As anyone who works in events will tell you, the secret to any smoothly-operating event is to make it a real team effort. To hire event staff is to delegate wisely, to ensure that the devil really is in the detail, and to make sure that every eventuality is covered by those who know their industry inside out. As such, making sure that you undertake event staff hiring with care and precision is fundamental, and getting the best staff for their roles can make or break your conference, launch, party, reception… or any other event type imaginable.
Here at Ultimate Experience, we’ve been through this process more times than we care to remember, and we’ve seen first-hand the difference that careful and thorough event staff hiring can bring to an event. As always, we’re keen to share our thoughts and experiences with you, and to make sure you too have the tools you need for the success of your next big event.
We’ve put together a complete guide to show you how to hire event staff properly, and to make sure you’re getting the talent, passion, and creativity that your events deserve. Read on to find out more!
Your Event Staff - The Anatomy of an Event Planning Team
A great event staff is more than just the sum of its parts. When it works, the collection of people you have working for you should be like a well-oiled machine, with everyone knowing their place and their role… and with everyone equipped to deal with all kinds of unexpected eventualities. That being said, in every event staff there needs to be separate groups of talented individuals, each of them covering a different aspect of the upcoming event. These groups can be summarised as such:
Every event costs money and needs budgeting carefully. That’s why it’s imperative to seek out financially literate and experienced staff members who can look after this side of your venture, and make sure all the accounting procedures go ahead smoothly. You don’t want any nasty surprises when you come to look at your figures the day after.
Events need creative minds in order to stand out from the crowd and get that buzz going. Hire event staff with a proven track record of thinking outside the box, and who can put together engaging and alluring websites, run interesting promotional campaigns, deal with the inventive side of social media management, and create photos and videos that really elicit interest and excitement.
Your ‘visionary’ team might consist of many bright sparks, or may be spearheaded by a single individual. No matter which direction you choose to take, they’ll need to be able to make strong and concise decisions, and they’ll have to competent when it comes to steering the whole direction of your event.
The Programme Managers
Event staff hiring requires you to consider candidates who are able to handle a whole range of tasks relating to the actual running of the event itself on the day. They’ll need to be able to choose a venue, be skilled at communicating with vendors and third parties, and will have to have experience in running activities and organising schedules. It’s best not to have more than three programme managers, as any more can result in confusion or clashes.
When you hire event staff, special care should be allocated for putting together an operational committee who can ensure your event runs smoothly on the day. This will probably end up being your largest department; they’ll be responsible for a wide range of tasks, including things like tech support, setting up equipment, providing security solutions, and organising labourers who’ll have to set up the space.
Things to Keep in Minding When Hiring Event Staff
It goes without saying that hiring event staff is a bit like spinning plates; you have to keep your eye on a whole number of different things, and make sure that you’re considering a range of eventualities while keeping the end goal in mind. Thankfully, it isn’t necessarily hard to find the right people for the job - events is an industry packed full of passionate and capable individuals. Just make sure you’re keeping the following points in mind all the way through the process.
Naturally, your budget is going to be one of the main considerations when you hire event staff. If you’re lucky enough to have deep pockets, you can turn to one of the many high-end event staff agencies out there, who will be more than capable of finding the best people for the job on the day.
If your budget is a little tighter, it’s worth shopping around the agencies, and negotiating a price which works for both parties. Remember - always allocate a bit extra to your staffing budget. Plenty of events managers have found themselves caught out with having to pay their staff overtime, as very few events wrap everything up on schedule!
Before you begin any stage of the event staff hiring process, brush up on the employment rules and regulations. These evolve year on year, and it’s really important for you to be fully aware of your workers’ rights (and yours, too).
Recommendations and References
We all know that the best way to find the best of the best is through word of mouth and recommendations. You’ll doubtlessly have friends, colleagues, and peers in the industry who’ll have their fair share of horror stories and successes to share, so reach out and get personal recommendations from people you trust. If you decide to go with an agency, feel free to ask them for references from their clients who are in a similar field as you. This can really help you decide whether or not their staff are fit for your purposes or not.
Don’t be afraid to draw out the interview process and be very thorough with the vetting of your candidates. After all, the more people you meet, the more of an informed and conscientious decision you’ll be able to make. The staff you choose have the ability to make or break your event, so feel free to take as long as it takes when it comes to interviewing, if it means you end up with the best people for the job. If you’re going with an agency, be crystal clear in your requirements and expectations, and leave no room for error!
Questions to Ask During the Interview
If you’re looking to hire event staff who are absolutely fit for purpose and capable of delivering the event you’ve envisioned, then alongside your event staff job description, you’re going to have to make sure you’re asking the right interview questions.
It’s simply not enough to go through the motions and ask the basic questions we’ve all been asked a thousand times at job interviews; your event deserves the best, and in order to get that, you’re going to have to be a lot more precise and concise with your questioning. Here are the 8 interview questions that you really should be asking.
What is your event planning experience?
It sounds obvious, but it’s an important one for a reason. If your candidate lacks experience in events, the chances are, they’re not yet right for the role you have in mind. The events industry is really unlike any other out there, and you want staff who have a proven track record in your field… and no exceptions.
What attracted you to apply for this particular role?
The sign of a great interview candidate is one who has done their research, and who is genuinely interested in your upcoming event. This question easily weeds out those who are applying for any old job, and not necessarily for the role you have in mind. If they start talking about your past events, or the specifics of your company or team, they’re one to consider for the role.
How do you handle a situation when things go wrong?
It’s sometimes a great idea to focus on the negative sides of event planning, and how these can be transformed into positives. The simple fact of the matter is that in this industry, things really do go wrong from time to time… but that doesn’t need to spell disaster. Look out for candidates who give specific examples of how they’ve averted problems in the past.
What do you love about the events industry?
It might be a bit of a cliche, but you can’t put a price on passion. This is an industry which really requires people to put the hours in, and as such, enthusiastic, passionate, and hardworking staff members are an absolute must. This question should allow you to gauge that level of love they have for your field.
Describe a moment when you were asked to handle something outside of your area of expertise. How did it go?
Being able to use initiative and solve problems is probably the most important skill in an event worker’s arsenal. Ask your candidate to give a specific example of how they’ve displayed this skill. Whether they were successful or not in solving the problem isn’t the key point to bear in mind; it’s what they learned from the process, and how it equipped them to handle similar situations which may arise in the future.
Which area(s) do you feel you need more training in?
Knowing a candidate’s weaknesses is important, but not as important as the candidate knowing their own weakness and where there is room for improvement.
Are you flexible with your working hours?
This is an important one, too. Events is an industry which often calls for plenty of overtime, or being phoned up at the last minute to come in and sort something out. You want staff who are flexible, versatile, and up for whatever challenges may come their way.
What do you like to do in your free time?
A lot of interviewees don’t bother with this type of question, but we reckon it’s an important one. You want to hire well-rounded individuals who are capable of fitting into your team, and this question can help you ascertain how smoothly that process is going to go ahead. What’s more, the way candidates answer questions about their non-professional lives can tell you a lot about the sort of worker they’d become.
Hire Event Staff Who Can Help You Realise Your Vision
As we’ve seen, hiring event staff who have the skills you need and the personalities that fit with your vision is key to the success of your event. It’s not always the easiest process for anybody involved, but getting the right people on board can really make or break your big day. It may take time, it may be frustrating on occasions… but it’ll all be worth it when you see your attendees having the time of their lives.
Ultimate Experience has become one of the country’s leading events planners, due to our diligence, creativity, and willingness to go the extra mile for our clients. If you’d like to get a better idea of what we do, don’t hesitate to get in touch and find out more!