How to hold a job fair? A bulletproof recruitment event planning timeline

- Eventory Blog


How to hold a job fair? A bulletproof recruitment event planning timeline



A recruitment process is often a time-consuming experience. To increase the chances of hiring more eager candidates who want to work for your company – organize a recruitment event. Stay with me, read the article and find out what event planning timeline looks like, how to hold a job fair and attract new talents for your business!

Everyone at some point finds himself in the middle of a recruitment process. Regardless of whether you’re a candidate browsing through many job applications or an employer looking for the perfect fit to your team – the procedures can be exhausting and time-consuming. A traditional way to obtain new employers is a heavy quest for many HR managers. However, it doesn’t have to be.

It’s already known fact that events can be named a top talent recruitment method. It can significantly increase the chance of obtaining a dream candidate. When you decide you want to use this way in your recruitment process, the question arises: how to hold a job fair anyway? There’s much to choose from. Open house recruitment event, competitions, networking parties and much more. The choice is yours and should be corresponding with your aims.

When the decision is made and you know which type of recruitment event is your type you need to make it work. A recruitment event planning timeline is a way to keep everything buttoned up. Following its steps can be your road to success.

But enough of an overall story, it’s time for this article’s essence. Let’s start with the most popular recruitment event types to ease your dilemmas.

How to hold a job fair – types of events that will help you attract talents!

One of the things that made me fall in love with the event industry is its diversity. An immensity of options you have, right from the start when you decide to use an event as your marketing tool. A variety of different event types is very well visible in case of organizing recruitment events. Let’s see what options we have!

How to host: Open house recruitment event

The first, most obvious and, let’s say, traditional option is throwing an open house hiring event. It’s as simple as it sounds. For a couple of hours, days you transform your office into the recruitment event battlefield. Why is it beneficial for you? Think of it as an open invitation for talents out there to join you in the company. Sounds ice-breaking enough for me, right?

How to?

There are multiple ways you can do the open house event. To be honest, the only limitation is your creativity, and maybe the fact that it can shut the work of your team down a little bit. The first thing you could do is a walk in. Advertise the event and wait for candidates at your doors to show them around your company. Let them meet their colleagues-to-be in their natural work habitat to better know your corporate culture and its people.

Also, you could decide on more event-like open house hiring event. Transform your headquarters into event space. Take care of proper attractions, such as mini competitions which could check if potential candidates have suitable skills. Make sure that there’s plenty of goodie food and freebies that candidates will take home to think about your company constantly. Also, provide a space to talk. Make it an informal first part of a recruitment process – a friendly face to face talk


While organizing an open house hiring event make sure that it won’t be another boring office tour. Not giving anything extra from your company won’t show its spirit and definitely won’t attract talents.

When to use it:

This type of recruitment event will be best if you want to confront potential candidates with their potential workplace and colleagues. Also when you want to be perceived as an open employer.

Potential hires will be feeling welcomed in your company from the very beginning. They can see how the work and your office atmosphere looks like. They (and you as well) can determine whether they fit your culture. Also, you can get to know each other better.

How to host: on-campus recruitment event

If you’re not sure that the ideal candidates will answer your call to visit your company, don’t wait. Just go and find them yourself. If your one of those employers who aim at young ambitious diamonds to educate them and give them experience, you can decide on on-campus recruitment event.

How to?

Show up at the campus and express your company’s will and approach to students. Events are the best method to boost your Employer Branding so make a full use of it. Young future employees care about the authenticity and showing up at their campus office with freebies and hiring proposition.

I’m sure you know the Ford company. The name rings a bell, right? They decided to look for their top talent recruitment treasures using this type of an event. One day they set up a car show and started to magnet top talents to their company. The event included meetings with Ford Team members, lectures of senior-level individuals and more.


In the effort of presenting your company as an open to young generations don’t forget to stick to your own values. Don’t try to be cool and focus on presenting your company as it is. This way you’ll attract the right people

When to use it:

When you want to show your company as an open and outgoing one. Also, when you don’t care about big experience and aim at young hires. This way, you get the access to top fresh talents of the industry first-hand. Potential candidates can learn about working with you, attract with your approach and see what your company has to offer without even making the effort of going outside the campus.

How to host: Networking recruitment party

Another option is to organize a networking party where you can meet your potential candidates. There are a lot of ways to transform it into an ultimate talent magnet, with the main perk being direct interaction with potential employers.

How to?

Networking party can have both informal and more formal form. Both ways have their pros and cons but the main idea is the same – to network. Organize it in a way that will let you check the skills candidates have and at the same time talk to them and know them better. To do so you can combine speed interview sessions with mini contests connected to the potential field of work.

Before deciding on a form of networking party it’s good to determine who’s your target. You want to hire programming ninjas or rather masters of marketing. Find out what they like, what will be an added value to join your event (like the interesting venue or side attractions). After all, you don’t want to waste time on inappropriate candidates, do you? Speaking of time…


There are a couple of things you should remember to avoid creating a disaster instead of effective networking. Don’t force attendees to network, they’ll do it if interested. Then, don’t go too big with attractions – that’s not the purpose of an event. Don’t hurry the networking sessions, set time in which you’ll really have a chance to talk to candidates.

When to use it:

First and the most important benefit from networking top talent recruitment parties is the ability to talk face to face with a potential employee, so if that’s what you want – go for it. This way it’s easier to determine if he or she is a perfect fit for your company and whether they will fit the rest of the team. Then, potential candidates can meet with other team members and the magic of exchanging experiences can work for you.

Networking recruitment events will also help you increase the efficiency of the process. You can meet about 6 candidates per hour, giving each approximately 10 minutes. It’s enough time to break the ice and invite the eight candidates to interview later. Time is saved and as an effect, you interview just top candidates.

How to host: Competitions (without a true competition)

What is the best way to select top talents among the sea of well qualified but not the best candidates? Let them show off their skills in real-time challenges. Organizing friendly contests can be an idea for a separate big event or be implemented as an additional attraction during other events. Long story short, its purpose is to test potential employees in terms of owned skills both technical and soft ones.

How to?

A great example of incorporating elements of competition into the top talent recruitment process is Spotify. While looking for new skilled programmers the company decided to organize a hackathon where attendees could show what they really have to offer, skill-wise. In addition, they noticed as the events have been held that they attract mostly men. They decided to pull another string and added the purpose of promoting diversity in the industry to event goals. They organized a DiversiFIGHT hackathon, where half of the participants were to be women. Therefore, not only did they manage to gather talents in one place but also supported values and gained some PR points.

Source: Spotify

An interesting thing, DiversiFIGHT event was not about winning or losing. It was just about being together and working toward a solution. Seriously, a top example on how to advertise your company to potential employees.


Don’t make your event too serious. Sure the aim is to select talents, but don’t make the competition vibe to strong. After all, it’ll reflect on your brand’s image, keep the atmosphere clear.

When to use it:

When you look for really skilled, truly gifted hires. Competitions make a top talent recruitment process fun. It’s no longer just a stiff conversation between HR representative and candidate. It’s actually checking on prospects skills and ability to work under stress. You can see how they behave, what drives them. And, once again, it’s fun because the atmosphere is doing you a favor!  

Experiential events – the thing that will make your top talent recruitment process work even better

We live in times where a good salary and social benefits are not enough to attract new top hires. More often it’s the soft aspects that decide whether a candidate wants to work for you or not. Therefore, it’s vital to use methods that will let you express the spirit of the company and improve Employer Brand image. Events itself help a lot but using experiential methods even enhance the impact (experiential events are marvelous especially while dealing with Millennials).

Regardless of the recruitment event type, make sure that it provides a real and unique experience to your candidates. Take care of unconventional skill tests, friendly talk and real recommendations from your team members. Offer something that’ll be remembered and will make talents want to stay and work with you.

As I said before, you have many options when it comes to recruitment events. They will create an opportunity to gather top talents in one place, so you can pick the right ones for you. What a chance, right? I know, but to make it a full success you also need to remember that planning is the key! Let’s move to the issue of an event planning timeline!

Successful recruitment event planning timeline

Organizing an event is, in general, a very demanding task. The process starts at the minute you think “Hey! Maybe I should organize an event?” Then, you start to determine what is its purpose, are there any other methods that could help you with achieving it. You start to gather information about the costs of individual aspects of an event, you find out whether you have a proper budget or you need to look for sponsors. Then you move to determining who’s going to be your attendee. Next, you analyze the target group to find the best event formula and the planning process begins.

Recruitment events have a clear purpose – to get you as many potential hires as possible, to bolster your Employer Branding actions, to make top talent recruitment process more efficient and so on. It can work wonders when it comes to achieving the aims but, like every other event, to be fully successful it needs to be carefully planned. That’s why what you need is a universal event planning timeline.

Let’s assume you plan have at least 6 months to deal with your event, this is how your timeline would go:

6+ months out

#1 Set your goals

From the very beginning, you and your team need to know what you’re aiming for with the event. It will boost morale and will ensure that an organization is aimed in the right direction.

Write down what you want to achieve. Determine the goals with the S.M.A.R.T rule to make the aims simple, measurable, assignable, realistic and timebound. Make sure your team know it and understand it in a coherent way.

Also, at this point, you should know who will be your target audience that will contribute to goal achievement.

#2 Create your event budget

Another aspect that needs to be clear from the start. Determine how much money you can spend on your event. Then check if it is enough to throw a party which will give you the desired effects. Then, look for sponsors – they’ll help you financial-wise and will boost the prestige of your event as well.

Eventually, you should carry a thorough analysis where you determine on what event’s elements you will spend your funds. A good practice is to prepare different budget plans for possible scenarios, for example, an optimistic and pessimistic version to use when things don’t go as planned.

#3 Assign responsibilities and roles to your team

Organization process is a very complex one. Therefore, you need to carefully think it through to assign tasks to certain team members and the whole groups. Divide the responsibility for the main event aspects. Then, inside the teams make attach individuals to special sub-tasks.

The process will go efficiently and smoothly only when everyone will know their roles. You need to communicate it clearly and make sure that everyone understands what’s their job. Sometimes it’s best to repeat the message than repair the mess made when someone didn’t get the info.

Also, prepare a proper deadline schedule. This way, not only everyone will know their responsibilities but also will know when is their due. It will increase the chance of success and will ensure that organizational phases will be done on time.

While assigning the duties to your team members, you can also think about incorporating dedicated event management tools. Platforms, such as Eventory, will help you and your team have everything under control. The progress is clear for all who have access to organizer’s panel and the updates (like agenda, speakers bio, venue map and so on) can be done immediately. Moreover, later on, the platform will sum up for you the whole event and its efficiency.

#4 Select major vendors and decide on core event aspects

At this point, decide what is the profile of your event. In comparison to your decision run (preferably, data-driven) venue search. Make sure that it fits your potential audience preferences and that will fit the predicted number of participants. The best venues tend to be booked in a big advance so better don’t wait with this.

Now, another aspect you need to cover long before day zero are major attractions. Start to invite speakers, begin the application process for exhibitors and so on. After all, not every answer will be positive so you have to save some time for last minute changes in your plan.

The same goes for suppliers. Create a list of things that will need to be done by outside companies. Then specify your needs, choose companies and start negotiations. The sooner you do it the better as you will avoid unexpected twists.

#5 Begin the promotion of an event

While taking care of the core event’s element, you can start to spread the word about it to the people. Promotion and marketing will play a huge part in event success, so there’s no point in waiting “for the right” moment.

Using the target analysis, choose the right channels, a tone of the communication and its frequency. You have to make it as appealing as possible. Try to build up the hype and make an event something attendees will wait for!

Three Months Out

#1 Take care of the venue and catering

Your event planning timeline is coming closer to day zero so it’s time to have a closer look at what you will provide to your attendees.

The first thing you need to button up is catering. Choose the right menu that’ll fit the event profile (after all you don’t want to have a three-course dinner at the networking party, right?). Look for the recommendation and book your supplier.

Then, take care of the venue appearance. Book decorators that will help you change the space into an unforgettable photo friendly place. Also, you may want to give your attendees more fun like VR attractions and so on, prepare that in three months advance as well.

#2 Get your speakers’ bio

Three months before the event is a perfect time to start providing crucial and substantive info to your attendees. If your recruitment event will contain lectures – ask speakers to give you an info about the speech and themselves.

#3 Create the agenda

Next, schedule the event up. Gather all the attractions together and create a timeline. Remember that its main points shouldn’t collide. Don’t plan a VR experience while at another room networking session is about to begin. Also, save some time in between the agenda point. Delays can happen whether we like it or not, so have that in mind.

When you have your event’s timeline ready, promote it to attract crowds to your event.

#3 Order necessary supplies

Make a list of things you’ll need during the event. Think of badge holders, promo material, swag bags, agendas, snack and so on. There’s a lot to take care of and a lot that can go wrong. Therefore, make it ahead of time to be able to make some adjustments if something won’t be done as it supposed to be.

Month Out

#1 Confirm everything

For a fair time, you were looking for the best suppliers and was ordering services and stuff for your event. Now, it’s a high time to confirm everything. Just check if you have it covered and things will be done correctly and on time. This one month gives you an opportunity to take care of potential fails.

#2 Create a day zero timeline

Your event is getting closer and you need to know what to do during the event. Prepare a list of things that need to be checked when the day zero comes. It will save you a great deal of stress and will ensure the success of an event.

Also, prepare the backup plans, just in case something goes wrong. Once more assign responsibilities or remind the role of the whole team.

When the day of an event is eventually there, don’t forget to keep an eye on everything. Be prepared for unexpected but what’s most important for you is to make a full use of it!

Have an event planning timeline checklist with you!

Sometimes while planning an event you can find yourself overwhelmed by the number of things to control. There are probably times when you regret not doing recruitment in a traditional way, but in the end, you can be sure that the effort was worth it. I am here to help. To make sure your top talent recruitment events are going to be a hit you can use an ultimate event checklist.

Things that such list should contain can vary, depending on the type of event you organize and many other factors. There are, however, aspects that would repeatedly appear on the event planning timeline checklist.

Goals, KPIs and target determined

The first thing to be checked out is determining the event purpose. Then, having goals, choose the right KPIs to measure the effects. In terms of the recruitment process, it can be the number of applications or interviews done. You can measure it traditionally, or use mobile event tools, like Eventory, where you can, for example, count the number of scanned QR codes that lead to the application site.

Also, make sure you have all the vital information about the perfect audience you want to have. If you crossed that one out you can move to the next point.

Plan the event aspects

At this point you put aspects like:

  • A form of an event
  • Attractions at the event
  • Dates
  • Venue
  • Other

The mechanism is easy, write down all the areas of event that need to be covered. Then, while you covering those points, cross it out!

Promotion plan

Another thing to take care of is the promotion. Here, you ask yourself what marketing actions are already done and what’s left. An exemplary list could look like this:

  • What are my promotional channels?
  • What is the tone of communication?
  • Do I have a proper design?
  • What is the schedule of promotion?

Last minute check

When the organizational process is in progress and the event is nearby, you want to double check everything. You need to re-check previously determined point to make sure you have it all buttoned up for day zero. The list of things to control could contain:

  • Venue (bookings, decorations, attractions)
  • Supplies (swag bags, brochures, internal network and so on)
  • Catering confirmed
  • Agenda confirmed
  • The ways I will monitor the recruitment process progress

I’m positive that you’ll find more to add. It all depends on what you want to have under control.

Creating an event planning timeline can be a hard nut to crack sometimes. To make the process even easier you can reach for the help of technological tools. Instead of writing it down, you can use internet platforms which will, in one picture, show you how the process will look like. Also, when organizing recruitment events you can implement mobile platforms, which like Eventory, will provide tools to organize individual elements of an event. Invitations, meetings, agenda, participants all in one place.

Wrap Up

The recruitment process in its traditional way is no longer efficient enough to select top talents for your company. However, this process can be much easier with the help of events.

There are many types of recruitment events. From job fair to open-house recruitment days, to networking parties and competitions. All of them gives employment opportunities to dive into the crowd full of talents and choose the perfect fits for their company. The process is quicker and the event gathers candidates who really want to work for the certain company.

Launching a recruitment event is a complex task. To make it a success, organizers should create an event planning timelines which would guide them throughout the process. The timelines cover aspects like the determination of event goals, target audience analysis, the choice of suppliers and attractions and so on.

Creating a timeline for your event planning process can ensure that all the actions will fit the purpose of an event and eventually, it will turn out to be a great success.

Manage your events to manage your brand image

What are your experiences with holding a job fair?