6 Lessons Learned From Our First Live Hiring Event

6 Lessons Learned From Our First Live Hiring Event

Moving barriers in the hiring world in an industry such as recruitment and outsourcing is hard.

Many may not perceive outsourcing or recruitment as a ‘sexy’ topic, but still, it is one of the most important subjects in running any business, being it online or offline.

At Jobrack we are always looking for new (and fun) ways to provide value to both our job seekers and of course our customer. 

This time we came up with one that was super fun and straightforward – a live hiring event.

We have received great reviews so far from all the participating parties but organizing the virtual event wasn’t as straightforward and ‘simple’ as we thought it would be.

With this post, I’d like to go over our ‘Lessons learned’.

Interested? Keep reading!

The background

It all started at a conference called DCBKK in Bangkok where my friend Esther Jacobs got inspired by a talk presented by Noah Kagan from Sumo.com & okDork.

Together we came up with the idea of also adding a live hiring event (‘speed date’).

We would together organize it in cooperation with JobRack as part of her event in Amsterdam for entrepreneurs called Boost your business in a day”.

As one of the methods for boosting a business was to hire a VA, it occurred to us that joining forces we could give the attendees massive value by getting a taste and real experience by live hiring a few of our awesome Virtual Assistants.

One thing lead to another and – voila!

The idea got realized this week.

What is exactly a live hiring event, you might ask?

As part of Esther’s event we organized a live hiring round with JobRack job seekers.

The goal of the event was to connect entrepreneurs with a small group of preselected job seekers using group calls.

These calls would be organized in so called “rounds”.

One round meant one job seeker would have 2 x 15-minute calls with a group of 6 entrepreneurs looking to outsource parts of their business respectively.

This way the job seeker would get to chance to be hired by any of the 12 entrepreneurs they would be introduced to.

The goal for the entrepreneurs was simple – directly outsource a few small simple tasks and get a sweet taste of what Jobrack has to offer in terms of talent.

How we organized our first live hiring event

The first step was to invite job seekers and test drive the idea. We wanted to ensure that the job seekers were interested in this live hiring event.

For the invitation, we chose a personal approach and send out an event invitation for them.

 

When we sent out the email campaign to our database, we figured if we could get about 30 people on board, so we should be able to to get this organized nicely.

To our surprise, it was not only 30 people that filled out the form to register.

The final number on the Google Form showed nearly 70 people!

We expected quite a bit fewer registrations of job seekers for the event but it was awesome to see that so many people wanted to attend!

Because we had only a few spots we, unfortunately, it meant we would have to turn down quite a few people.
So, what we did was show Esther all the profiles and let her make the selection of the profiles that she thought would fit her event best.

Job seeker tip: Make sure to always keep your job seeker profiles spot-on and up-to-date!

Since it was a live event, and our first, coordinating everything and getting everyone to be online at the right time for the calls didn’t go without issues…

So without further ado:

Here are the 6 lessons we learned

1. Don’t use Skype.

The most convenient way to organize a group call (and the easiest to implement!) was, of course, the good old Skype.

Skype is widely used, so everybody would feel comfortable using it and we could rely on everybody to know the basic features to ensure a smooth call.

One thing that was important for us was to control the narrative and, of course, keep details of our job seekers confidential from the employers.

So, we provided the selected job seekers with Skype accounts we created about a week prior to the event.

Our success manager created the job seeker Skype accounts for all selected job seekers. This meant all accounts were created from one IP address.

This created issues because Microsoft (Skype) required the users to do some extra ‘security’ steps due to the discrepancy of IP’s (from where the accounts were created and from where job seekers were now logging in).

Few job seekers had trouble figuring out how to solve this.

Although we did provide the Skype login credentials and asked them to log in almost a week in advance we didn’t quite hammer down on it until one day before the event (which also was a Sunday). This was obviously too late.

Lesson learned: Plan communication better, provide clearer instructions and don’t use Skype. It is better to use a more controlled environment like Zoom or something similar.

2. The quality of the of the call must come first.

Luckily for us, the majority of the job seekers were clever and figured out that by logging in through a browser the security steps Skype requested would be avoided.

The thing about the Skype browser plugin is that the quality is just not as good compared to using the desktop software.

This (in combination with the next point) caused the quality of some of the video calls to be so bad a conversation could not take place.

Lesson learned: Don’t use Skype and see point 1 & 3!

3. Quality of the internet connection must come first (together with point 2)

In the second point, I mentioned the quality of the connection, but our troubles didn’t stop there.

Esther organized the event in a coworking space in Utrecht and was assured that the internet would be strong enough.

Alas, the internet connection crumbled.

So, in all the hectic of the event (getting people organized in groups to get on the calls), the event organizers also had to install an extra switch to solve the connection issues. some creative people resorted to using their own mobile WiFi hotspots.

Luckily (again!) some creative people resorted to using their own mobile WiFi hotspots.

Lesson learned: Never assume the internet connection is going to be strong enough, testing is the only way to be sure.

4. Eliminate background noise.

This lesson is one I got from the feedback from job seekers and something I had completely forgotten about.

Any event is in a bigger room always comes with plenty of noise.

The job seekers said the background noise was so loud it was hard for them to understand everything that was said.

Solution – headsets, right?

It was multiple employers in a call with one job seeker, so using headsets was going to be an issue, too, worse luck.

Esther told me she actually did think about this, but the coworking space failed to deliver the promised amount of power outlets and tables.

Moreover, due to the internet problems, they could only connect with cables, resulting in entrepreneurs sitting very close to each other to join the call (yikes!).

Lesson learned: Think about the background noise when doing live calls. A possible solution here would be to put the group in separate closed off rooms with separate connections. Another solution to consider would be to make sure the job seekers use good quality headsets, ones that could filter out the background noises.

5. Designated call time-slots for each job seeker.

The way we planned it was to have all calls simultaneously in 30 minutes time.

In retrospect, it would have been better if we organized it in such a way that one or two groups of employers went into a closed-off room to have their calls and then rotate.

The rest of the event attendees could’ve gotten other assignments while waiting for their turn (for example, to implement a few aspects they had just learned during the event).

This approach would have solved multiple problems:

  • background noise,
  • internet bandwidth,
  • confusion on the job seeker side on when they would be called exactly
  • and just streamlining everything better.

Lesson learned: Create a time-slot planning per job seeker and employer group.

6. Learn from the feedback provided

We got great feedback from the job seekers. Most of them said they’d love to do such an event again!

We were thrilled to hear it, especially after all the hiccups. This gives us more motivation to organize similar events in the future.

Lesson learned: We should do this more often 🙂

The final verdict – overall great experience!

This first live hiring event admittedly was a bit messy and we could have done many things better.

But rest assured – we learned a lot for the future!

As one of the lessons says we need to learn more from feedback, I would love to hear more from the participants (or interested parties) about their thoughts.

For employers: Would you like to attend such a (virtual) live event to quickly get on multiple calls with preselected job seekers that match the job opening(s) you have?

For job seekers: If you attended the event please let us know your feedback in the comments or in private via support?

If you didn’t attend would you be interested? What would it take for you to attend such an event?

Lastly, a big thank you to all participants for all your patience and understanding.

We’ll meet again!


This post was written by Steven Van Der Peijl (@stevenvdpeijl), CTO of Jobrack and a long term Digital Nomad.