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5 tips for recruiting at conferences

By ZoomInsights staff

Trade shows and professional conferences are more than great ways to promote products. They’re also good places to find excellent candidates for open positions. Why? The people who attend such events are usually top-notch staff members. And they’re people who care about keeping their proverbial saws sharp. Here are some tips on how to tap this great resource.

Get out of the booth!

If you spend an entire conference standing at your exhibit, you’re missing a great opportunity. Instead, attend sessions that your target candidate would, suggests HR consultant, new media strategist and author Jessica Miller-Merrell in the “SmartRecruiting” blog. For example, if you’re looking for a mobile app developer, attend sessions that the developers do. Introduce yourself to people sitting around you, ask a good question during the Q&A and tweet about the session.

Be subtle

Some professional conferences have rules against recruiting. But even at those that don’t, a subtle approach works best, according to Dr. John Sullivan, founder of HR consulting firm Dr. John Sullivan & Associates. In an article on his firm’s website, he points out conference attendees are technically on the job, so “identifying people and starting up a relationship with them is about all you can expect at a trade fair. In-depth selling and convincing is best done at night after the conference recesses or later through email or follow-up phone calls.”

Enlist booth staff

Your booth staff members are meeting potential customers who might also be potential employees. Make sure everyone in the booth knows what you’re looking for, so they can give you the contact information on anyone who seems particularly sharp. Some organizations keep a recruiter in the booth. When a salesperson senses that someone might be a good candidate, the recruiter is looped into the conversation.

Network in advance

Many large conferences have their own online networking systems in which attendees post messages before the event. Recruiters can use these systems to search for and send messages to fellow attendees. “This is a great sourcing tool and starting point to recruit candidates before, during and after the event,” Miller-Merrell writes.

Look them up afterward

When you get back to the office with your list of potential candidates, you’ll want to know more about each one. ZoomInfo Pro gives you access to complete profiles on more than 65 million business people at 6 million companies. You can quickly get educational background, employment history and even Web mentions from as far back as 2000. Learn more.


After a trade show, ZoomInfo Pro can provide deep details on any candidates you met. Find out how.


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