Events are fertile ground for recruitment.
There are plenty of events to attend in the startup world. When considering attending events put on by other companies, you should think about the following things:
- Audience– Is this a target group you want to recruit from? How many people will be there? (When you look at a large number of attendees, bank on 50% of that number actually attending.)
- Return on investment – How much do sponsorship opportunities cost, and what’s included in the package? Get creative: sponsoring a lunch at an event may have more impact than just adding your logo to glossy flyers.
- Speakers– Are the speakers the kind of people you want to recruit and is the content relevant to what you’re doing? (Better yet, can sponsorship guarantee a speaking slot?)
- Past experience– Is this an event that has been successful for recruiting in the past? Do other portfolio companies rate it?
- Resources– Do we have sufficient employee resources/time to have a meaningful presence at the event?
Remember that you aren’t limited to attending other people’s events. You can consider hosting social events yourself: think tech talks, open houses, happy hours and hackathons. If the event is for technologists, focus on the technology, the challenges, and things that will matter to them. If it seems too daunting, remember that you don’t have to go it alone. Think about partnering with other portfolio companies.
Hosting an event is the perfect excuse to reach out to people you want to meet, so do go ahead and invite your dream team. (Remember, no one likes to feel preyed upon so don’t make the event explicitly about recruiting.)
Events/communities to explore:
General startup stuff
Silicon Milkroundabout – a semi-annual jobs fair
Silicon Drinkabout – a weekly happy hour