For the last several years, I have attended countless job fairs, observing many different approaches to recruiting. Some companies seem to have an endless line of people at their booth, eager to learn more. Why is that? What are they doing differently? Here are some simple tips to help make your company a "Job Fair Standout."
Before even registering for any job fair, assess your needs by answering these two questions:
- What positions will you be hiring for?
- Who are your ideal candidates?
By answering these questions, you will be better prepared to market your offerings and know which career fairs are best suited for your needs. This marketing knowledge and being at the right place will help you grab the attention of the right participants. It is also important to be actively hiring, as you will naturally be more engaging with your audience if there is an end result in site.
Use Your Swag
Job seekers probably have less experience attending these events and can feel overwhelmed by the process. Help them feel at ease by using your collateral to engage them as they walk by. Making eye contact and greeting people as they walk by opens the door to a good conversation. By doing this you will leave a favorable impression in their minds.
Manage Booth Overflow
During heavy "traffic" times, you may even have a line of people interested in speaking with you. To avoid losing potential applicants, have ample representation at your booth. Contact the job fair organizer to inquire about how many people attended this event last year, and if there were certain high traffic times. This can help you better prepare your staffing levels.
Provide Curbside Appeal
Your booth set should be clean and free of clutter, giving off a professional vibe. Even more important than the booth's appearance, is the impression your representatives give. Nothing screams "don't approach me" more than sitting, eating, or checking your smart phone while working the booth. It's all about smiling, meeting, greeting and talking to people.
Job fairs tend to have peaks and valleys of activity. For the peaks, be sure to keep your conversations brief and effective. By preparing a 30-second elevator pitch you'll get your message across more quickly to more people. Your message can describe your open positions, your company culture and, if applicable, your job application process.
Connecting with people at a job fair is not about hiring them on the spot, or having a full fledge interview. It's about both parties generating enough interest to set up the next meeting. Think of it like speed dating. Doing so might have you smiling this upcoming job fair season.
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Heidi Sawyer brings a fresh and common sense approach to personal development, along with more than 15 years of experience in sales, marketing and training. Since 2006, she has specialized in working with small businesses and non-profit organizations on their employment advertising campaigns, helping them to reduce costs and make the right hire the first time. It is her creativity and passion for helping others that lead her to the role of Field Marketing Coordinator for JobsInTheUS.com. Heidi has been a key player in developing and facilitating an internal community outreach team as a way to foster an engaged staff, while giving back to others in our community. You can reach Heidi at hsawyer (at) JobsInDE.com and LinkedIn.com/in/HeidiSawyer.