Running an event is an extremely complex process and without the right person pulling the strings, the chances of it being a success are slim.
As someone who has the responsibility in hiring an external event manager, how do you know if they’re going to be the right fit and what do you need to look for to ensure their goals align with yours?
To help make the decision easier for you, check out the steps below:
10 things to look for when hiring an event manager
First things first, check if they have the right experience. They might have a ton of knowledge in the events industry but this doesn’t mean they’re the right person for the job. Do your due diligence and see what previous events they have run, as their history might indicate that they’re not used to managing an event of your scale or type.
2) Do they fit with your brand
Following they have the right experience, you’ll also want to check that they fit with your brand. Do they share the same values as you, and will their management techniques help promote your event's image? Keeping a strong brand image isn’t easy, especially in the events industry, so make sure that the event manager you hire helps endorse what you’ve already created and not tarnish it.
3) Interpersonal skills
They need to be personable. An event manager is essentially the face of your event, which means they’ll be interacting with various personalities and groups. For those that are unsure of what interpersonal skills they should be looking for in an event manager, here’s a list below:
- Motivated = Do they have a strong work ethic and are they prepared to put in the hours to ensure tasks are completed to an acceptable standard
- Can manage relationships = Can they decipher which personalities and groups will work better together
- Open to feedback = Will they accept opinions and are they willing to reassess their own processes if there is a better alternative
- Positive body language = If you’re interviewing them, use this as a test to see how they respond to certain questions. Do their body gestures indicate that they can handle pressure and can their mannerisms be uplifting
- Leadership skills = Can they lead and encourage teams to achieve the tasks at hand
- Can handle responsibility = Can they take ownership if something goes wrong and more importantly can they overcome and nullify the issue
4) Do they have a good network
If they have a good network, there’s a high chance that they’re already respected and known in the industry. Having contacts on the outside that can lend a hand will not only help with efficiency but it will also encourage further visibility and engagement, as word of mouth goes a long way in the events trade.
5) Are they transparent
Plan A never goes according to plan on event day so are they able to adapt quickly and bring in a new strategy to help nullify any further disruptions. It’s also important to check if they are capable of learning new technology systems, as your current operations and communication tools might be different from what they’re used to. Transparency is a key trait in many ways but most importantly it invites trust, as it reveals you have nothing to hide and are open to altering your own processes to ensure things run smoothly.
6) Health and safety recognition
Are they up to date with the latest health and safety procedures/regulations/legislation and are they confident in carrying out the required risk assessments. Safety can’t be ignored and if they’re not prepared to put the right steps in place to secure the event then it will never be a success. Risk management and security practices are only becoming more prominent in today’s age so this area always needs to be properly addressed.
7) Stakeholder interaction
Do they have the ability and confidence to effectively interact with key stakeholders i.e. city government, major sponsors, police, department of transport, local council etc? Clearance will be needed from these departments so it’s important that they can communicate and retain the right information to ensure that everything is covered legally for the event to be able to go ahead.
8) Commercial Awareness
Do they have the ability to understand what makes an event successful and can they carry out those responsibilities? Can they effectively break down the commercial aspects of the event and put the required measures in place to ensure they work within the given budget. It's important that the event manager you hire can think from a business point of view, as it is also their responsibility to be aware of daily happenings and developments from an economic standpoint.
9) Time Management
They must be very time conscious, as delay often means more money and more unhappy customers. Not only do they have to produce a schedule, but they need to stick to it. Make sure they’re diligent and goal driven, as these two attributes are a clear indication that they’re effective with the time that has been given to them.
In relation to time management, if they can delegate effectively it means they’re able to hand over responsibility in order to get the job done faster. Stay away from hiring micro-managers, as they’ll only slow the progress down and this type of management often creates a hostile environment. The key thing is that you can trust in their ability to be able to train people, which will allow them to remove themselves from tasks and let others do these jobs with confidence.
Hiring the right event manager should take time, as the skill set they must possess requires a lot of responsibility. Event planning can take several months so you’ll want to make sure that this is somebody you can work closely and efficiently with for a long period. Remember, they’re there to make your life easier so if they’re not ticking your boxes, chances are they’re not the right fit for the job.
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