After work this evening I met one of my HR friends and fellow local SHRM chapter board members for a beverage and some snacks. We were chatting and catching up and talking about how busy the last few months were with the amount of job fairs going on in our area. Recruiting for specific positions at his organization has been really difficult and competitive. We got talking about how yes, you go to job fairs in the hopes of leaving with a few candidates you can hire. BUT also, and almost more importantly, what was the impression that ALL of the attendees got about your company, whether they are potentially current candidates or not?
We talked about our experiences at job fairs where the other employer tables on either sides of us were disengaged or even flat out not friendly. Then what is the point of even coming? I’ve even heard people murmur, “there’s no good candidates here, let’s get out of here.”
Hey HR, if you’re going to attend a job fair…
- Be prepared – flyers, business cards, swag, whatever it may be. Give a few minutes of thought into the flow of your table and what you should bring. You don’t have to have the nicest pop up sign to have a clean and organized look.
- Be on time. This goes both ways meaning you get there early and are fully set up before the event starts, and you stay until it ends. I can’t tell you how many times the table next to me packed up and left early and I saw a candidate who rushed to get there to meet that company and they were gone. What message is that sending about your company? If you need to have multiple team members come throughout the day in shifts then plan to do so.
- Stand, if you can! Standing and glancing around the room smiling and making eye contact is what gets people to come over, even if they weren’t originally planning to see your company. Sitting at the table looking at your phone or working on your laptop does not look welcoming.
- Don’t just tell everyone who comes to the table to apply online. Come prepared with some copy, knowing your EVP and brand. You have FACE TIME to tell people not just who you are and what openings you have, but WHY they should work for you!
- Last but not least… do not clean out your purse. YEP. My friend witnessed it. The rep at the table over dumped out her purse and was rummaging through and making piles on the table of keep vs garbage.
When you attend a job fair you have the opportunity to make connections, raise awareness and create excitement, don’t waste it!