At the end of 2019, my bespoke exhibition stand company, Plus Exhibition, carried out a survey to determine which aspects of exhibition stands event attendees find most off-putting. While the responses varied, many participants (46.3 percent) pointed to overeager, pushy sales teams as the most unlikable thing about event booths.
Exhibitions, trade shows, and similar events are not only ideal opportunities for businesses to market their brands, but also great places to recruit new talent for a growing company. Marketing and aesthetics are essential at these types of events, but this survey is a useful reminder that your employees are just as much a make-or-break factor. Putting together a team of charismatic and knowledgeable employees to staff your exhibition stand may well be the difference between scouting an exciting up-and-comer and watching as competitors capture all the best candidates.
So, what makes for an ideal exhibition stand team? Here are a few things to keep in mind as you assemble a delegation for your next event:
Employees Represent Your Brand
Establishing and communicating your unique brand is key to business success — especially at an exhibition, trade show, or job fair. While on-brand content and marketing efforts will help get your message across, it’s important to remember every employee contributes to how a business is perceived as a brand.
In the context of an event, the interactions potential candidates and customers have with your employees will significantly influence their impressions of your company. With this in mind, it’s essential to pick your team wisely. For trade shows, businesses will naturally look toward their sales teams, but if your goal is recruitment, it’s a good idea to send a team of individuals who represent a variety of different departments (such as marketing, sales, HR, management, etc.).
An Enjoyable and Professional Experience
Recruiting at events can be a lot more competitive than finding new talent via conventional channels. Therefore, it’s crucial to attract as much attention as possible. An innovative and interesting exhibition stand can help, but it’s only half the battle. Once you’ve reeled a candidate in, your recruitment team needs to hold their attention long enough to deliver your company’s pitch.
Your team should aim to give every visitor to your exhibition stand an enjoyable and engaging experience while maintaining a solid sense of professionalism. A friendly demeanor is essential for connecting with your target audience, but remember to keep interactions appropriate. The atmosphere of your exhibition stand is essentially a sneak preview of your workplace environment. Make sure your team’s behavior accurately reflects the company culture so candidates can get an idea of whether this is somewhere they would be happy to work.
For more expert recruiting insights, check out the latest issue of Recruiter.com Magazine:
Provide a Quick but In-Depth Overview of Your Business
You’ll only have a limited amount of time to converse with potential candidates as they roam from exhibition stand to exhibition stand, so you need to be efficient with your communication. You don’t have time for a few minutes of pleasant chitchat — you need to give every candidate a good reason to take an interest in your company right away.
Your choice of team members will prove especially critical here. You’ll need people who can both immediately engage candidates and clearly inform them of the key selling points of your brand. A lot of the wooing can be done with follow-up contact in the weeks after the event, but the initial encounter needs to be motivating enough to get the candidate interested in that follow-up.
Your sales team members can be a great choice for this purpose, as they will be used to effectively pitching your products and services to customers. You could also assemble a team of managers from each department, as that will ensure you have all the bases covered no matter what job a candidate asks about.
Plan Ahead and Prep Your Team
In addition to the logistical planning — marketing strategy, exhibition stand, social media activity, etc. — that precedes an event, you should take time to thoroughly prep your team on their goals and strategies for the event.
Given that our survey found nearly half of respondents dislike overeager or pushy staff members at an exhibition, you need to consider the approach your team will take to get candidates engaged. There’s a thin line between showing interest in a prospect and coming across as a company desperately in need of employees. The latter can prove to be especially troublesome, as candidates will assume your company suffers from high turnover and is not a good long-term choice for them.
Looking to recruiting new talent at an upcoming event? Now’s the time to start planning. Successful event recruiting depends on investing time and effort up front. Rally a team of capable and confident employees and arm them with the right strategy. You may very well leave your next event with a new employee who can take your brand to a new level.
Tom Bristow is the managing director of Plus Exhibition.