Working an event

Here's my previous post called "Putting your best foot forward at a Networking Event". I'm starting to send out some invitations to the local finance event that we are holding in a few weeks. If you have sent me your resume but haven't heard back, don't fret. I didn't get too many of the invitations out yet and you will hear back from me either way. I thought that the link to the previous post might be helpful to anyone that stumbled onto my blog after hearing from me about the event. We are reaching out to people that have applied in the past, responded to the event announcement...lots of folks that appear to have strong finance backgrounds.

For this particular event, my goal is to figure out a way to connect people with backgrounds in different finance disciplines with people that work within those same (or similar) disciplines at Microsoft. I'm open to ideas at this point. My thought process is leading me toward creating a listing of Microsoft attendees as well as hot jobs so the people we have invited can figure out whom they want to seek out at the event. We'll also have some Microsoft finance employees get up and share their experience, a little about their work and group, that type of thing. This is not a job fair format. It's a room with some food and drink, some tables to sit and chat. No booths, "Microsoft" uniforms (if you know me, you know how much I like to match other people).Should be pretty casual.

If people have ideas, I'm ready to hear them. I don't have any misconceptions about how these things work. This is a mutual selection process. Our hiring community here can be pretty vocal about what they want to get out of these types of events. So I'd like to hear it from the other side. What exactly makes an event interesting. I suspect, based on feedback I have heard in the past, is that they want to understand the roles and the different groups so they can make decisions about what types of roles interest them. Also, they want to get some face time with the people that make the hiring decisions. The recruiters are there to provide guidance, help with introductions and explain the process. Does that sound about right?

Comments (13)

  1. Barry says:

    Well…since I’m a blogging evangelist. 🙂

    My suggestion is to think out of the box.

    Setup a blog or a community forum where all the Microsoft employees can setup bios about who they are and what they do. Give all the candidates access to the blog/forum. Allow a little exchange to occur before meeting in real life.

    It needs to be setup in an ice-breaker format too. Don’t just stick questions about career up there. Come up with a "campy" 10 question list about personal stuff. Favorite drink, favorite sport, what kind of car they drive, etc.

    Tell the candidates to be expressive of who they are.

    Have the Microsoft staff do the same thing.


    If you want to spice it up and have some fun- try a new approach and do a sit down version of speed dating. Each candidate talks to each employee for 5-10 minutes. Have both sides score the other and find mutual fits in personality, desire, and motivation.

  2. unpradeep says:

    I know I have already given my 2cents on this one bfore Having been to a similar event before being a blue-badger – here are some more i came up with, when i think about it:

    a) good Cabarnets and Ports :)) Much easier to relax and take out the nervousness. Seriously. It worked for me.

    b) I think with several tables set across the room there should be an informal 3 mins intro for each hiring manager – what he/she is, how they got to where they are at MS, what they are looking for in a candiadate and what/how many positions.

    This would be a lot easier than jus a print out joblist (since i know that changes plus – its so much easier to hear it from them in their own words!!!). Besides it takes only 15 mins and helps in the candidate’s elevator pitch.

    but now that i am on the other side of the table, already i will shut up – right here 🙂

  3. Oh, this sounds a familiar one. A few random thoughts:

    1) Get rid of the tables and chairs. They get in the way of people talking to others in the room. Bunches of people sit at each table talking to themselves and don’t mingle

    2) Name badges are highly useful, for both Microsoft folk and the attendees. For the attendees they enable your managers to note down the names of interesting people they speak to in their…

    2i) Little pocket books which you’ll provide all Microsoft folk

    2ii) For the Microsoft folk the name and work area will help attendees find who they want to speak to.

    3) You need to have a way of the attendees finding the people that they are looking for. Two options that I’ve used (and which work) in the past. First, get different microsoft folk to stand in different parts of the room based on work area. Second colour code their badges so that each colour relates to different work areas. Put a few posters explaining the code to people in visible areas.

    4) As unpradeep says you need a short intro. At least one ‘heavyweight’ speaker should be there to give a ‘I want you in finance’ sort of talk. Get a manager from each area to give a short intro.

    5) You need about 1 Microsoft person for every 2-3 attendees. You only need a couple of the recruiting team, most should be finance.

    If you want more ideas, or to chat over a things please give me a shout. I’ve done more of these things than I care to remember.

  4. Jonathan says:

    Sometimes these events have felt like junior high dances (I experienced them as a kid and now I’ve chaperoned them as a parent-they’re still the same). Namely, most of the people are wall-flowers on both sides and struggle to get the ice broken. A couple of suggestions:

    * There’s common information that should be available ahead of time for MS folks that will be there. This could be a biography, but I think a shorter version of who, what, how long, where located, etc, would be better.

    * Have a list of MS job descriptions and people in the room who are or have done them available.

    * Ring a bell every 15 minutes and people have to move on and talk with others they haven’t so far.

    * Get a card, similar to TechEd or other events, that people have stamped when they’ve talked with each MS person. At the end take all cards that are fully stamped and enter them into a drawing for a chotski (sp?) or swag.

  5. Michael says:

    Hi Heather,

    Since you are a recruiter and you seem really wise. I would really appreciate if you can provide some advises and suggestions to my situation. I am Canadian citizen currently working in Canada. I am in the process of obtaining my US citizenship which should be done around September of this year.

    I have been posting my resume on couple of the larger job boards. I am having a dilemma in regards to what I should indicate when I am being asked if I am authorize to work in the US. If I check I am authorize then I would be lying because technically I won’t have my work authorization till September. If I check the not authorize to work in the US box then I feel that I would be disadvantage because my resume will probably wouldn’t even show up in recruiter’s searches. Any suggestions?

    By the way, I read your old blog and decided to join Jobster and I was notify I couldn’t join the network because I didn’t get an invite :(.

    Please allow me to thank you in advance. Take care and have a great week.

    Best Regards,


  6. HeatherLeigh says:

    Michael-I would check that you are not authorized and then put at the top of your resume that you expect authorization to be complete in September. Hopefully that way, recruiters will see that you are being honest and still be interested in your background. Good luck!

  7. Michael says:

    Hi Heather,

    Thanks for the suggestion. I will do as you suggested.


  8. Kristin says:

    Hey Heather – is this something us "orange badgers" (I know – everyone gasp now) could be invited to? Or, like everything else at MS, are we too lowly to be considered?

    (Sorry, just a little bitter about how vastly lower-class MS makes us orange people.)

  9. HeatherLeigh says:

    Kristin-the event is open to external candidates, so that does indeed include orange badges. But like the other candidates, we need to see a resume before we decide whether to invite each person. We would rather have a smaller number of people that match the types of roles we have than have a large event with people that might not be a match. So if you are interested in attending, please do get me your resume and I’ll take a look!

    PS: I’ve never experienced orange-badge people being treated like a lower class. I hope your comment was to actually ask about the event rather then vent. If there’s something that is upsetting you, maybe you should address it with the person you are reporting to or your contact at your firm? Bitter is not a happy place…I’ve been there before.

    Charlie (comment not visible)…I don’t allow overt advertising on my site.

  10. HeatherLeigh says:

    Hey-I wanted to let all of you know that I am using your suggestions for this event. As I get the plans formalized, I’ll let you know. Thanks so much for the feedback. Guess I am lucky to have blog readers that are willing to make suggestions on this kind of stuff. Thanks guys! <sniff, sniff>

  11. Nick says:

    <i>Re: Kristin- …

    PS: I’ve never experienced orange-badge people being treated like a lower class. I hope your comment was to actually ask about the event rather then vent. If there’s something that is upsetting you, maybe you should address it with the person you are reporting to or your contact at your firm? Bitter is not a happy place…I’ve been there before.</i>

    Hi Kirstin, I can understand how you’re seeing this situation you talk about, I’m an "orange badger" myself. I have noticed that MS does have a slightly harsher separation between its contractors than other companies, but after the class action, I suppose I can understand it.

    I suppose it all depends too on what your goals with MS are. If you look at this time as an opportunity to build a reputation within MS and potentially move on somewhere rather than simply a place to get a paycheck, it may be easier to deal with this disparate qualities.

    I’ve noticed there are certain "feelings" about orange badger’s among the blue badgers, but I haven’t run into anything overtly negative. Sure, it can be frustrating at times, but again, keeping your eye on the task and goals at hand may help you to see past some of those.

    I don’t know if this helps, but thought I’d send along my 2 cents.

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