Career fairs have long been a resource for businesses in search of entry level employees who are entering the work force fresh out of college and earning their degree. In fact, in a 2012 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, college students slated to graduate in the Class of 2013 named career fairs as one of the top places they’d go to find out information about an employer.
At times it seems as though if you’ve seen one career fair, you’ve seen them all — a gymnasium or auditorium filled with row after row of folding tables featuring brochures and signage for companies representing a variety of industries and offering positions in sales, operations and human resources. Among the sea of company representatives waiting for an opportunity to distribute their business cards are usually one or two booths that stand out from the rest, either because of an unconventional format or over-the-top setup.
Most companies strive to be the one that stands out to attendees at a career fair, but many fear they lack the resources to accomplish that goal. At Power, we’ve put a lot of time and energy into creating a career fair experience that will offer prospective employees a sneak peek into what our business is all about. Here’s a glimpse of our top three tips for making an impression on recruits through your career fair presence:
Preparation is key: At career fairs, each company typically has a very small window to make a good impression on attendees. If your signage is askew or your representatives aren’t ready to go with business cards and company brochures the moment the doors open, you could lose out on valuable time with potential recruits. By putting together a calendar of career fairs at the start of each season, creating a consistent list of and stocking up on booth materials to have on hand ahead of time, and making sure whomever is staffing the booth has ample time to set up on-site, you can rest easy knowing you’re making the most of every second.
Find a way to engage: Candidates are obviously attracted to booths that boast large and splashy signage or promote interesting giveaways, but what if you don’t have the resources to do either? Look for other unique ways that are consistent with your brand to get the attention of curious job seekers walking past. Consider implementing simple technology into your setup to draw people in, and always select a company representative with an outgoing, dynamic personality to staff the booth. Never assume people will just come to you, but instead, encourage your reps to get out from behind the table to appear more approachable and open to conversation as people pass by. Many attendees may be at their first career fair, hoping for a chance to speak with potential employers but anxious about how to make the first step. Eliminate that anxiety for them by striking up conversation and giving a positive impression of your business.
Follow up is a must: Once the floor closes for the day, take the time to reach out to any contacts that were made that seem like they could be a good fit for your company. Don’t risk losing out on talent by waiting too long to follow up. If an attendee gave you their resume, and fits your requirements, it’s likely another employer in attendance is considering an interview with him/her as well. Put together a policy ahead of time with your on-site representatives to ensure follow up is taking place in the manner that works best for you.
With this year’s crop of college graduates hitting the job market in the very near future, many bright and talented men and women will soon be (or already are!) looking for opportunities in our industry. Career fairs are always a great way to get in front of those prospective recruits — provided you take the time to do it right.