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Words of Wisdom - Staffing and the Meetings Industry

Recruitment Article

By: Pamela Wynne, CMM, HMCC | Mar 29, 2022

WOW!!!! There are 63,000+ positions on LinkedIn for MEETING PLANNER right now across the United States! The Industry is booming and I'm not kidding when I say EVERYONE is hiring.

Job openings can be found in corporations, third party agencies, logistics companies, boutique firms, etc. Across all industries including Pharma, Financial, Manufacturing, IT... Some days my head is spinning! There are folks who have left the industry, moved onto other careers and now a huge onslaught of new candidates who are looking to change careers and break into planning meetings. I love listening to bright, young voices talk about the excitement of planning meetings, the desire to work in this industry and bring people together. It is a recruiter’s dream and nightmare at the same time... So many candidates, so little time.  We are facing a ton of very high salary expectations, high expectations in benefits, work-life balance,  and growth opportunities.

One thing I have never shied away from is telling it LIKE IT IS...

So here is some pretty good advice:

FOR COMPANIES

  1. It is about attracting (then KEEPING which we get to later) top talent. Now that the talent pool is back, candidates are scrutinizing not only salary, but workload, benefits, and work-life balance. Are you benchmarking? Are you asking candidates what is important to them? Are you able to customize offers and packages to meet individual needs? Are you thinking outside of the box and looking at non-traditional candidates and what they can bring to the table? Sometimes your best employee turns out to be a “diamond in the rough” with skills you didn’t really know you needed at your organization. Hard skills can be taught, soft skills can make or break a role.

     

  2. EMPLOYEE RETENTION: There are a TON of VALUABLE and AWESOME planners currently in their roles who are TIRED... They have weathered the storm - they know their STUFF - they are sometimes being recruited away from their jobs for better opportunities. Companies need to value them and address these issues. Be thankful and more, expressive of your appreciation. It is important to, ask if they have been provided opportunity for growth, are they feeling respected and valued? Is the company meeting their needs for work; for life balance?? How are companies handling new hires coming into the space side by side with these experienced folks? Are they included in the training/mentoring process?

FOR RECRUITS

  1. If you are a new planner or someone who is switching industries you need to recognize that you have a learning curve. I get resumes from many planners outside of pharma who think their experience is the same and they can do it all. Yes, you can with the right patience and training. Some industries are complex, have regulations and nuances. Better to address this and say you want to learn, and get up to speed, Don’t expect the same level of pay when you switch an industry or even break into the full-fledged meetings industry when you may have done a few internal meetings before. It is a whole new world with a new level of knowledge and skills required. Be patient and show the company you are willing to make the commitment - it is very expensive for a company to bring on and train new talent
  2. What have you been doing since COVID? Ask yourself when the industry went pretty much 100% virtual and folks were either downsized or needed to PIVOT (My Goodness I'm sick of that word!!!) - did you pivot? Did you learn new skills in virtual/digital meetings? Did you get some new certifications? Did you upskill? Many, many folks had to take jobs in other industries to make ends meet.  How did these other jobs translate to hospitality - can you make the connection to stay relevant? Make sure you can account for your time and share the value of what you have been doing. That also means even taking down time, recharging, finding a new vision, career, or value in what you do!

TO MY FELLOW RECRUITERS

We sometimes are so overwhelmed with a mad rush to hire quickly, get someone in and on the P&L quickly. GOOD recruitment takes TIME. It takes energy and positivity.  It requires, talking to a TON of people, asking the right questions, being direct and looking for skills and knowledge sometimes NOT on the resume. It is about communicating to your clients about the industry trends and timelines and setting expectations on salary and skill levels. It is about hiring candidates and taking the TIME TO TRAIN to set them up for success. It is about building a pool of candidates and talking to each potential recruit about future opportunities.  It is also about being HONEST and TRANSPARENT when skills aren’t up to snuff, when you see spelling and grammatical errors on resumes and cover letters. It is about coaching candidates on behavior, culture, how to better present. It IS our job to build better candidates. How else will they learn? The more we can be honest and give good, specific and character-building feedback the better we make the industry for everyone!!

I hope you found this useful and, at times, uncomfortable.  You can’t keep doing the same things and expecting different results!

Happy Job Hunting and Happy Hiring!

Pam Wynne, CMM, HMCC

 

Author

Pam's Headshot
Pamela Wynne, CMM, HMCC
Director of Training & Recruitment at Ashfield Event Experiences

 

 
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