Capturing Attention at Career Fairs: How the Pros Do It


The career fair is one of those tools that is as lucrative as you and your hiring team make it. Sometimes considered the speed dating of hiring, it is truly all about that first impression, only instead of having to give recruiters a chance, job seekers can choose which booth they speak with. That means, in a frenzy of table toppers, branded t-shirts and paper resumes, everyone from job seeker to company representative, is trying to stand out above the rest. The real kicker is that somewhere in that concert hall, amazing talented individuals are hoping to be the next great hire. How do you get them?

Find the Right Fair

As mentioned, career fairs tend to be brimming with job seekers, many of which are talented, but not the right fit for your company. Choosing a career fair that is geared more to the specific skill sets for which you are trying to hire will ensure neither you nor the candidate are met by any surprises. For instance, many college campuses host fairs through specific schools, cutting down the crowd to a more niche group of candidates. This helps recruiters tailor their message, too.

Lay Some Pre-Fair Ground Work

If you want optimal reach, don’t start networking at the career fair; it starts before. Speak with career fair representatives about any ways you can contact participants prior to the event. Consider what would get your desired candidate to your booth and provide that in a digital format to be sent on to potential participants. For example, personalize a short email about your company, benefits for working with your team and where your booth will be. The coordinator probably won’t hand over mailing lists, but they might forward an email on if you mock up the text.

Tweet This: If you want optimal reach, don’t start networking at the career fair, try this instead: 


Be Prepared to Interview

Flash interviews are quick 15 to 20-minute interviews that happen immediately, and in this case, at the career fair. Incorporating this into your booth is great for multiple reasons. For one, a candidate is going to be so excited at the chance to knock down one step in landing a position. Secondly, your recruiters can use the technique to begin screening potential hires for skills and fit. Lastly, an effective employee interviewing process, no matter how short, will do wonders for the employer brand and possibly result in a great reputation among the friends of interviewees, even if they don’t receive an offer. If your team is small, try to schedule flash interviews prior to the event. This can be done via your career site or through the email you send to the fair coordinator.


Tweet This: Have you tried any of these tactics before a Career Fair? What are your favorite tactics?


Go Beyond the Booth

Often times these career fairs aren’t just about introducing job seekers to employers. In fact, more often than not, these events are created to support better employment skills. For this reason, fair coordinators might just welcome a presentation, panel discussion or any form of continued real-world education. These additional ideas can focus on logistics, like resume writing and interviewing tips or they might discuss industry specific career advice, like how the engineering field is changing or what you really need in a creative portfolio. Some fairs even allow companies to present on their own organization.

Get Technology on Your Side

There is an app for that. Seriously, there is an app for events just like this one and you should be using it to interact with the participants who are introverted or simply have never heard of your organization before. However, if the career fair doesn’t have an app, be sure your career site’s URL is displayed and mobile optimized. Recruitment technology shouldn’t be ignored, career fair or not. Most job seekers are savvy, which means they know to research an employer before applying or speaking with a representative. With 86% of candidates using their smartphone to begin a job search, you can bet they will Google your organization and possibly while they stand a few feet from your booth. Don’t discourage the interaction by having a website that is difficult to access or read via a small screen.

Tweet This: Get technology on your side at your next Career Fair. Here is why: 

The career fair has been getting flack recently. Some may see it as a waste of resources, but with a little planning, your company’s participation can mean quality, qualified new hires.

Looking for more information to stay on top of market trends and methodologies to source, attract and acquire quality talent? Check out Talent Talk, our very own blog full of advice on everything from talent acquisition to talent management best practices!


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