be best. One activation that worked well for us was a mobile escape room that we brought to a developer event. The attendees had to crack a safe’s code in order to access a drone. Over 50% of the event attendees left their details at our booth, and we actually hired two senior developers from it.
We’ve really found that activities that tell our story in an interactive way are always the most successful in creating brand awareness and generating leads for the recruiting funnel.
Are there any activations that haven’t worked as well?
As a general rule of thumb, failing to identify your audience and not adapting the activity to their style is usually not going to end in success.
The same holds true with activities that feel overly formal, and don’t tell the employer brand story from a personal perspective. When engaged in the activity, your audience should feel that they can relate to your brand, and the best way to facilitate that is to showcase real employee stories and experiences.
How important is it to remain authentic in these activations?
Company culture can’t be faked. Your employees will likely be speaking to people at the event, so if the message you’re conveying about your culture and the message being conveyed by your employees clashes, it’s a red flag for potential candidates.
This is also true as potential candidates move further down the recruiting funnel and meet more people from your organization. They’ll get a good perspective on the true company culture from those conversations.
It’s important to focus on your company strengths, and to use these to showcase your story at conferences and events. You only get one chance at a first impression––be sure to make it count.
If you had to boil employer branding event presence down to three key takeaways, what would they be?
- Know Your Audience: When preparing for an event, research the type of audience attending, understand the roles that are suitable for them, and make sure the activities you plan will appeal to them and foster engagement.
- Spice it Up: Plan activities that are interactive, interesting, and different from the other activities at the event. It could be a riddle to solve, a post-event mixer, a fireside chat between two of your employees, a photo booth, or any other attention-grabbing and activity that will get people talking about you and, most importantly, talking to you.
- Involve Your Employees: This is the best way to showcase your authentic employer brand, and to tell your story in a genuine and personal way. Meeting and engaging with your employees will leave an impression on potential candidates, and will have a lasting impact on the perception of your employer brand.