Tips for Making the Most of College Career Fairs

blog cover with image from career fair

Every year, organizations send their talent acquisition (TA) teams to college and university career fairs to meet the next class of job seekers. That’s because these career fairs are a cost-effective way of networking with a high volume of potential candidates, while also increasing company brand recognition.  

But how exactly can organizations use these events to make an impression and secure new talent?  

We’ve put together a list of tips for making the most out of college career fairs from our very own Director of Campus Relations, Adam Reese 

Tips to Make the Most out of Career Fairs

Your organization is investing time and other resources at every career fair your TA team attends. These tips can help you make the most out of your investment by converting career fair visits into qualified, strategic hires. 

Create a Social Media Campaign 

To make the most out of career fairs, you need to plan ahead. And that’s especially true for your social media strategy 

You should develop and kick off a social media campaign before career fair season even begins. A successful social media campaign can make attendees familiar with your brand, mission, and opportunities prior to the event. And when job seekers already know about your organization—and of course, your booth—they’re more likely to find you.  

To do this, create content that is: 

  • Engaging and informative 
  • Geared toward college seniors preparing to enter the workforce 
  • Showcasing opportunities, values, and other qualities that make your organization stand out from competitors 

And ultimately demonstrating why and how your organization is a great place to begin a career! 

Invite Specific Candidates to the Event

This is another way that your social media strategy can really make a difference. If executed well, social media can also help connect your talent acquisition teams with candidates before you even arrive at the career fair.  

Begin by taking note of who is interacting with your pre-career fair content. Then, do a preliminary assessment of these candidates. Based on experience or skills listed on their LinkedIn profile, do they seem like a good fit for your organization? If yes, then send a direct message that has key info like date and time. Let them know that you’d love to see them there! 

Another way of building an invitee list is by running LinkedIn searches with relevant terms, like location or skills. And remember, these aren’t the only candidates you want to meet! This just serves as a strategic starting point. 

Be Open to Different Backgrounds

Career fairs are an excellent way to meet new candidates you might not have otherwise met. You should use this event to expand your network for potential new hires.  

Skills-based hiring doesn’t apply only to candidates without degrees—it’s a great practice for hiring college grads, too! Don’t focus solely on whether a degree aligns with roles at your organization. Awards and honors, extracurriculars, campus involvement, and internships are also useful info for assessing a candidate. Not to mention, many students hold jobs throughout their education, picking up in-demand skills totally separate from their degree.   

Unless your roles are degree specific—like accounting or engineering—try using a skills-based approach to expand your talent pool at the next career fair.  

Have a Vibrant and Inviting Booth

Your booth is the first impression of your organization—it should be authentic, thoughtful, and welcoming. Having a vibrant and inviting booth will help you attract a high volume of candidates, and ensure those candidates remember your team when the career fair is over.  

There will be a lot of other companies out there, but you can use your booth to stand out from the crowd! When designing your setup, try to capture your company culture as well as your excitement for new hires. 

Make a Virtual Connection Right Away 

When setting up your booth, include a QR code or handle for your organization’s LinkedIn and other important websites. Making it as easy as possible for interested candidates to follow your accounts will boost interaction and keep them engaged and connected after the event. It can also make it easier for your talent acquisition team to catalog potential new hires, or reach out to them later on.   

Mobilize Alumni 

Making lasting connections is always easier when people have something in common—like their alma mater! It might not always be achievable, but having university alumni at the career fair is a great way to connect with the students and make a great impression.  

Plus, alumni are more likely to have network connections in common with the candidates. This makes them a valuable resource for your social media campaign, as any posts or shared posts will likely have higher candidate visibility.  

Prior to the career fair season, send out a schedule of events and see if anyone in your organization is available for the career fair at their college or university. 

Schedule Follow Ups or Next Steps 

Too often, employers will meet impressive candidates at career fairs but those individuals won’t make it to the interview process due to lack of follow-up from the organization.  

If you have an awesome conversation with a qualified candidate, don’t wait! Go ahead and ask if they would be interested in setting up the next steps, right then and there. 

Start Your Career Fair Strategy Today 

By planning ahead, being resourceful, and taking initiative, your talent acquisition teams can make the most out of college career fairs. Use these tips to get started on your plan, so you can expand your network and secure new talent that will take your organization further.  

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