Trade shows are unique in a number of ways and when one does interviewing people for a trade show team, there is a lot to take into consideration, often things that you usually do not factor in when looking for the most suitable candidates for a certain position.
First of all, the search for a trade show team will most likely begin from inside the company. If it is a large company with dozens or hundreds of employees, chances are that you will be first looking for people who are already part of the company and who would be the perfect addition to the team you are assembling.
On the other hand, there are cases when the company does not already employ the talent and where you might need to go outside for your needs; hiring some interns or someone just for the purposes of exhibiting at a trade show, with or without a potential option for further employment.
When you factor in possible miscellaneous members of your team, such as professional actors that you might employ for your demonstrations or support teams in case your trade show display is especially intricate or high-tech; it becomes obvious that we are talking about many interviews, all with different themes and topics and all being used to find the best possible person for the job.
Above everything else, you will need people who know how to talk to people, individuals who are best described as people-persons. Trade shows are done face-to-face and interaction is the name of the game when it comes to assembling a trade show team.
What this means is that you will want to ensure that your applicant is comfortable when talking to people and when presenting something. You can always do a bit of role-play where they will be asked to present a product of some kind, in a way that will be interesting and attractive to potential visitors to your booth.
In addition to this, you will need to identify applicants who are willing and ready to show initiative. Trade shows are extremely lively and busy and you cannot afford to have passive people working your booth, letting the visitors pass them by because they are not ready to apply themselves and reach out to the people who are passing by.
These future members of your team who will be active and initiating new exchange with visitors, potential clients and partners will also tend to be innovative as they will often need to change the course and come up with new ways to interact with people. You can find a lot on how to find true innovative thinkers in an interview here.
Depending on your industry, you will also want to look for people with technical knowledge which is much easier to find if you are interviewing in-house, but which can be a problem if you go out of your company in search for the members of the team. Furthermore, it would be a plus if they are tech-savvy in general (with new iPad stands and all kinds of high-tech gizmos being used for trade show purposes) and if they know how to employ social media to enhance your trade show attendance.
When asking them about their technical knowledge and especially their social media presence and such, you need to be sure to keep things strictly professional, asking them how they would use their Twitter profile to promote your booth, for instance.
Last, but not the least, your trade show team will need people with leadership skills. You will need such members due to the fact that you will most likely not be able to be at your booth 24/7 and that you will have other things to do. This is when you will need your “leaders” to take over and ensure that things are running smoothly.
Identifying leadership skills in an applicant is never easy because most applicants will try to present themselves as natural-born leaders and as we all know, not everyone is. This is a great article on how to identify leaders among the applicants.
If you manage to identify and hire the best people for your trade show team, your company will reap all of the benefits of exhibiting at fairs and shows, including the growth of your customer base, formation of new partnership and raising awareness of your brand and business in general.