If you’ve been to a Matchr event, you know it’s not just another checkbox on the calendar – it’s an experience. The person pulling the strings behind these standout events? That’s Victor Zhuk, our Head of Events. I grabbed a coffee with Victor to chat about what’s coming up on the Matchr event scene and to get a little sneak peek into the magic behind the curtains.
Victor’s journey from strumming the bass guitar in a jazz band to orchestrating some of the coolest events in the recruitment world is quite a ride! And guess what? He’s spilled the beans on some behind-the-scenes stories and feedback from past events. So, if you’re curious about what makes Matchr events tick, you’re in for a treat.
“In every event, we aim to ignite change and inspire action. It’s not just about learning; it’s about leaving empowered, ready to redefine recruitment.”Victor Zhuk, Head of Events at Matchr
Before jumping into Matchr specific events, let’s get to know you a little bit Victor. How did you become an event manager?
I can now confidently say that I’ve found my calling. Previously, I played bass guitar in a jazz cover band, where we performed at many events. This gave me the opportunity to observe how event organizers worked, and often, I found myself thinking, “I can do better than this.” That’s when I decided to explore a career in event planning and landed my first job at an event agency. And here we are today!
Your role at Matchr is pretty unique as you are responsible for all the events. Can you tell us a little about your role and responsibilities at the company?
As the person responsible for the sustainable growth of the company’s events, it’s my job to ensure that every event we organize – from webinars and meetups to our flagship event TRC (Tech Recruitment Conference) – is successful. Before joining Matchr, I gained extensive experience in corporate event planning, and I’m always happy to share my expertise when we hold internal events, including our company offsite. In short, my responsibility is to make people happier by creating events that meet their needs and exceed their expectations.
Can you explain the synergy between recruitment and events at Matchr?
At Matchr, we view recruitment and events as two sides of the same coin. Recruitment is all about connecting the right talent with the right opportunity, and events facilitate these connections in a dynamic setting. Our events act as catalysts, bringing together industry leaders, innovators, and talent. They’re platforms for knowledge exchange, networking, and showcasing best practices. So, while recruitment gets the right people in the room, our events ensure that the conversations and collaborations in that room drive the industry forward.
Last year you organised Matchr’s first in-person conference in Amsterdam. How do you think back to that event and the preparation of it?
TRC was created and organized from scratch, in collaboration with Adriaan Kolff, our visionary and CEO, and Andrew Demianenko, our hands-on Head of Marketing. It was a step-by-step process that involved developing the concept, finding sponsors, creating content with speakers, and organizing the event itself. It was a long and challenging journey, but looking back, I can say that TRC represents a point on a timeline where several factors came together: opportunities, ideas, wonderful people, and a team of like-minded people who were committed to making it a success.
When organizing events, I always keep in mind 4 pillars:
- Think big and be creative. Don’t limit yourself to what has been done before.
- Plan ahead and double-check everything. Attention to detail is crucial in event planning.
- Approach your work with passion and enthusiasm. When you love what you do, it shows in the quality.
- Always be open to learning and improving. There is always room to grow and develop.
By the way, you can watch a video from the previous year’s TRC:
We’re just a month away from TRC 2023. What can attendees expect from this year’s event?
Well, TRC 2023 is shaping up to be something special! First off, it’s both an in-person event in the heart of Amsterdam and a virtual one, ensuring everyone, no matter where they are, gets to be a part of the experience. We’ve got a one-day power-packed agenda with 15 stellar speakers spanning two tracks. And speaking of speakers, expect to hear from industry giants like Uber, Amazon, Booking.com, and more. Names like Anna Bertoldini from NielsenIQ and Matt Yates from Uber are already on board, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
We’ve also introduced something new this year – a pilot of 5 workshops dedicated entirely to AI and automation in recruitment. Considering the direction the industry is taking, these workshops are bound to be invaluable.
Feedback is the breakfast of champions, as they say. We’ve taken every piece of advice from last year’s attendees seriously. So, you can look forward to smoother check-outs and other small tweaks that enhance the overall experience.
We also have online events, such as our currently running The Power of AI in Recruitment webinar series. Can an online event leave its mark just like a face-to-face one?
In my opinion, online events are an excellent tool for saving time and connecting people from all over the world. They represent the next step in communication, enabling us to involve everyone regardless of their location. However, while online events can be effective with the right approach, nothing can replace the feeling of being able to meet and network with peers in person or embrace each other after achieving a common goal, such as participating in offsite team building.
Therefore, I believe that online events should be used in conjunction with in-person events to provide a well-rounded experience for attendees. By doing so, we can maximize the benefits of both types of events and create a more engaging and rewarding experience for everyone involved.
How does planning for a recruitment-centric event differ from other industry events?
Certainly! Planning for a recruitment-centric event, like the ones we host at Matchr, comes with its own set of unique challenges and considerations compared to other industry events. Here’s how:
- Target Audience Specificity: In recruitment events, we’re catering primarily to recruiters, talent acquisition leaders, and HR professionals. This means the content, speakers, and workshops need to be laser-focused on topics that resonate with this group – from sourcing strategies to tech innovations in recruitment.
- Networking Opportunities: Given that recruitment is fundamentally about people and relationships, networking is paramount. We prioritize creating ample opportunities for meaningful interactions, be it through dedicated networking slots, roundtable discussions, or interactive workshops.
- Feedback Loop: Given that recruitment is about improving processes and strategies based on feedback, we place a strong emphasis on gathering attendee feedback and iterating on it for future events. For instance, the tweaks we’re making for TRC 2023 based on last year’s feedback.
- Diverse Speaker Profiles: In many industry events, speakers come primarily from top leadership roles. In recruitment-centric events, it’s crucial to have a mix – from ground-level recruiters who are in the trenches daily to high-level execs overseeing global recruitment strategies.
All in all, while the foundational elements of event planning remain consistent – like venue selection, tech setup for virtual attendees, and agenda planning – the flavor and nuance of a recruitment-centric event are distinct, centered around the unique needs and interests of the recruitment community.
How do you measure the success of an event? Do you collect feedback from participants?
At every event, we always collect feedback from attendees as it’s a great opportunity to identify areas for improvement. We use tools such as the Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey to gather valuable feedback and generate ideas for future events.
While it can be challenging to measure the overall success of events in numbers, they are essential for long-term growth and sustainability. From a marketing perspective, events offer many benefits, and their ability to attract new clients who appreciate the value that we bring to the table is perhaps the most significant benefit of all.
The events and recruitment landscape must have evolved over the years. How does Matchr adapt to these changes, especially in organizing events?
You see, while the essence of sharing knowledge remains vital, we recognize that the modern attendee looks for more. They’re seeking a holistic experience. It’s no longer just about sitting in a hall, listening to speakers, and jotting down notes. The value of experience, networking, and making genuine connections has taken center stage. In essence, people crave emotions, memories, and moments that stand out.
Acknowledging this, we’ve enriched our events with elements that go beyond conventional learning. Our ‘energy ups’ are designed to invigorate attendees, keeping the vibe lively and engaging. We’ve introduced breathwork experiences, not just as a nod to the growing importance of well-being but as a means to help our attendees center themselves and absorb information better.
But it’s not just about learning and wellness; it’s also about fun and inspiration. By inviting motivational speakers and hosting our events at fancy, memorable locations, we aim to create a vibe that’s both educational and celebratory. And let’s not forget our closed after-parties, where genuine connections are often forged in a relaxed atmosphere.
Moreover, we’ve spotted the growing trend of niche events – gatherings designed for specific audiences. Our Leadership events, for instance, are crafted to bring top leaders together, providing them an intimate setting to connect, share, and grow.
What events are coming up this and next year with Matchr? Could you unveil the curtain?
Of course! Always exciting to unveil a bit of what’s cooking behind the scenes at Matchr. 🤩
For the upcoming year, we’re zeroing in on Amsterdam – a city that’s not just known for its picturesque canals but is also emerging as a hub for recruitment innovations. We’re super pumped about TRC 2024; after the success of our past conferences, we’re upping the game even further. And for those who thrive on more intimate gatherings, our recruitment meetups are set to provide platforms for rich discussions and networking.
But here’s a special one: the Recruitment Leadership Events. We’ve realized the immense value of connecting top-tier leaders in a cozy, intimate setting, and we’re making it a point to foster such elite gatherings next year.
Now, for our digital audience, we’ve got something brewing as well. We’re launching two major webinar series. The digital landscape allows us to connect with a global audience, and we’re leveraging that to the fullest with these series. They promise to be insightful, engaging, and, as always, packed with actionable takeaways.
And a little side note – we’re always on the lookout for fresh ideas and collaborations. If anyone out there has a vision or concept they believe aligns with our ethos, our doors (and inboxes) are always open. Let’s make recruitment events not just memorable but also revolutionary!
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