Job Fair Recruiting: Etiquette, Tips and Tricks for Employers

If your company is hiring several positions and wants to quickly find a large selection of candidates, try attending a job fair. By following proper job fair etiquette, you’ll successfully recruit and attract employees who are qualified for the role and excited to work at your company. Learn more about what job fair recruiting is, the benefits of participating in it and how to prepare for and take part in one.

 

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What is job fair recruiting?

A job fair is an event that employers and recruiters attend to find qualified candidates to fill their company’s open positions. Candidates attend job fairs to learn more about available roles in different industries and fields. Colleges host career fairs for students to find entry-level positions to pursue after earning their degree. Other organizations hold job fairs for community members and local businesses to attend. Job fairs are a great place to meet diverse candidates and learn about their backgrounds, skills and qualifications to determine if they’re a good fit for your company.

 

Benefits of participating in a job fair

Participating in a job fair is a great way to gain access to many potential candidates who are eager to start a new role. Common benefits of taking part in a job fair include:
 

  • Building awareness of your company and its purpose: If your company is new, a job fair helps others learn more about it and the services you provide. Job fairs are a way for candidates and community members to discover your company and tell others about it. 
  • Choosing from a wider selection of candidates: You’ll find numerous candidates at a job fair, especially if it’s held in a large school or city. This gives you a wider selection of impressive applicants to choose from, which increases the likelihood of finding a high-performing employee. 
  • Networking with other business professionals: There are many businesses and recruiters who attend job fairs. This gives your company’s recruiters and hiring managers a chance to network with each other. Recruiters often build connections with one another to refer candidates to each other if the candidate seems better suited for a different company. 

How to get ready for a job fair

Before attending the job fair, pick out which materials to bring, select team members to represent your brand and tell others you’ll be at the event. Putting time into preparing for this event makes it easier for you to make a positive first impression. Follow these steps to get your business ready for the job fair:

 

1. Develop your recruitment and hiring goals

Meet with your team members beforehand to discuss and determine your goals for recruiting a new employee. Define the qualities, traits and characteristics of your ideal employee. Set goals that establish which roles you’re searching for at the event, so your employees know which positions they’re aiming to fill when meeting candidates.
 

Establishing job search goals also helps you determine which events to attend. For instance, if you hope to hire an IT specialist, plan to attend a job fair for IT professionals or attend college career fairs if you’re filling entry-level or internship roles.

 

2. Create booth designs and order merchandise

An effective way to represent your company is through your marketing material, merchandise and booth designs. Order fun merchandise with your logo on them that will make attendees want to stop and learn more about your business. These can be basic and practical items like pens, pencils or notepad. Give away unique items as well, like laptop cases, portable chargers or insulated water bottles.
 

Build brochures and other materials that inform candidates about your company’s benefits, employees and values. Collaborate with your graphic designer to create interesting signs and booth designs that best represent your company and makes you stand out from other businesses.

 

3. Think of questions to ask candidates

Since you’re meeting with several candidates during the event, have a list of questions prepared to quickly get to know each person. Start by asking about their education, experience and career goals to determine if you have any relevant roles available. If you don’t have any open roles for them, request their information to contact them in case a role that matches their skills and interests is available later on. For candidates whose qualifications match any of your open roles, ask them more in-depth questions about their skills and experience. Examples include:
 

  • “Do you have experience using the software needed for this position?”
  • “Why do you think you’d be a great fit for this role?” 
  • “What do you already know about this company?” 

 

4. Market and advertise your attendance at the event

Tell others a few weeks in advance that your company is attending a job fair by marketing it on social media or announcing it on your website. Write social media posts that inform your followers you’re hiring and encourage them to learn more about your available positions at the job fair. Ask your audience to share these posts with candidates in their network who seem like a great fit for your company. Use your advertising budget to boost your social media posts to reach more people.
 

Related: Public Relations Manager Job Description Sample

 

Tips for a successful job fair

If you have a fun booth design and an engaging team with you at the event, you’ll attract many impressive candidates to contact later and bring on-site to interview further. Here are some tips to follow for a successful job fair experience:

 

Provide business cards and wear name tags 

Maintain your professionalism throughout the career fair by wearing name tags and providing business cards with your information on it. Each of your team members should have name tags for attendees to easily identify and acknowledge them. Your recruiters and hiring managers should have business cards to distribute to potential candidates. This makes your company easier to remember and simple to contact to gain more information about the role.

 

Arrive early to set up the booth

Get to the event at least 30 minutes to an hour before it starts. This gives you enough time to get used to the surrounding environment, hang your signs and lay out your materials on the table. You’ll feel more relaxed and comfortable knowing you have plenty of time to set up and prepare for attendees.

 

Reach out to employees after the event

After collecting names, contact information and resumes, reach out to qualified candidates a few days after the event. Contacting them soon helps applicants more easily remember you and allows you to meet with candidates before they interview with a different company they connected with at the event. Invite these candidates to a formal interview in the office to get to know them further.

 

Measure your results to determine what to improve for the next event

After interviewing with candidates you met at the event, get together with your HR team and employees who attended the job fair. Ask them their thoughts and impressions of the candidates they met. Determine how many candidates at the event were valuable, qualified and impressive enough to interview. If it was successful, decide whether to attend the same event again or sign up for similar events.

 

Frequently asked questions about job fair etiquette

 

How do you attract students at a career fair?

Attract more students to your booth with attractive and clear signage. Make sure your banners, signs and other materials announce that you’re hiring and which roles you’re hiring for. Many students are eagerly searching for a great role right outside of college, so they’ll stop at booths that advertise positions that seem appealing and relevant to their major. Your signage must also state that you’re looking for entry-level or internship roles that college students are confident they’re qualified for.

 

How do I make my company stand out at a career fair?

Great ways to make your company stand out at a career fair include:
 

  • Host contests and giveaways to give people a chance to win exciting prizes from your business.
  • Bring employees with high energy levels and genuine excitement about the company to convince more people to stop at your booth and apply for roles.
  • Have games at your booth for attendees to participate in.

Is a job fair an interview?

A job fair is a way to briefly meet and screen employees to learn their skills, experience and qualifications before an interview. This helps you effectively narrow down candidates who may be right for the role to officially interview at a later date.

 

Are job fairs worth it for employers?

Job fairs are worth it for employers looking to meet many diverse candidates excited to start a new position. They’re a great way for new businesses to build awareness of their company and get to know others in their industry.
 

By practicing and implementing proper job fair etiquette before, during and after the event, you’ll attract top candidates to your booth who are a great fit for your company. Be sure to keep your conversations relevant, brief and engaging to help you move through candidates quicker and to get them excited them about your business.

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