You will be ready to take on any event challenge if you have the right team at your side. It will be your secret weapon in the face of any unforeseen event planning situation: threatening weather a few days before the event, falling ticket sales, a power cut on the day, etc. Make sure you hire the right people to put together a quality team that will never disappoint you and will always get the job done. To do this, here are 8 questions you should ask at every recruitment interview.
1. Can you give an example of a work situation in which you have dealt with a major upheaval?
A supplier cancels, rain floods your venue, a headliner misses his plane… There are so many unpredictable situations for an event planner that everything can be turned upside down in the blink of an eye. So, you should look for people who don’t break down when plans change. You need a flexible staff team that can switch to plan B in no time at all.
If a candidate is able to tell you how he or she reversed a chaotic situation during an event, then he or she is the one.
2. Have you ever been part of a project requiring both individual and team work?
Communication is essential for a successful event. There are so many elements that change by the minute during an event that you need to make sure your teams are autonomous on their assignments. Each member must also inform the others of the key elements that are necessary for everyone to make informed decisions.
A good candidate must show you how he or she has been able to lead a project from A to Z in the past, with important individual assignments within a tightly knit team.
3. Why are you interested in events?
There is no doubt that the event industry is a special world, and choosing it as your profession requires specific qualities.
Typically, people who work in the event industry started as volunteers, as high school or university students. As they know, you have to be able to physically and mentally endure over time because the hours spent preparing an event cannot be counted.
Recruit people who have a real interest in the event industry. If not, they will tend to get discouraged quickly and not live up to your expectations. This little spark can be seen in their eyes or in the way they talk about their event projects.
4. Have you ever used event-related technological tools?
Whether your candidates are comfortable with your tools or completely new to them, they should be enthusiastic about learning how to use new technologies. Tools tend to evolve quickly so it is not essential that candidates know them inside out, but they should be able to learn how to use new apps or supports on a regular basis. If one member of your team does not master a tool that everyone else does, it may be detrimental to the whole group.
If a candidate has not yet mastered your tools, ask them to tell you how it went for them the last time they had to learn how to use one in a professional – or even personal – setting.
5. Have you ever experienced failure at an event? What would you change if you had to do it again?
Failure allows people to learn, but your team members must not totally crack under the pressure of an event – and if they do, they must be able to pull themselves together to move on.
Assess your candidates’ ability to manage stress by asking them this question. It will allow you to analyse their level of detachment, how they handle conflict, and how they stay calm when things don’t go as planned.
6. Have you ever gone over budget for an event? How did you manage this?
The budget of an event is sensitive data for an event organiser. It can lead to the success or failure of an event.
You don’t need to hire chartered accountants on your staff, but you do need someone who can keep track of your expenses, negotiate with suppliers, and take your budget seriously.
7. How do you measure the success of an event?
The success of an event is measured differently by different people and organisations. For you, success may mean that a certain number of people came to your event or that you achieved a certain revenue. For your sponsors or partners, success can mean that they have achieved a good return on their investment. And for your attendees, success means a great experience.
Your ideal candidate must be able to understand the different levels of success of your event and be able to work to ensure that every stakeholder benefits.
8. What are the first tasks you perform at the launch of an event?
There are never enough hours in an event planner’s day. Asking a time management question will help you understand how candidates manage their priorities. Make sure that their vision matches yours or that they can at least cohabitate. This will avoid potential future friction.
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