It’s easy to put together a job description and place it on a job site. But do you know which questions to ask an event planner when you have them in for a job interview?
In this article, we’ll cover…
- The benefits of hiring an event planner
- Where to find good candidates
- Which questions to ask them
- How to evaluate their answers
Why you should hire an event planner
There can be many reasons why you might want to hire an event planner. Although a good event planner isn’t cheap, they can often save you from making costly mistakes.
1. Time management
There are many things to do in relation to organising an event, and time is your most valuable asset. A seasoned event planner can help you streamline the process and save you time.
2. Budget management
3. Stress management
Event planning is frequently cited as one of the most stressful jobs in the world. Seeing as you’ll have many other things to think about, why not outsource the extra stress to a professional?
Where to look for event planners
Now that you understand the benefits of hiring an event planner, let’s look at some places where you can find qualified candidates for organising your event.
The Approved Index is an event management directory that at the time of writing has almost 200 event planners listed on their site. You can also filter the results by location.
Although event.org.uk looks like it has been designed by a teenager in the ’90s, it does have plenty of active event management companies listed in alphabetical order.
The event management software provider Bizzabo has a comprehensive directory of companies that deal with event production, planning, and marketing.
Although CrunchBase isn’t really an event management directory, they do have a list of over 650 event planners from all over Europe. As a bonus, it also shows you different business figures.
The Association of Event Organisers has a list of event planners that are members of the association. There are currently over 80 to choose from in the association’s directory.
Here are the questions to ask an event planner
You now know why you might need to hire an event planner and where to find them. So far, so good. Let’s dive into the fourteen questions to ask an event planner during the interview.
1. What do you specialise in?
2. Which services do you offer?
Event planning consists of many moving parts, so make sure that your event planner is able to accommodate all of your needs. Examples include sourcing speakers and organising catering.
3. What is included in your fee?
Establish what you’ll get for your money, and what will cost you extra. Agree on a flat, hourly, or commission-based fee, and determine additional charges like travel expenses and support staff.
4. Who will work on the event?
Find out who your main point of contact is and how many other people will be involved in organising your event. Get an overview of who everyone is and how to contact them. (You might want to think of separate interview questions for event staff, too.)
5. How much time will you need?
How much time your event planner needs to organise your event will depend on the size and type of your event, as well as how many other events they’re working on at the same time.
6. How do you choose an event venue?
The venue will often be the biggest expense in your event budget, so it’s important that the event planner chooses it carefully. Ask this question to gauge their attention to detail.
7. Do you have good vendor contacts?
Choose an event planner who has good relationships with vendors that provide equipment, decor, transportation, catering, and entertainment. That way, you’re likely to get a good deal.
8. How do you manage the event budget?
Money is always an issue when planning an event, as it’s easy to lose control of the budget. Ask how the event planner will manage the budget and avoid spending too much.
9. How do you manage the timeline?
Like money, time is a critical factor in event organisation. It’s an important question to ask because your event planner might juggle multiple events at once—which is a major challenge.
10. What technology are you familiar with?
11. How do you manage event safety?
12. What are your cancellation and refund policies?
As with any other service provider, you should always know what happens if you cancel or want a refund. Make sure that’s stipulated clearly in the contract you sign so you avoid any surprises.
13. Do you have any official certifications?
While certifications aren’t super important, it can be reassuring if your event planner has some. Ask about their official education and whether they’re part of any industry associations.
14. How do you measure event success?
Finally, it’s essential that you agree on the metrics for success. Ask what data they look at and how they’ve incorporated feedback from previous clients to improve their performance.
Tools to help evaluate the event planner’s answers
There aren’t many tools specific to events when it comes to evaluating the answers you get. However, there are plenty of useful tools designed to evaluate job interview answers.
Here are some of them you can tweak to help you after the interview:
- The Manager Foundation has provided a comprehensive and customisable job interview evaluation form.
- The Vermont Government’s HR department has a quick and easy evaluation form you can also use.
- MaRS has a guide on how to design interview questions so it’s easy to rate the answers afterwards.
There are many relevant questions to ask an event planner before you consider hiring them. Asking them at the beginning will save you a lot of headaches and misunderstandings later down the line.
Have you hired an event planner in the past? Share your experiences with the community by leaving us a comment in the section below.