How to attract the best applicants at job fairs

The success of your business depends heavily on the talent you can attract during the recruitment process

The success of your business depends heavily on the talent you can attract during the recruitment process. Job fair exhibitions in the UK are a fertile, but heavily competitive, hunting ground for top talent. So, how do you ensure that the time and resources invested at a job fair will land you your preferred candidates? This guide will provide winning strategies to drive top-tier applicants to your booth.

Advertise your presence

Potential hires need to know, beforehand, that your organization will be participating in the job fair. Interested job seekers might already be following your official social media pages, so social media should prominently feature in your marketing strategy.

Make an effort to be featured prominently in the marketing efforts carried out by the job fair organizers. It also helps to independently advertise your participation in the days leading up to the job fair. This allows suitable applicants to come prepared to engage you and your team.

Bring the right team

Job fairs are all about your organization creating a positive first impression. Not everybody is well cut out for face-to-face recruitment. Ensure that your team includes the members of your organization that can paint you in a positive light to your applicants.
In a crowded job fair environment, showing that you offer an awesome working environment might just tip the scale in your favour when it comes to high-value job prospects.

Offer giveaways and refreshments

Your success at a job fair depends on how well you can stand out from the crowd. One way to create a buzz around your booth is to offer refreshments and snacks. You don’t need an astronomical catering budget either; you can make do with tea, coffee, and some cakes and cookies.
Giveaways are also an effective strategy to drive foot traffic to your booth.

Try to get branded items that suit your business and the target demographic you are going for. Younger crowds respond better to electronics such as flash drives and power banks. Branded items of clothing (especially caps and shirts) are popular across the board.

Make your brand visible

Don’t make it difficult for applicants to find your booth at the trade fair. Ensure that you have posters and banners throughout the location. Your booth should also prominently feature your branding. Your team should wear standardized shirts or clothing with your brand on it, as well as prominently placed name tags.

List the job opportunities available to new applicants

Ensure that all the visitors to your booth know the positions that you are looking to fill, as well as their requirements. This serves two main purposes. First, it will encourage engagement from the job fair participants who suit your needs.
Second, you will avoid overcrowding at your booth as participants can easily determine whether they are suitable for the roles you are offering. You want to attract prospective employees but overcrowding might drive them off to competing booths.

Be proactive in applicant engagement

Your team shouldn’t just adopt the passive role of waiting for applicants. Have one or two members walk around canvassing the crowd and engaging with the job fair participants. Having branded clothing helps makes it easy for prospective employees to notice and engage them. Your booth layout should also encourage one-on-one interaction with applicants. 

Remove barriers such as tables between your team and interested applicants to make your organization approachable. Have someone with great interpersonal skills positioned outside your booth to encourage interested participants to get to know your organization and the opportunities you are offering.

Print out brochures

Every visitor to your booth should be handed a brochure introducing your company and the available employment opportunities. You can take this a step further by having a few members of your team going around the venue and handing them out. Ensure that your contact details are displayed prominently in all printed material.

Not every job fair attendee will have time to interact with your team directly. Brochures allow them to learn more about your organization after they leave the trade fair. They can even be handed over to prospective employees who did not attend the fair.

Be prepared to interview top-tier applicants

For every available position, you should have personnel in place to interview applicants that are well suited for your organization. Always remember that you are competing with other organizations for the same available talent.

Holding an interview shows an applicant that you are serious with the job offer, and this might be enough to convince them to end their job search and commit to your organization. Have a small desk at the back of your exhibition booth to be able to conduct interviews away from the crowd. Also, be prepared to answer the most common questions applicants may have regarding your organization and the opportunities on offer.

Follow up with suitable applicants

Encourage all applicants to leave their contact details so that you can contact them after the fair. A waiting period of 24-48 hours should be appropriate. Let them know that you are interested in working with them, and encourage them to forward their resumes and possibly, attend an interview.

The takeaway

If approached the right way, a job fair offers the perfect opportunity for organizations to link up with talent needed to meet their strategic goals. The strategies provided in this guide will help you stand out in a crowded field and attract top-tier applicants.

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The British Institute of Recruiters is the Professional Body operating The Recruitment Certification Scheme

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