How to nail the job fair

Denise Martinez Tips & Tricks

With all the talk lately about digital marketing, social media connections and mobile recruiting, it’s easy to forget that some of the best talent comes from in-person meetings, like job fairs. While a long-standing tradition for many recruiters, job fairs still bring their fair set of challenges.

Here are some tips for working the job fair:

Have all your ducks in a row
You’re representing your firm, so you need to be professional and well-prepared. In a situation where there are perhaps hundreds of other potential employers, you can’t afford to look shoddy. Make things as easy as possible for job seekers. Fill out all necessary paperwork in advance, ERE.net suggests. Also double check that the fair has listed accurate directions to your booth and that the description truly reflects what your company does.

Know what you’re looking for
What spaces do you need to fill? What kind of talent is on your radar? It’s important to think about the answers to these questions ahead of time. Create promotional materials that reflect the kind of job seekers you’re interested in. If you’re looking for tech talent, marketers will be wasting time by hanging around your booth, and sorting through their resumes won’t make life any easier for you either.

Get personal
A booth can sometimes create a wall between the potential applicant and recruiter. Don’t let this happen. Rather than sitting at a table while talking to candidates, get up and talk with them face-to-face. Recruiters don’t always have the chance to be out in the real world with job seekers. Take advantage of the opportunity to really build trust and rapport.

Use the right applicant tracking system
Even in the realm of the job fair, digital plays a role. After all, the goal is to get new contacts into your talent pipeline, which means adding them to the applicant tracking system. When you use outmoded systems, you’re likely to drop the ball somewhere. Upgrade to an ATS that has a mobile app recruiters can use when on the road. Don’t rely on inputting data you’ve collected in a spreadsheet. You’ll be brokenhearted when you realize you entered a strong candidate’s email address incorrectly and can’t find the original spreadsheet.

As Recruiting blogs so eloquently puts it, “Never bring Excel to a CRM fight. You’re going to lose.”

Integrate social
At events, having a vibrant social presence helps integrate the online and in-person experience. It also gives other potential job seekers who might not be in the region a chance to see what you’re up to. Have recruiters tweet while they’re at the fair. Social recruiting strategies can also keep job seekers engaged with your employer brand after they leave the fair. Make sure the business cards you hand out reference your social channels so candidates can refer back to them.

Job fairs still work, but digital tools can improve these events even more by allowing recruiters to effectively integrate the online and in person experiences.

Jobscience | Beyond the Applicant Tracking System