Are you scaling your team and want to make a big hiring push?
A great way to build buzz and get the word out is to host an Open House at your office. If your company doesn’t have room, consider hosting your Open House at a meeting space or restaurant nearby.
Why Have an Open House?
The objective of a recruiting Open House is to create a high energy, low pressure environment where prospective employees can get to know your company. On your end, you can become familiar with a large pool of candidates for current and future job openings.
Several of OpenView’s portfolio companies have hosted Open Houses, and we’ve learned some important lessons along the way.
Tips for Hosting your Recruiting Open House
1) Choose the Date Wisely
A Wednesday or Thursday night is generally the best time for an Open House. Start at around 5:00 or 5:30pm, and extend until 8:30 or 9:00pm. Doing so accounts for those who are unable to arrive right on time. Make sure to keep in mind any occasions where more people may be unable to attend, such as August or the last week of a quarter.
2) Encourage your Whole Team to Attend
The more people who can serve as ambassadors for your company the better. However, if certain teams are hiring more than others, make sure that you encourage all of those employees to attend. This is particularly important if you are hiring for your engineering team. Engineers will be able to talk to candidates in more detail about the projects they are working on than someone in a different department.
3) Don’t Play Hunger Games
This one may seem obvious, but should not be overlooked — feed your guests well!
4) Create an Activity for Guests
Give your attendees something to do so that they can take a break from networking. Activities such as wine tastings or ping pong tournaments work well because they allow casual participation. Socrata, which is one of our portfolio companies based in Seattle, recently featured vintage Atari games at one of their Open Houses. Activities are a fun draw and create a more relaxed atmosphere by ensuring that networking is not the sole focus of the event.
5) Teach Candidates Something
At some point during your Open House, have your CEO speak briefly about your company and its mission. Also make sure to ask your CTO of Development to speak about specific projects that their team is working on. Each of these presentations should be no more than 5 minutes, but should teach your guests about your company and its mission. In turn, candidates will have a better understanding of what they would be working towards if they joined your team.
6) Marketing is Key
Create an EventBrite and a Facebook invitation for your Open House two to three weeks ahead of time. Early marketing will give potential candidates plenty of time to mark the event on their calendars and share the word with others. First share your event invitation with your employees, and then branch out by sharing it on your personal networking channels and websites. Consider posting about your Open House on local newspaper, business journal, and tech community networking sites. Many will post local events for free.
7) Get Your Guests’ Contact Info — and Follow Up!
Many of your guests will sign up for your Open House ahead of time, but not everyone. Ask guests to sign-in when they arrive and write a name tag for themselves. After your event, thank them for coming via email and direct them to your Careers page. Keep a running list of people who have attended. Every time you have an Open House, share the event with former attendees in order to encourage them to spread the word!
Have you hosted an Open House at your company? Share any ideas for what worked well — or what didn’t — below!