The recruitment process has certainly changed over the years. With unemployment low and available jobs high employers are using more and more tactics in order to reach qualified candidates. Recruitment firms, job boards, digital ad campaigns and…now…hiring parties. Yes, they are a thing.
For example, in April Taco Bell held 600 hiring parties across the country. And, it really was a party offering free food (naturally), trivia contests and photo props to “commemorate the experience”. Their goal is to hire 100,000 new employees by 2022. As a result, Taco Bell reported a 41% increase in applicants compared with the previous year.
They are not alone. Other companies in the service sector have done the same. Dutch Brothers coffee, Lush (a beauty retailer) and Main Event Entertainment have done the same. Their goal is two-fold. Attract candidates – especially those who have recently been downsized due to retail closings – and sell their brand as a fun place to work. Plus, it provides applicants an upfront look at the workplace environment – like at the John Ball Zoo.
This is only the tip of the iceberg for these types of industries as they are prone to high turnover rates. They are adding other benefits to the mix, tapping into different talent pools – like retirees – and generally trying to make the work experience more enticing.
So far, this strategy seems to be focused on the food and retail industry. Though Big Duck, a New York City communications firm, does conduct informal open houses where candidates can come in and meet the staff in a more informal setting.
In effect, the concept of a hiring party is a new spin on well-worn practices. Companies have been conducting open houses and on-site job fairs for years. However, perhaps this new approach can take the stuffiness – and anxiety – out of these events. They may also have the added benefit of allowing employers to see applicants in a more relaxed, natural setting. After all, nothing is more unnatural and anxiety producing than a job interview.
If a company or brand is willing to throw a party in order to get your attention, they are conveying a subtle emotional message of “We are fun”…and everyone would like to have more fun at work.
What creative, new or fun ideas have you encountered in the recruiting process? We’d love to hear your thoughts!