Event manager roles unlocked: hire the right profile for your company!
You have tested and the data seems clear, it’s time to invest in a marketing event strategy for your company. You need to hire your first in-house event manager, but how to find the right profile among all the tasks and event manager roles you see out there? Don’t worry, we have been working with the best event professionals for a while, and in this article, we will cover all you need to know to hire the right event manager for your company!
1-What are the many different event manager roles?
Event Host, event coordinator, event planner…who does what? Depending on the size of the company, and the number of events hosted, an event manager can assume all these roles or only some of them. If you intend to host many events and/or big events, it can be important to keep your event agency at the first moment, while your in-house event manager handles all the events with the external team. Sometimes these different positions are used to define the same role. But let’s understand better each one of these roles, and try to regroup them in their level of responsibility.
- Director of Events or Head of Events
The role of the director of events is mostly suitable for larger companies since the main role of a director of events is to manage a team of event managers. The director of events job description includes having an overview of all the events, and event strategy for the corporation as well as a general budget, monitoring KPIs, and setting the guidelines for the department. If you are looking for your first in-house event manager, this is maybe not the role you are going for in the first place. Hopefully, your event department will grow, and you will need to hire this profile one day!
- Event Manager or Event Planner
The next job roles are usually used to describe the same position. Usually, in smaller event departments event managers need to have a more generalist role, while in bigger companies the functions are usually most specialized, corresponding to senior profiles.
On a more specialized spectrum, event managers are in charge of all the aspects of a specific event, and also in charge of the coordination of their event producers’ team.
A day in the life of an event manager may include updating the event budget, deciding which of the venues on the list they will show to the client, craft the day of the event timeline with all the tasks and schedules of all the event planners and other stakeholders, reach out to potential sponsors, check if the marketing plan is aligned with the event main goals…ok, maybe it’s not possible to do all these tasks in a day, but you get the idea: the event manager must have a global view on all the aspects of the event, and be in touch with the internal team, his management, the client, and all the sponsors, stakeholders and event providers.
- Event Coordinator or Event Producer
The event coordinator, or event producer, is responsible for the execution of the event management plan. The event producer will contact all the event providers to arrange all the logistics to bring the event to life. On the event’s date, this professional will be on the spot, making sure that everything runs smoothly and the event meets the client’s standards and expectations.
- Event Host
Even if it’s also viewed as one of the event manager roles, the event host does not have a management function, but he is mostly the PR in service. This professional is in charge of welcoming the event attendees, being the referent, to which all participants can refer, and can be also the facilitator of some networking moments, present sessions, or introduce the event speakers. He is the face of the event, and his influential position can also be a marketing asset to elevate the event branding in offline or online media.
- An endless list of event manager roles…
Event managers can work in many different industries and have different profiles, so the list of event manager titles can be almost endless!
Marketing departments are including more and more events in their awareness, branding, or lead generation strategies. We can see now event managers in small companies and big corporations, higher education institutions, NGOs, restaurants, venues, and even airports!
Event managers can have more specialized functions, such as event compliant specialist, event catering manager, event analyst, venue manager, hospitality manager, and sponsorship coordinator…it’s a never ending list! The roles can be also specific to the industry, such as Festival Coordinator, University Arena Events Administrator, Student Experience Officer, Group and Events coordinator, wedding planner…another infinite list!
Usually, all these job titles combine different elements of the main roles we already mentioned, and in terms of career growth, they are often preceded by the mentions: “junior”, “senior” and “head of”.
2- What should I consider when hiring an in-house event manager?
To accomplish a successful hiring process, you should define some strategic areas first:
- Why do you want to hire an event manager?
“Why do I want to hire an event manager?” This is the first question to ask yourself. Do you want to have a team member with a background in events to handle the work with an external agency execution, or do you wish to produce all the events in-house? The answer to these questions, along with the number and format of the events you wish to host, will determine the profile and seniority of the professional you need to hire.
- In which team will this professional work?
What will be the name of the team? Who will this event manager report to? Will this person work with a team or only external stakeholders? This will also be an important question to answer, because of the strategic attribution of the budget to the different teams.
- What are the event area strategy, targets, and KPIs?
What are the main goals you wish to achieve with events and how is the strategy in in-line with your company’s? Define all the KPIs you need to monitor and set the targets you want to achieve. If the event managers you’re interviewing ask about this during the interview, they can go directly to the “Maybe a fit” list.
- How much will the allocated budget be for events?
Last but not least is important to understand what the resources available are, and how you wish to invest them for the best results.
3- Which hard skills should a full-stack event manager master?
As we have seen so far, event manager roles are made of different skills and competencies. These are some of the main skills you will see on an event manager job description:
- Budget Management
One of the main duties is to allocate wisely the event budget and make the best results with the available resources. It’s important to always keep track of all the expenses and always have a reserve fund for emergencies, and the famous Plan B, C, or D that these professionals know so well.
- Project Management and Time Management skills
These professionals know better how to make use of momentum, and they know better than anyone the importance of time. They will be organized and deliver the different items of the project on time, as well as ensure all the stakeholders do the same.
Whether the event manager you are going to hire will manage all aspects of the event or will have the luck to count on a marketing team to assist in the communication tasks, he must know some marketing principles and tools.
- Technology Savvy
This hard skill will help your event manager in all aspects of his projects. The tech stack for an event manager often includes excel or another equivalent for budgets, project management tools, the company CRM, marketing and analytics tools, and of course, an in-person, hybrid, and virtual event platform such as SCOOCS.
- Availability to work on different schedules and /or locations
Event management is, most of the time, very different from a 9-5 job. It takes to work on night-shifts, week-ends and, in some companies, in different locations. If you want to hire and retain the right profile, it’s important to reward this availability and promote the event manager’s professional and personal life balance.
4- What are the soft skills that make an outstanding event manager?
These are some of the soft skills that you should add to your job description:
- Influence and negotiation
Your event manager will need to make agreements with several vendors and providers, and it’s important to negotiate the best conditions for the event and bulk purchases.
- Improvisation and flexibility
This is an important one – in this profession is important to do some last-minute improvisation and be flexible to change plans (and of course, to have anticipated the most possible unpredictable situations).
- Public Relations and communication skills
If you want your event manager to assume this task, you should hire a people person. Your event manager will like to be in touch with the audience, promote new connections and networking, and know how to learn more about the attendees’ needs to provide outstanding customer service.
Have we spoken about unpredictable situations and weird working hours yet?
5- What is important to consider for event managers that will manage virtual and hybrid events?
On top of the base skills stated above, event managers had to make a quick update with the pandemic. To manage virtual and hybrid events it’s important to learn more about best engagement and networking practices online, how to better communicate in front of a camera, A/V technology basics, and other technical tools that will help the event planner pull off the best results. And of course, to choose the right event platform for virtual and hybrid events!
If you want to avoid the main pitfalls when planning and hosting online events, read this interview with Jessica Lopes, event manager at HYPE Innovation, and learn her tips about event management. The interview is available also in a video and podcast format!