Hosting a company recruiting event is a great way to build brand awareness and engage with HBS students. At the same time, we know that event planning requires a commitment from your team in preparing materials, securing speakers, advertising, and in many cases traveling to campus. So how do you optimize your time and choose an effective event format?

Is a Company Presentation right for us?

At HBS, Company Presentations are held either off-campus at a local hotel or restaurant or on-campus in a classroom. Our classrooms seat up to 90 people, however companies are often surprised to learn that average attendance at on-campus presentations is 20 students.

The Career & Professional Development staff coaches students to understand their personal career criteria in order to focus their job search on industries, functions, and work environments that would be a good match for them. This is reflected in Company Presentation attendance – students want to use their time, and your time, wisely!

Companies who typically hire many students, or have a well-known brand on campus, may attract larger groups at presentations. Regardless of audience size, presentations are most effective when companies keep in mind feedback from students while they prepare. Students tell us that company presentations work well when given by a charismatic and authentic presenter who is knowledgeable and passionate about the company and the specific roles the company is hiring for. Companies who create a positive buzz among students bring a mix of both senior and junior personnel to their event and provide information that is not otherwise available on the company website about company culture, day to day responsibilities, career paths, visa sponsorship, and the recruiting process.

Companies may deter students from applying when they miss the mark with their presentation content, format, or style. We know this is not due to a lack of a great opportunity. If a presentation is your company’s preferred method of marketing to students, we strongly encourage you to reference our guide to the 6 Way to Optimize Your Time With Students during the planning process.

Should we consider Company Conversations?

Many companies find that they can best showcase what makes them unique in a small group setting. Company Conversations are small group or 1:1 style events structured to allow students to sign up for 30 minute, 45 minute, or 1 hour timeslots to meet with a representative from your organization. The format is largely question and answer based, but some companies do choose to send out materials in advance or give a brief overview of the position/company culture at the beginning of each session.

Company Conversations are particularly successful for organizations that have not previously recruited at HBS or are attracting a very targeted group of students. A classroom presentation directed at a small group of students may feel impersonal, whereas a two way conversation can create space to focus on very specific questions and form lasting connections.

As with Company Presentations, engagement and information are key in Company Conversations. Bring representatives to campus who embody your culture and can speak to the specific work an intern or full-time employee would be doing. Also, be sure that the conversation is informational, not an interview.

Key Takeaways

Not every event is right for every company. Therefore, we offer multiple options to help organizations optimize their time with students and set themselves up for a successful recruiting season. Contact your industry specific Recruiting Relations Manager to discuss what types of recruiting events may work well for your company. Also, come back for Event Planning for Recruiting Success – Part 2 in which we will discuss virtual recruiting, industry education, and targeted events.

To learn more about Company Presentations and Company Conversations, visit the Recruiting Guide.