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Before becoming a recruiter, Source and Recruit's Rachel Connor spent fifteen years as a professional event planner with a countless number of hours spent working at job fairs and tradeshows. As we know, job fairs are a popular way for job seekers to meet, network, and apply for various employment opportunities. These events cost participating organizations time, money, and resources to participate so what can they do to maximize their return on investment? These are her tips to make job fairs a valuable and productive experience.
There are three components to any event:
Before any event you will need to determine your goals for participating.
Is this event being used as a marketing opportunity?
Do you have specific roles that you are hiring for?
Are you using this event to network and grow your business?
Are there educational opportunities available for staff?
It is important to define your goals so you can prepare for the show based on your priorities.
Branding and design elements will impact the first impression you make with event attendees.
What is your table or booth going to look like?
Do you have signage and collateral that will represent your organization to potential job seekers or business partners?
Does your table have a tablecloth that will need to be ironed?
What marketing materials will you be bringing and in what quantities?
Does your company have giveaways that you will be handing out to entice candidates to your table?
Will your company representatives attending the event be wearing branded apparel?
Are you recruiting for specific roles and do the attendees know what they are?
Printed copies of job descriptions or a list of openings are always helpful and informative. All these things need to be planned, ordered, and organized weeks before the event.
Lead collection is arguably the most important element of any tradeshow. Having a pre-planned, streamlined way to collect and organize leads you meet at the event is essential. Some events provide lists of the preregistered attendees and exhibitors before the event and if this is the case it is a good idea to review the list prior to the big day. Identify the people on the list that are important for you to connect with and send them a message that you are looking forward to meeting them at the show.
Some shows will provide lead collection technology so you can scan badges. All organization representatives that will be working the event must understand how to use these devices and the importance of collecting leads. As an alternative, you can create your own lead collection process with google forms or a web form so people can easily share their information for follow-up. It is also customary for job seekers to bring resumes. It might be helpful to bring pens and a clipboard so you can make notes on resumes to help you remember how to follow up with each candidate after the show, along with a folder or box to get them all home with you.
Be sure to arrive at the event early so you have plenty of time to set up. Take an opportunity to walk around the event so you can get an understanding of the other employers that are participating and network with them. Gain an understanding of the venue; bathrooms, food, exits, and the location of any educational sessions. Take a few minutes to review the schedule of events so you can have an idea of times that might potentially have higher candidate traffic.
It is important to have at least two staff covering your booth. These events can be long so it is important that people can take breaks and while keeping a representative available at the table to engage with participants. It is also important to have staff present skilled in sales/customer service that can draw people in for conversation. Many job seekers have introverted personalities and will be intimidated to engage with employers so make sure your staff is friendly and welcoming. You want your company’s representatives to have a clear understanding of the roles you are recruiting for so they can have productive conversations with candidates.
Important: Take pictures and post information on social media about your participation so you can help promote the event and your company!
These events can be overwhelming for participants, so you must take time to follow up with your highly qualified candidates within a reasonable timeframe. The people you met at the show are looking for opportunities and with a competitive job market, you need to make sure you engage with candidates before they are offered other opportunities.
Lastly, get feedback from the staff that participated in the show. Was it a productive use of time? Is this show something the organization should participate in again? What can we do better? What did we do that was effective? It is important to evaluate if the event met the organization’s goals for participating and if it should be considered in the future.
Job Fairs can be a productive and effective way to engage with highly qualified candidates if you take the time to determine your goals, plan your approach, engage with attendees, collect leads, and follow up with candidates. Hopefully, these tips will help your organization increase its effectiveness and productivity when attending job fairs.