How to Get the Most Out of the Career Fair?

What is a Career Fair?

Contrary to what you might think, career fairs are an effective tool for hiring skilled workers. They provide a great opportunity to gain access to a large pool of potential applicants, while also promoting your company’s brand. Furthermore, attending such a fair was reported to increase the formal-sector employment ten months down the line.

However, with hundreds of people participating in a career fair, how can you have any chance to find the right person for any of your open positions? There actually are certain tips and tricks that might help you in that. Here’s how you can gain from such an event the most.

What is a Careers Fair?

The answer to the question of what is a career fair is simple – it is an event where company representatives can meet with their potential employees. Some people include in the career fairs definition that these potential employees are students or military veterans, but that’s not exactly true – in most cases, anyone can attend the fair.

When the time comes to determine, what is a job fair’s location, large hallways or even alleys come to mind first. There, you will have to set up a booth, and attendants will go from one booth to the other, asking questions they’re interested in. The decision of whether or not to attend a certain fair depends on who organizes the event and who is its main target audience. For example, if the job fair is organized by an IT department of a certain university, you should attend it if you have ties with the university or if you need a worker with this specific set of skills.

Why You Should Go to a Career Fair

If you’re wondering, what’s a job fair going to do for your company and whether it is even worth attending, take a look at these benefits you can get during this event:

  • You gain access to a wide array of qualified applicants – the people who attend career fairs are interested in finding a job and usually have a certain skill set that might suit your open position. That’s why it can be used as an initial screening of hundreds of potential candidates;
  • It saves time and money compared to a traditional hiring process – by meeting applicants at a career fair, you skip the initial step in the traditional recruitment process, where you try and attract potential candidates. You won’t need to post ads on job boards, so you can spend this time talking with skilled contenders face-to-face;
  • You meet and communicate with candidates in-person – while you always meet candidates during the interview stage of the hiring, talking to them at earlier stages might be more beneficial. This way the candidates are not just faceless resumes, they are people with goals and aspirations, and by sorting them out at an earlier stage you might have a higher chance of hiring the most appropriate candidate for the position;
  • You can meet candidates you might not have considered otherwise – in some cases, you might miss hiring a talented and driven person just because their resume is not as impressive. However, if they manage to impress you during the job fair, you will be more likely to consider them for the job;
  • It’s a great way to promote your brand – if you prepare a unique booth with memorable promotional material, your company’s brand awareness will be much higher, even if you won’t find any suitable job applicants. By the word of mouth, your company will then have a higher chance of attracting talented individual from the field you were presenting to;
  • You’ll be able to communicate with other companies’ representatives – career fairs are often filled with companies from the same field. It might be useful to have a connection with companies that work in the same field as you, as it may lead to mutually beneficial cooperation.

Tips for Career Fairs

To gain the most from a career fair, you need to come prepared. A lot of people will attend the career fair, meaning that you need to know what to do to stand out from the crowd. Here are a few tips that will help you with this task:

1. Set Your Main Goals and Pick Your Team

The first step of preparation for the career fair is defining clear and achievable goals. If you’re determined to fill a certain position, build your strategy around it. If your main goal is company promotion, focus more on that rather than attracting applicants.

Now, having a certain plan of action, you should choose your team accordingly. If you’re looking for a new member for a certain department, pick someone from that department to share their experiences, and convince the applicants that the job is worth it.

2. Design Your Booth and Promotional Materials

The size and specifications of your booth will depend on the event organizers, so make sure to learn more about the specifics early. Remember that your booth is the representation of your company, so try to highlight what makes it great.

To promote your company’s brand, your representation also needs to be memorable and it has to stand out among others. Brainstorm with your team the most creative way to attract the specific group of people you’re interested in, but don’t go too much over the top either.

3. Prepare Your Questions

To gain the most from your conversations with potential employees, you need to ask certain questions which might help you with that. The specific questions should depend on the audience you encounter, the position you’re trying to fill, the skills you’re looking for in a candidate.

What’s more important is that you and your team need to be prepared to answer a wide variety of questions applicants might have about your company as a whole and the open positions. Make sure each person at the booth can answer the general questions and provide enough information to persuade a person to give your company a shot.

4. Organize the Follow-Up Process

The way you organize the follow-up with candidates greatly influences the overall result of the job fair for your company. Make sure to provide clear instructions on who the applicants need to contact to gain more info and apply for a position. Make sure you save and follow up on every resume you’ve been given as well.

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