Job seekers greeting employer at job fair

An Employers Guide to Job Fair Recruitment Strategy

Finding new talent at a job fair is kind of like speed dating. Both parties (employers and job seekers) arrive at a predetermined location, where they chat with one another in a given amount of time before the job seekers move on to the next employer. 

And just like speed dating, you hope to find that ideal person. Only in this case, it would be a highly qualified individual who adds value to your team and can get things done efficiently. A job fair is an excellent channel for recruiting new employees.

Having a solid job fair recruitment strategy can help your business stand out. An engaging team, a great looking booth, and the appropriate materials and promotional items are all important elements of your recruitment strategy.

The Steps to Recruit Talent at a Job Fair

Great employees are invaluable resources. Talent is hard to come by, and when you find someone brilliant, you hold onto them. Employees who work hard and efficiently are beneficial to your bottom line. A job fair recruitment strategy is important to define before the event. Here are our tips to do it successfully:

      Before the event…

  1. Set recruitment goals

    Whether you’re filling one position or 10, be sure to set recruitment goals before committing to a job fair. These goals should be attainable, so you can get the most out of the event as an employer. 

    A job fair that’s been vetted will be worth the time and money. Filling niche jobs will require a bit more attention. For example, if you’re filling a position for an internship, then you might want to look into college job fairs. Are you trying to hire vets? Veteran career fairs provide employment opportunities for those who’ve served in the military and their families. 

  2. Select the dream team

    Having the very best team to represent the company can attract new talent to the booth. The team selected should be knowledgeable about the organization, company culture, products and services, and the mission statement. It’s all about putting the brand in the best light. 

    While the dream team is your call, below you’ll find some employees you might want to consider bringing to the job fair:

    • Recruiters. Seeking out talent is what they do daily. A human resources recruiter can assist in collecting resumes and cover letters, and they can facilitate screening questions of candidates. 
    • Hiring Managers. The hiring managers know the details of the position. They can conduct on-site interviews, talk more thoroughly about the role, and answer any questions the job seekers may have about the organization. 
    • Team Members. Your staff can provide insight into the work culture, team dynamics, and the day-to-day details of the job. 
    • Designers. Having a designer present is essential for updating digital art files in a flash. If you’re showing a presentation, a video, or digital marketing materials, then you’ll be glad to have a designer as part of your recruitment team if you need to make quick changes. 
  3. Get marketing materials and promotional items purchased

    Order your marketing materials and promotional items before the event date. Items you might need to purchase include brochures, flyers, table covers, fun giveaways, and wall kits. If it applies to you, verify with the event coordinator that all sponsored advertising placements are on-brand and in their contractual locations at the venue. 

    Giving out promotional products is a great way to thank job seekers for stopping by your table. Swag items that serve a purpose and are easy to carry make excellent job fair gifts. Marketing yourself also means coordinating outfits. Be sure to get with your team about corporate apparel to wear during the event. 

  4. Prepare a list of questions

    Your time is short with each job seeker, so prepare a list of general questions to help field candidates. Asking about their experience with specific tools, past jobs, and skills is an excellent place to start. 

    Other questions you may want to ask include their interest in the company and future goals. These questions allow you to gain further insight into if they’re right for the job, and if they’re in it for the long-haul or may jump ship after a year. 

  5. Advertise where you’ll be

    Get the word out that your company is hiring by advertising the job fair. Promote this through social media, campus flyers, email blasts, etc. to reach as many qualified people as possible. Clearly state the event, venue location, time, date, booth number, and any other important information you think job seekers need to know. 

    You may want to include a statement about bringing a resume and cover letter, if on-site interviews will be conducted, and if job applications are available at the event.

    On the day of…

  6. Arrive early to set up the booth

    You never know what may happen on the day of. Give yourself and your team plenty of time to arrive at the venue to set up. You’ll need all hands on deck to unload the cars, assemble branding elements, connect computers to the network’s Wi-Fi, and layout the marketing materials and promotional items on the table. 

  7. Engage everyone while exercising good time management

    Engage with everyone, but do so with good time management. This can be tricky with a big turnout. However, make sure you’re not ending the conversation prematurely. Allow everyone an equal opportunity (in an appropriate amount of time) to learn about the job position, and let it end organically before moving on to the next person. 

    If you’re running interviews at the event, just be cognizant of the allocated time for each interview. Unlike chatting with job seekers at the booth, going overtime during interviews could result in another candidate not getting a fair interview. Jot down notes and relay any next-step information to the interviewees.

    After the job fair…

  8. Begin contacting the standout recruits

    If you met some exceptional talent, make sure you contact them quickly to set up a time and date for an in-office job interview. If there is still preliminary screening to do, you may be reaching out to candidates for a phone interview, skills assessment assignment, references, portfolio, etc. 

  9. Report on the results of your recruiting strategy

    Since it generally costs money for a company to participate in a job fair, corporate leadership will likely want a report on the turnout. You’ll want to measure the success of your recruiting strategy, which may also lead you to decide if improvements or amendments need to be made for the future. 

    There are tons of metrics you might be asked to report on. Here are a couple of examples:

    1. How many job seekers came to the booth?
    2. How many were interviewed at the event?
    3. How many resumes and cover letters were collected?
    4. Were positions filled with talent from the job fair? How many?
    5. What is the timeframe from the job fair to hire?

Why Job Fairs are Beneficial for Businesses

Job fairs are a great component of a business’s recruitment strategy because they open up the company to a large group of job seekers. Job posting sites can be expensive – especially for a small business or startup – and may not have the most intuitive technology to filter applications based on exactly what the hiring manager is looking for. 

Looking for talent to fill job positions at a job fair can save you time and money. Job postings on the web can sit for months, increasing the company’s expenses with nothing to show for it. At job fairs, you get to meet the job seekers in person, talk about their resume at that moment, get a feel for their personality, and see how they vibe with the team. You can say that the recruitment process is expedited. 

Questions Employers Need to be Asking

It can be quite a challenge to come up with a list of questions to ask job seekers at the event. See below for some of our suggestions that can help you spot talent!

  • Can you describe your experience as it relates to this field?
  • Why are you interested in this company and job?
  • What’s your preferred work environment? 
  • What are your salary requirements?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses? 
  • Why did you leave your last job?

With a solid job fair recruitment strategy in place, you’ll be able to attract qualified job seekers to your booth and fill open positions. Remember to act quickly when there’s a great candidate in your presence, as other companies are probably interested in him or her too. Bring them in for an interview and hopefully, you’ll be onboarding a new employee at your company soon!

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