Career fairs are one of those events where many employers participate in because it increases visibility of their company to jobseekers, and it’s also a great place to hire many junior or entry level staff, although I’ve known experienced people who were hired through career fairs.
To maximise what you get from a career fair, it all comes down to companies realising this simple fact:
At a career fair, YOU are the face of your company.
Many people you will meet at a career fair may know very little about your company, and for them, you will represent everything they will know about your business. Therefore that impression you leave with them will affect whether they are interested to apply to your company, and this impression will even extend to your business brand.
So with that concept in mind, here are some ideas on how you can maximise your results at a career fair:
1) Select the right employees to man your booth
Because they represent your company, you want to put your best people forward. We recommend diversity, and people who are confident, articulate and friendly. You don’t need to limit these people to just your recruiters or HR division. In fact, if you have non-HR people there, jobseekers can get a better sense of who they will be working with, rather than just relying on your HR team to be the bridge between jobseekers and your business.
Select their background based on what type of jobseekers you expect to find at the career fair. For example, if you are looking to hire technical IT people, have a technical employee with you at the booth.
2) Train them to sell your organisation
How would you want your guys to represent your company? What should they be communicating to jobseekers about your business, your vision, and what’s great about the company? Have a clear consistent message. One of the greatest tools of marketing is to have a consistent message. And you are in the marketing world right now. Here’s an article on how companies like Apple using consistent messages in marketing, and also some techniques which you can use to develop a consistent message for your brand as an employer.
Do note that it’s important to avoid the temptation of the hard sell. Be informative without being imposing or desperate. And before launching into a sales pitch, always ask the jobseekers about them, so you know if it’s relevant. Be easy to talk to. If you hard sell too much, jobseekers will wonder if you are struggling to hire people, which damages your employer brand.
3) Be clear about the positions to focus on
Every employee at the booth should know in detail the positions that you are trying to fill. This makes it easy for them to decide which jobseekers they should focus on, and also linking these jobseekers to actual positions in the company, rather than adopting a generic approach to all conversations.
4) Plan a systematic way to store CVs
You will be getting CVs from three channels: hardcopies, from USB pendrives, and emails. Decide on a system to organise these CVs so you don’t miss out on any later, and you won’t have a headache when you realise the hundreds of CVs are all over the place. Have a box for hardcopies, a dedicated folder on your computer for CVs downloaded from USB pendrives, and maybe even a dedicated email address that jobseekers can send their CVs to later?
Some recruiters prefer to use their own email addresses, as it makes it easy to track who they actually spoke to during the day and its much more personal. This is okay, as long as you know how to organise your own email account in case you do not have time to immediately go through these CVs when you are back in the office.
But this also brings us to next point, which is…
5) Go through the CVs as quickly as you can, after the career fair
Many companies see the career fair as the main event, and once this pool of CVs have been collected, they postpone going through them until a later date when the need to recruit is more urgent.
However, going through these CVs sooner has many advantages, including the fact that you will remember the candidates better, and you know they are actively looking right now, so you won’t waste time calling them a few months later when most of them would have found a job. Also, jobseekers will be impressed at the efficiency of your team, as most companies will probably take a longer time to respond.
6) Make your booth look awesome
I cannot emphasise this enough. Your booth is going to give you personality. It’s the first thing jobseekers see, even before they speak to anyone. The better your booth looks, the more people will pop by to have a conversation. Use bright colours that represent your brand, and make it fun. You can even have demonstrations or props that are relevant to your business.
Here are some other ideas on how you can build a booth that will attract more jobseekers during the career fair.
7) Let jobseekers leave the booth feeling happy they dropped by
Be personable and kind to everyone to comes by the booth. You will come across many jobseekers on the day that you will not hire. But remember to still spend some face time with each person, even if you know that you would never hire them. These people may still be users of your company’s product, whether now or in the future, and they may have friends that you will want to hire, so maintain the best image you can as a respectable company and employer.
Need more ideas about how to sell your company as an employer?
Drop me a line, and I will be happy to give you some input.