Whether you run an event business or are simply planning a fundraiser, hiring the right event staff is crucial. If you hire the wrong person, you could potentially alienate customers and misrepresent your brand. And your team also needs to deliver highly visible results in a short time frame.
But how do you know whether you’re hiring the right person for the job?
Luckily, there are a range of tools and approaches available to significantly improve your hiring decisions. These 11 tips for how to hire event staff will help you build a team you can be proud of.
1. Identify Core Competencies
If you don’t know your organization’s core competencies or the technical and soft skills for each position you’re hiring for, you’ll be flying blind.
Resources like Personnel Decision International’s Successful Manager’s Handbook and Lomingers’ Leadership Architect can help steer the ship in the right direction. Once you know where your business is headed, you’ll be able to find the right people for the job.
2. Identify Essential Skills
Once you’ve figured out where your business is headed, you need to narrow down the requirements for each individual position.
Decide which skills are “must-haves” and which are simply “nice-to-have.”
3. Create an Interview Guide
Hiring the right staff starts with a good-quality interview.
Creating a planned, structured interview guide will ensure that each interview is objective and unbiased. You should never “wing” an interview. Using the job description you created in the previous step, determine the following for each skill:
Behavior-Anchored Rating Scales (BARS)
A numerical rating system is simple, but can be too open to interpretation. How do you decide whether a certain answer deserves a 2 or a 4?
With BARS, number ratings are given descriptions of behavior that act as examples for that numerical rating. This creates an objective standard of behavior that leaves little up to the imagination.
“Yes or no” questions can only tell you so much. Ask open-ended questions to give candidates an opportunity to discuss how they successfully handled specific situations in the past.
Example: Please describe the specific steps you took to effectively resolve a situation with a disgruntled client during an event.
Contrary Evidence Questions (CEQs)
Have you ever come across a candidate with a great resume and excellent interviewing skills…that completely fell apart when it came to the job?
CEQs are one way to prevent that. By asking questions about negative experiences, you’re deliberately turning off that side of your brain that looked at the resume and said, “This is an AMAZING candidate!” You’ll get to take a peek into both sides of the interviewee, which helps everybody out in the long run.
Example: Please tell us about a time when you lost your cool with a client during an event due to extreme provocation.
4. Reverse Interviews
Many times, you hire event staff for customer service, hospitality, and other front-of-house positions. These are the people that really need to love their job.
But a traditional job interview doesn’t test their ability to be “camera ready.” Consider a reverse group interview for your initial screening. Popular at job fairs and with airline companies. In a reverse group interview, each job candidate makes a short presentation for the group. As the employer, you observe the presentations (and the audience) to decide who moves on to the next phase.
5. Use Interview Panels
Just like CEQs, panel interviews can help flush out biased opinions and create a more balanced and accurate assessment of the candidate. By having a few people listening and making their own notes, you’re sure to catch both excellent answers and potential red flags that might be missed by a single person.
Competency based behavioral interviews by interview panels have shown to be high predictors of successful job performance.
6. Train the Interviewers
Without proper training, interviewers will fall back on questions like, “What is your greatest weakness?” and “Tell me about yourself” that yield little data to assess candidates.
Train your interview team properly (using your structured guides, of course) so they know what to ask and what to look for when running an interview.
7. Work Sample Assessments
Sometimes the best way to see if a candidate can do a job is to have them do the job!
If the position involves bartending, have them make you a drink. If it involves dealing a hand of blackjack, play a quick game. Singers and actors have to go to auditions all the time. It’s a great way to weed out the stars from the underperformers.
8. Involve the Team
I have a Master of Social Work (MSW) and my first career was in social work. Team interviews were always part of the process.
When I made a career transition to business, I was surprised that this was not standard practice. Input from the team is important, as the team will have to interact with the successful candidate even more frequently than the manager. In addition to a panel interview, get the rest of the team’s opinion, so you’ll have a better idea of how everyone will work together.
9. Assessment Centers
For senior positions, consider using a professional assessment center to better determine someone’s adaptability for a certain job.
Assessment centers can be very accurate in terms of predicting leadership skills. They can come with a sizeable price tag, but for higher level positions, it can be well worth it. You’re hiring someone that you want to be with your organization for a long time. This isn’t a good time to “wing it.”
10. Check References
While reference checks do present some challenges (which we won’t explore today), they are an essential part of the hiring process.
To get the most out of your reference check, contact the employee’s immediate manager, as that’s who will have firsthand knowledge of the candidate’s performance. An executive likely won’t have such intimate experience.
When you learn how to effectively hire event staff, you’ll find that your customer service, turnover, and morale improve, which helps your business.
Make sure to keep track of your turnover rates throughout the process and update your interview process accordingly. Once you’ve found the magic formula, you’ll know it.
If you’re looking to hire event staff to work at your casino night fundraiser, holiday party, or house party, you’ve come to the right place. Aces Wild Entertainment is Orlando’s premiere entertainment company for exciting, affordable, and professional casino night events.