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Job Fairs: the Ultimate Guide for Recruiters

Derek Doeing
Derek Doeing  |  April 16, 2019

A large portion of the modern job hunt has shifted online. For recruiters, this can make the process of finding employees for an organization seem impersonal and difficult.

Job fairs offer a special alternative to the often-faceless world of talent acquisition. A job fair gives you the opportunity to meet with potential employees face to face and make a real connection.

Let’s set the stage for the rest of this discussion with some quick context.

Job fairs provide the opportunity for recruiters and potential employees to meet one another on a level playing field and determine whether they may be a good fit for each other. Think of it like speed dating for a job. It’s an ideal strategy, especially for campus recruiting efforts.

As a recruiter, job fairs may seem like a large undertaking, but when done right, can also lead to great results for your hiring pipeline. The biggest question you’re likely asking yourself is:

Are job fairs worth it?

It all depends on your goals. A smaller company looking for a handful of new hires may not be able to justify the resources and time it takes to attend a job fair. Larger companies that are quickly trying to up headcount may be more suited. Attending multiple job fairs allows you to reuse materials like brochures and pamphlets.

It’s important to recognize job fairs as a recruiting strategy that could be a big up-front investment, but at the end of the day is likely to yield positive results for your organization to find qualified talent. Perform a quick cost-benefit analysis to determine if a job fair is the right tactic for you. If you decide it’s the right move, you’ll want to go an extra step further and make sure you set yourself up for success.

How to succeed at a job fair?

Being successful at a job fair is all about building a great employer brand for your organization. An employer brand is how job seekers view your business as an employer and workplace. It’s a key element that your HR and marketing teams should be in control of.

It’s important to showcase your organization as attractively as possible while also painting an accurate picture of the company culture and what it’s like to work there. Not being able to envision working for a company is often people’s biggest obstacle in accepting a job offer.

Some easy ways to find success at a job fair:

  • Bring along one or two other people from the organization who can answer any questions a candidate may have about the company or open positions.
  • Have printed materials as a tangible item that candidates can take with them to remember your organization (swag items can also work for this purpose while drawing in passers-by).
  • Set aside time to conduct same-day interviews following the job fair to screen promising candidates while the conversation is still fresh.
  • Have materials prepared in case you want to make an offer and close the deal on a hire.
  • Use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to maintain a database of potential employees you speak to.

View the Easiest-to-Use Applicant Tracking Software →

Where should you start?

Begin by identifying what market you’d like to hunt for potential employees. There are all sorts of job fairs aimed at job seekers in specific markets and talents. Do your research into the different job fairs based on geographic location and industry to determine what type of talent is even available to you. Additionally, coordinate with your marketing team to help build your employer brand and create messaging for potential employees.

Job fairs are a key recruitment strategy when done right. Staying authentic to your organization’s values and goals will ensure you find the best talent to fill headcount.

The generational makeup of the American workforce is changing faster than ever, learn how you can recruit Millennials and Gen Z for your organization with these 3 proven strategies. 

Derek Doeing
Author

Derek Doeing

Derek is a former G2 staff writer who specialized in HR and recruitment trends and insights. He is a graduate of Iowa State University, a proud son of Chicago, and can usually be found discussing pop music, politics, or digital marketing on the internet. (he/him/his)