Hiring Great People for Your Event Management Business

6 min read
Event Management Business Series – V
Finding great staff is a challenge for any sized organisation, but especially for smaller businesses with smaller budgets and no support from an HR department. Here we explore how to find, recruit and retain the right person to help success for your event management business.

Index

How to find, recruit and retain the right person to help your event business succeed. Click To Tweet

1. People are People

As the saying goes, different strokes for different folks. It’d be a pretty dull existence if we weren’t all such complex, diverse individuals, but this doesn’t make it easy to find the right staff!

What does help is having a clear, strategic process for all aspects of recruitment:

Finding
Interviewing
Hiring
Training
Retaining

Having a good process will help you find the right match between your business, the role itself and the candidate:

Find the right match between your business, the candidate and the role. Click To Tweet

2. Define the Role

Before you start advertising, list out what you need help with. Here’s an example you might use as a guide.

Beth has been running her Event Management Consultancy solo for 6 months. Now that the business is up and running, she needs to free up more of her own time with a part-time Admin Assistant to manage day-to-day operational tasks. Beth’s list of wants:

  • Answer the phone
  • Liaise with suppliers (venues, AV technicians, entertainment bureau)
  • Schedule client meetings
  • Prepare invoices
  • Pay accounts
  • Create/schedule social media posts

Beth needs somebody with proven work experience as they will need to work independently without constant instructions. She can offer slightly above Award Hourly Rate for the right candidate, and is open to flexible working arrangements.

Ensure the job role is clearly defined before taking it to market. Click To Tweet

3. The Candidate’s Needs

Job seekers fall into two main camps: career development or work-life balance.

Beth’s Admin Assistant role is more likely to appeal to somebody wanting work-life balance in a part-time role. The flexible hours and possibility to work from home would appeal strongly to somebody returning to the workforce such as a parent. The better aligned the benefits to the candidate, the more likely you’ll find the right person to take on and stay with the role longer term.

Previous events industry experience is probably less important than the candidate proving they can carry out the processes specific to the role.

Career development or work-life balance - which category is your job seeker in? Click To Tweet

4. Finding Candidates

Having defined the role, it’s time to find suitable candidates by getting the word out there. There are a few ways to do this:

  1. Word of mouth – let friends and colleagues know you’re looking to hire
  2. Social media – post on Linked In or even your personal Facebook page
  3. Paid advertising eg Seek or Jora (Seek offers some handy tips for putting the job ad together. )
  4. People search for role title and location, in Beth’s case, ‘Admin Assistant Sydney’. Be sure to use these key search words in the ad.
  5. Keep the ad as simple as possible, describing the role requirements and benefits Use plenty of ‘white space’ and headings in ‘bold’ to make it easy to read
  6. Describe the nature and culture of your business, who they’ll report to and other people with whom they’ll have direct contact

Don't forget social media and word of mouth when looking for potential job candidates. Click To Tweet

5. Interviewing Candidates

Quality questions lead to quality answers, helping you assess the candidate’s skills, experience and personality. Expert recruiters suggest a minimum of two interviews:

  1. Ask questions
  2. Practical ‘on the job trial’

It also helps if you can grab a trusted friend or colleague to sit in on the first interviews, as a second opinion is valuable. You can offer to do the same in return when they are hiring new staff.

Interview Questions

Seek.com.au recommends including these core questions:

  • What appealed to you about our business? This tells you how interested they are, and if they’ve done any prior research into your business.
  • Describe your most significant accomplishment in a previous role? There should be a description of the issue at hand, and the steps they took to resolve it.
  • Why do you want to leave your current employer? Uncover why they want the job, and any potential ‘issues’
  • Tell me about the best and worst working relationships you’ve had in the past? It gives clues about their working style, personality and whether they’ll be a good fit for your business’ culture.

Don’t forget to follow up on reference checks before you hire!

A second opinion is valuable when interviewing candidates for a new role - bring a colleague to the interview room. Click To Tweet

6. Make an Offer

Once the references are checked, and you’re confident it’s the right person for the job, it’s time to make a formal written offer in writing. Include detail about pay, hours, flexible arrangements and expectations of the role.

Congratulations on your new staff hire!

How to make a formal written job offer in writing. Click To Tweet

7. Keeping Great Staff

Finding great people to work in your business is only half the challenge. It’s also super important to hang on to them!

  • Provide clear training and induction to ensure they feel welcome and confident right from the start.
  • Recognise achievements and hard work. A simple, handwritten note (with or without a small gift) can go a long way to making people feel appreciated.
  • Schedule a catch-up after one week, then one month, at the minimum, to gather feedback about how the new staff is performing and feeling. Are there suggestions for improvement? It’s important to listen and ensure staff feel they can contribute.
  • Celebrate birthdays and acknowledge cultural events
  • Keep the lines of communication open

At the end of the day, the greatest chance of retaining your fabulous employees comes down mutual respect, common courtesy and kindness.

Finding great people to work in your business is only half the challenge - you need to hang on to them. Click To Tweet

8. Great People Help Your Business Grow

Following a clear, consistent process is the best way to find and keep great staff you can rely on. With the right person on board, you can spend your valuable time producing incredible events for your current clients and nurturing new ones for the future – the key ingredient for business growth.


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About the Author

Alison Clarke

Alison is the founder and director of Enhance. It turns out she has a flair for connecting talent with clients. A classical pianist graduating from the prestigious Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Alison spent a decade performing on the international stage, was twice awarded scholarships to the Chamber Music Residency Program in Canada, and was invited to International Musician’s Seminar Prussia Cove. She now manages talent and events worldwide.

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