At Regan & Dean we have more than 20 years’ experience taking briefs from clients for various Event Manager roles and briefing candidates on the organisation and the opportunity. It’s probably true to say that very few people have seen or created as many Event Manager job descriptions as we have, and it’s given us quite an insight into what works and what doesn’t.
A job description has to fulfill many different purposes, but during the recruitment process its key roles include painting a compelling picture of the job and ensuring it attracts the ideal candidates.
A job description that is a lengthy and verbose block of text and dry bullet points is more likely to put the best candidates off rather than enthuse them. One common error we see is the job description that includes long lists of generalised responsibilities but leaves no real impression of what kind of work the successful candidate will actually be doing.
These are the key areas a good job description should include:
Your job description should be to the point, but it should also include key information about the organisation, which all candidates will want to know about. For example, they will be interested in the size of the company, the structure and what the company does, it’s values and objectives. A short top line description sets the scene.
Where the role fits in
It’s important for candidates to understand the wider team and how their role operates within it. Are they part of a specialist events team, a stand-alone role, or part of a larger marketing team? How big is the events team? Does their department head report directly to the CEO? Does this role have any direct reports? Are they responsible for every aspect of their events - or are there specialist internal resources (eg delegate management or technical production) that they will work with?
Type of events
It is surprising how often this is left out, but candidates have different ideas of the type of events they want to work on in their next role, so it is important to be specific. Some candidates will prefer a busy schedule of small B2B seminars or workshops events, while others prefer large and complex public events. As a general rule, talk about the types of events, their frequency, size and typical locations – as well as why you do them and, if you’re an agency, the clients (or sectors) you do them for.
The more detailed you can be about this, the better. Saying “You’ll be responsible for intimate thought leadership breakfast seminars, client drinks receptions in unusual London venues, and celebratory weekends in Europe for our 20 best billers each year.” is more interesting than “Deliver our programme of events and seminars”. It’s this kind of example that adds colour and brings the job description to life.
This represents the nuts and bolts of the job description. Although listing every single task is not advisable, make sure the key responsibilities of the role are included. For example, project management, budget management and measuring and reporting the success of events are all key parts of many Event Manager roles. But remember they are only meaningful in a job description that also states what sort and size of projects and events they’ll be working on (see point above).
Appeal to candidate's sense of ambition. What are the levels of ownership they’ll have? Which responsibilities can they really call their own?
Skills and experience
Make time to describe as precisely as possible the level of skills and experience you are looking for, including the level of seniority achieved in other roles. Do they need have previously had full responsibility for their own projects (and if so what size), or are you looking for someone who has assisted across all areas, and is now ready to take that next step? Consider what is essential that they bring in terms of specific hands-on experience, and what can be learnt.
Are there any specific software systems you want the ideal candidate to be able to use? Do you need a Salesforce or EventBrite whizz or can the relevant skills be taught quickly to a candidate who can tick all the other boxes? Think too about traits such as the ability to work under pressure and to pay attention to detail. Good, proven organisation skills would also be essential for this type of role.
This section should be precise but it’s good to try to make it sound lively and interesting too. Event Managers don’t tend to see themselves as administrators. So communications skills and aptitudes are important to state as well as the nuts and bolts of budgets and spreadsheets.
In conclusion, see the job description part of the process of selling the role to the best candidate and you won’t go far wrong. The clearer the role is to the candidate from the job description, the more likely you are to get the right fit in terms of experience and aspiration - with no unforeseen (and time wasteful) disappointments at interview stage due to a lack of understanding of the role.
If you need help constructing a job description to attract the best candidates, Regan & Dean’s experienced consultants will be delighted to help as part of our service. For an informal discussion, you can call us on 020 7409 3244.
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