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It’s 11pm and I’m exhausted. My feet are shooting daggers of pain up my legs, my throat is raw, my voice barely above a hoarse whisper. I’ve spent all day standing, shaking hands, collecting paper resumes, and trying to scrawl quick notes on the margins. I want nothing more than to crawl into bed and sleep, but I can’t, because I have hundreds of resumes to sort through and screen. I have to do this tonight, because tomorrow I’ll need to email each promising candidate individually to schedule an interview for the day after tomorrow.
Hi. I’m Lauren and I’m a recovering (former) on-campus recruiter who now works on the Product team at Greenhouse. Anyone who has participated in on-campus recruiting knows that the situation I’ve described is just a typical day of attending a college event. Not only is it physically and emotionally draining, but there are numerous inefficiencies and opportunities for errors.
So why should recruiters participate in events and how can this experience be improved? I’d like to share some of my experiences and introduce you to the Greenhouse Recruiting events app.
Why invest in events in the first place?
Events are one of the most expensive investments a recruiting team will make. If you’re visiting several campuses a year—as I was during my time as a university recruiter—you can easily spend tens of thousands annually on sponsorship fees, travel and accommodation, swag, etc. But there’s a reason why we continued to make this investment: Participating helped us build our reputation and our talent pipeline. Even though my company wasn’t a household name, students knew who we were and they’d line up to come talk to us every time we came on campus. And we were able to create a pipeline of interns and prospects, which was especially important for those tough-to-fill technical roles.
What makes events so difficult?
My typical day as an on-campus recruiter involved collecting hundreds of paper resumes and trying to capture relevant information in hand-scrawled notes while simultaneously answering questions and trying to build relationships with students. There are a number of reasons why this approach is problematic for recruiters, the companies they represent, and the candidates they’re trying to engage with.
During on-campus events, recruiters are overwhelmed with logistical details, trying to set up their booth, making sure they have the right swag on display, and preparing company reps with talking points. The process of manually collecting and categorizing resumes is time-consuming—there would often be times when 20 or 30 students were standing in line waiting to have the chance to talk with someone at our table—and it’s so easy to misplace or mis-categorize a resume in this situation. If I didn’t have time to make notes, I’d have to rely on the resume and puzzle out the most important information like the prospect’s graduation date and the role they were interested in. Then I’d have to go back to the office and spend two to three full days scanning resumes and manually inputting the information they contained, often discovering in the process that we already had a resume for them on file.
With the amount of money that it costs to participate in on-campus events, companies want to be able to see a clear return on that investment. This can be difficult to prove when you don’t have a clear way of tracking which events students attended, which roles they applied for, or even how many applications you got from participating in the event. If resumes get lost or mis-categorized, you’re potentially losing out on great candidates. The manual approach to collecting and screening paper resumes also puts a lot of burden on the recruiter at the event to make important decisions and potentially leaves hiring managers and other stakeholders out of this critical part of the recruiting process.
From the candidates’ perspective, it can be extremely frustrating to stand in line for half an hour just to have a brief conversation with a recruiter who’s distractedly scribbling notes on your resume. It’s even worse if you see them shuffle your documents into a folder that’s clearly intended for the people who are being summarily rejected. And if you hand over your resume and never hear back from a company again, you’ll never know if it was because they thoroughly reviewed your application and decided you weren’t a good fit—or it just got lost along the way.
How the Greenhouse Recruiting events app can help
This is why I’m so excited about the Greenhouse Events App, which alleviates many of these pain points for recruiters, companies, and candidates. Here are a few of the features that will create a better event experience for everyone involved:
Event attendees can submit information from an iPad or via their own devices with mobile-optimized forms and event-specific URLs. You can print your URL on a poster so prospects can fill out the form from their phone while they’re standing in line waiting to speak with you. Plus, you’re able to collect resumes simply by snapping a photo that will be attached to a prospect’s profile as a fully searchable PDF. When you configure the app, you can also include custom questions like “When are you graduating?” or “What types of roles are you interested in?” so you can easily filter prospects within the app.
Leave feedback in real time
It’s also possible to tag candidates and leave feedback within the Events App. After the candidate enters their information and you have a conversation with them, you can leave notes on their profile indicating whether they’d be a good fit for your company or a particular role. This is a much more effective way of gathering data and collecting feedback than leaving incoherent scribbles on a paper resume!
Everyone who submits their information within the app gets an email response right away, and it’s easy to add prospects to nurture tracks. You can effortlessly email everyone who stopped by your career fair booth, for example, to invite them to your information session the next day.
Review and share with your team
As soon as prospects submit their information, they’re entered into Greenhouse, so your recruiters or hiring managers who are in the office can conduct application reviews immediately and flag the most promising people. This helps expedite the process, and we all know how important time to hire is in our world.
Track the ROI of events
Conversion reports show you how many prospects from a particular event converted into candidates, and how many of those candidates were eventually hired. You can use these metrics to determine which of your events provide the best ROI. Rinse and repeat, and let go of those events that aren’t serving your company.
I know the pain of recruiting at events firsthand—I’ve lived it (and still have the nightmares to prove it). The Greenhouse Events App automates the manual and tedious tasks of uploading résumés, giving you the ability to focus on building relationships and create a great experience for prospects.