How to Hire Hourly Employees for a Convention

Running a successful convention demands enough staff to provide excellent service. But hiring hourly employees specifically for a convention or trade show brings unique challenges. Turnover is high, roles vary, and you need people for a short duration.

Careful planning, clear communication, and the right hiring tools are key to building a temporary team ready to make your event a hit. Let’s walk through the recruiting process step-by-step.

Determine Your Staffing Needs 

The first step is projecting how many people you need and which roles. Consider factors like:

– Expected Attendance – Estimate attendance based on past events or ticket sales. More guests means needing more staff. 

– Hours of Operation – If the convention runs 8am – 6pm, you need enough workers to cover those hours at all locations. 

– Locations to Staff – Will you need workers at registration, presentation rooms, exhibit halls, etc?

– Roles Required – Identify each role and skills needed, like sales, tech support, guides, security. 

– Shift Duration – Will you have 4, 6, or 8-hour shifts? Shorter shifts require more workers to cover hours.

– Projected Turnover – Assume a percentage of staff won’t show up each day and build in a cushion.

Creating a staffing grid that breaks down headcount by role, by location, by hours helps align labor to demand. This prevents understaffing or overstaffing, which both hurt the budget. 

Get the Word Out 

Crafting an effective outreach strategy takes time and thoughtfulness. Simply throwing up a few job posts and hoping for applicants is a recipe for failure. You need to market your open positions by leveraging multiple channels and compelling messaging. 

Start by brainstorming every potential outlet for spreading the word from job boards to social media groups to physical signage in high-traffic areas. Evaluate the pros and cons of each option. Then develop an outreach calendar detailing what content will be distributed on each channel and when. 

It’s crucial to make your job descriptions compelling and highlight the positives of event work like flexible hours, bonus incentives, and getting free access to the convention. Emphasize opportunities for growth and professional development as well. Sell the sizzle!

Enlisting current staff members to share postings with their social networks and distribute flyers can expand your reach exponentially. Offering referral bonuses provides incentive. But make sure to still thoroughly vet each candidate. 

If partnering with a staffing agency, conduct due diligence upfront to ensure it will be a good match. Review all policies, service agreements, and fees in-depth first. Get references from past clients. Don’t let a desire for expediency lead to regret down the road.

Ongoing promotion across multiple platforms, an incentive program, and an enticing pitch will drive the applicant volume and quality needed to build a stellar team. This outreach is the foundation on which convention success is built.

Screen and Interview Applicants

Finding the right convention staffers requires looking beyond basic qualifications. You need to identify candidates that match the attributes of your proven top performers.

Start by analyzing your current staff. What qualities make your superstar employees stand out from the average? Do they take more initiative? Display composure under stress? Obsess over customer satisfaction?

Profile these distinguishing characteristics so you can now purposefully screen new applicants for those same traits and behaviors. This will allow you to replicate the dream team dynamic that drives results.

In interviews, go beyond just asking about availability and experience. Craft thoughtful questions that reveal work ethic, problem-solving ability, communication skills, leadership potential, and ability to handle ambiguity. 

Look for those who take pride in their work and responsibility for outcomes. Flag candidates that appear entitled, indifferent or quick to make excuses. A bad apple only takes one bite to ruin the bunch.

Leverage tools like automated chat interviews to screen candidates 24/7 at scale. But take time to personally interview finalists through video chats. The human connection builds engagement. 

Vetting for both qualifications and intangibles will yield hourly staffers ready to provide the service excellence your convention reputation hinges on. Don’t leave this crucial process to chance.

Make the Most of Your Convention Staff

Once you’ve assembled your hourly team, set them up for success:

– Provide Training – Offer on-site training and resources to get workers up to speed on roles, branding, and convention details.

– Set Expectations – Convey scheduling needs, duties, and performance standards clearly from the start. 

– Check In Often – Connect in-person throughout the event to provide feedback, motivation, and support.

– Show Appreciation – Recognize great work through shout-outs, rewards, and event perks. A little appreciation goes a long way.

– Offer More Work – For top performers, discuss opportunities to work other upcoming events. Strong workers are worth retaining.

Proactively manage the team throughout your convention. Nip any issues in the bud. The more engaged your staff remains, the better the attendee experience will be.

Hiring Solutions Streamline Convention Staffing  

As we’ve seen, hiring hourly employees for conventions requires forethought, constant communication, and engagement. But the manual work involved can pose challenges with limited recruiting resources.

This is where hiring technology like Chattr provides value. AI-powered assistants automate time-consuming screening and interviews 24/7. This allows recruiting teams to focus on higher-impact tasks.

Intelligent assistants interview applicants through two-way conversational texting. They assess skills, experience, availability and fit. Analytics dashboards instantly showcase top candidates.

Text-based messaging provides a quick, easy application experience that meets candidates in the channel they already use daily. It’s ideal for the on-the-go hourly workforce.

Robust tools also simplify shift scheduling, paperwork, reminders, and onboarding for hourly teams. Everything is mobile-friendly. 

For high-volume hourly hiring with tight turnarounds, solutions like Chattr offer the automation, speed, and simplicity needed to build a winning team, event after event.

The Takeaway

Successful conventions require dedicated hourly workers equipped to provide top-notch experiences. As an event organizer, it’s your responsibility to find and prepare these teams. 

With deliberate planning, constant communication and the right technology, you can continually hire hourly staff ready to deliver. Streamline recruiting so you can focus on executing a best-in-class event that exceeds expectations and drives business results.

Share on