Getting the Most From Job Fairs
The goal of this guide is to provide actionable tips for employers attending job fairs. Written on behalf of Nimlock, a UK-based company with over 40 years of exhibition experience, the tips that follow represent decades of real job fair experience and accumulated wisdom.
Job fairs provide employers with the unique opportunity to promote their businesses and its philosophy to a receptive, engaged audience. Along with seeking full-time and part-time employees, job fairs are also an excellent way to bring interns into the company, while also allowing for networking opportunities with professionals throughout your industry in an informal and personable way.
However, your booth may be one in a veritable sea of employers -- and if you don't stand out, you stand the risk of being overlooked. What follows is are some techniques that can help maximize the traffic at your booth during job fairs, and help you make the most of your promotion investment.
Crafting Your Message
There are several potential goals to achieve at a job fair, including (not limited to) recruiting new employees, introducing a new aspect of your business (this could be a service or product), and promoting your brand. Choose one goal to focus on, and design your stand and literature to align with this message.
Researching who else will be exhibiting is a good idea, as it will give you an idea of what you’re up against, and will allow you to plan accordingly. Altering your message to fit with the vibe of the other exhibitors will prevent your business from seeming out of place. Knowledge of the floor plan is also useful, as it gives you an idea of how much space you have -- and who your neighbors will be.
Designing Your Stand
Consulting with a company that has with experience in exhibition displays before the job fair is a great idea. These specialists can advise you on how best to design your stand, and can work with you to design a stand that aligns with your message, brand, and objectives for the event. Your stand should communicate your message quickly and clearly, as passers-by may not stop to read excessive content. Not much more is needed than your mission statement and an easily digestible graphic. Any further information can be provided by your staff and available literature.
Preparing Job Fair Staff
Ensuring that your staff is prepared for the task is important, as job hunters will have a lot of questions about your business and any roles being advertised.
When possible, be sure to choose staff members who have experience working within the roles that you're hiring for, as they will be best able to field any questions that applicants have. Approachability is important also -- staff members should make an effort to engage job hunters as they pass by, instead of waiting for the traffic to come to them. The key thing is to make a good impression.
Selecting Literature & Brochures
While literature is secondary to engaging job seekers through your stand and staff, it's still an key aspect of the job fair.
A threefold approach is useful when deciding what literature to offer:
- Brochures about your business
- Information sheets about the roles advertised
- Business cards with contact information for your business and specific staff members.
As always, the literature provided should match your business’ image and brand, as well as your exhibition stand.
Once all other elements are in place, conduct a practice run of the job fair to ferret out out any problems in advance. This practice run should include setting up your stand from scratch, timing how long it takes, and practicing with a couple mock job hunters.
It's also vital to ensure you follow up any leads from the job fair. Any potential candidates for roles should be contacted as soon as possible, preferably by the person they spoke to at the job fair, to keep their interest in the position at a high level.
- Decide what your focal goal is
- Find out who else is exhibiting
- Design a stand which is attractive and provides concise information
- Choose approachable, experienced staff for your stand
- Provide literature about your company, roles offered, and staff present
- Do a practice run
- Follow up on leads soon after the job fair has taken place