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How to Host a National Hiring Day

National Hiring Day isn’t one we traditionally celebrate, especially in the world of recruiting where every day is a hiring day. And it doesn’t fall on a specific date on our calendar. What it is, however, is a creative way for companies to promote job openings by setting an event date and doing promotion around the event, bringing in lots of new candidates for a day- or week-long event.

We’ve noticed this trend recently as businesses open back up gradually across the country, advertising a national hiring day to candidates and creating excitement around the event. Many entertainment, recreation, restaurants and other service industries are ramping up hiring and promoting their open jobs with a virtual or safely distanced in-person event. Chipotle led the pack this year with a January 14 national hiring day event and 15,000 openings. All Chipotle restaurants across the US held open interviews from 8—10am and 2—5pm (local time).

Coast to Coast Career Day
Chipotle’s promotional material for their January 14 “Coast to Coast Career Day” hiring event

Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, one of the largest regional amusement-resort operators in the world, hosted a virtual National Hiring Day for its multiple parks on March 13, announcing plans to hire 2,100 associates for the 2021 season at King’s Dominion and 2,000 associates at Carowinds.

In the world of retail, convenience and grocery stores have struggled with reaching talent. Sheetz, a convenience store chain with more than 600 locations in the eastern U.S. held an in-person event at all locations on March 31 for its National Hiring Day to fill more than 2,800 full and part-time positions, and promoted new perks like a higher hourly starting rate, training, and tuition reimbursement. In February 2021, Sheetz invested $28.5 million to increase store employee wages and announced a new parental leave policy that includes 12 weeks of fully paid time off for new mothers and two weeks of fully paid time off for partners.

Related: Is a Hiring Event Right for You?

Another convenience store chain, Love’s Travel Stops expected to hire 2,000 team members at its National Hiring Day event on March 31. The company was looking for diesel technicians, service advisors, tire technicians and diesel technician apprentices for its Speedco and Love’s Truck Care locations and store and restaurant team members for its Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores. The event was in-person and the company created a landing page for applicants. Yet another, Pilot Company, will host its annual National Hiring Day on April 27 with virtual meet and greets. As more travelers get back on the road this spring and summer, Pilot needs to fill more than 5,000 positions with jobs in retail, food service, professional driving, and corporate roles.

How to Create Your Own National Hiring Day Event

Marketing is the key that drives a successful event. Whether you’re holding an online or in-person National Hiring Day, you’ll want to prepare for the event just as you would in any other year. We have a guide for that!

We’re still experiencing a global pandemic, but you need to reach a broad audience of candidates. Take a look at your competitors: are they offering a higher starting hourly wage? Perks like tuition reimbursement or flexible scheduling? Free guacamole? (OK, that last one worked for Chipotle, but you get our drift.) Make what you have to offer the central message of your event campaign.

Some of the best practices we’ve seen companies use for their National Hiring Day events:

  • Send a press release about the event to local media (news outlets love local “good news” stories). Short on PR help? You can get a press release template by Googling “sample event press release” (or just click this link for a template).
  • Encourage candidates to apply online before the event (or for in-person events, make it clear that applying online is an acceptable option).
  • Short code to text apply should be part of your marketing.
  • Create a landing page to drive candidates to so they can apply early. It doesn’t have to be pretty; it just needs to be functional and effective.
  • Your landing page should work both as a tool to apply, registration for your event, and candidate lead capture. This will give you a much larger pool of potential candidates to add to your content marketing emails.

Make it fun! You can’t be Carowinds or Chipotle, but what can you do to create a memorable experience for candidates? Taco Bell turned its April 21 event into “Hiring Parties” at locations across the U.S. and is holding them outdoors and via drive through.

Finally, keep in mind that people looking for work right now might not be comfortable attending events in-person. Your landing page and marketing materials for the National Hiring Day event should include what protocols you’ve put in place to keep attendees safe if you’re having an on-site event, and make sure you have a link to apply for those who cannot attend in person.