Potential job candidates aren’t the only people who get nervous at job fairs. On the other side of the table, there are also eager potential employers who have to compete with other booths for all the passing talent. If you are a company, setting up a job fair station can be very stressful, but there are a few basic rules to follow in order to attract plenty of attractive employees.
Research ahead of time where the job fair will be happening and who the attendees will be. Different demographics will require different approaches because their wants and needs will differ. Decisions about things like handouts, decorations and giveaways will all be affected, as well as who your staff will be. For example, if your audience will be college students, then you’ll want to research exactly what majors will be attending and whether they are seeking full-time jobs vs internships. If the general public will be attending, that will change your entire approach. The more research you do ahead of time, the more prepared you can be to answer specific questions tailored to your audience, and when you put your best company representatives on the front lines to answer questions, they can “speak the language” of the people.
The people representing your organization should know the company inside and out. Nothing is more off-putting than a delegate not being able to answer hot button issues about mission statements, the number of applicants desired, how the company stands out from others, details about the company culture, health care benefits, probationary periods before employment, 401K contributions or even employee turnover rates. When doing your homework for a job fair, keep in mind that people are passing by your booth building a database of answers as they go along. Nothing looks more unprofessional than saying “I don’t know” when a potential candidate asks a question.
When setting up your booth, always keep in mind that display, location and layout are everything. If possible, register early and reserve a piece of real estate with the heaviest foot traffic. The more people passing by, the more likely you are to get customers. Depending on your audience, the design and colors and layout might also be affected – don’t just assume a one size fits all approach to your booth exhibit. Be prepared to invest in multiple styles, depending on your audience. If you have materials to hand out, be sure you have enough on hand so you don’t run out. It’s always better to have too many handouts than too few.
It’s important to always appear approachable to everyone. Stand in front of your display table instead of behind it to avoid a perceived barrier between you and potential applicants. You want to not only stand out from your competitors, but also be remembered, so it is vital nowadays to come up with eye-catching creative souvenirs printed with your company logo and contact information. Another way to be remembered is to dress professionally and wear a nametag. Eye contact and a personal greeting also go a long way. Stay off your phone and avoid in-depth conversations with coworkers, since people should never feel like they’re inconveniencing you to ask a question.