By: Craig Keplinger
In the competitive quest for talent, career fairs continue to deliver. They’re a great way for recruiters to engage personally with candidates, to make connections for future needs, or close the deal with an on the spot hire. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first-time recruiter, preparation and attention to detail can help you maximize your efforts.
Overall, job seekers are dressed for success and well-prepared. You should be too. To everyone in the room – job seekers, other recruiters, competitors, and event staff – you are your company and your company’s brand. You can help it or hurt it. It’s really up to you.
You expect job seekers to be sharp and come prepared for anything. What do job seekers expect from you? At a minimum, be articulate, knowledgeable and encouraging. Job seekers deserve that much. If you’re the only person from your company they ever meet, make a great impression. And don’t forget. What you do during the event might cause a great candidate to apply somewhere else.
For job seekers, attending a job fair is intimidating. Be approachable. Stand up. Get out from behind your table. Great job fair recruiters bring out the best in potential candidates.
If shaking hands isn’t just something you do, maybe recruiting isn’t for you. Recruiting is a contact sport. So make eye contact, shake hands, and introduce yourself. Isn’t that what you’d expect if the tables were turned?
Engaging candidates is about being present and paying attention. That means getting off your phone. A job seeker at your table scrolling through his / her Facebook account probably isn’t winning many points from you. Just think about it. If you’re busier with your phone than job seekers, maybe you should be at the office.
Don’t have a conversation with a job seeker while you eat. Discussing your company’s job opportunities with a mouth full of snacks isn’t appealing – offering to share doesn’t make it better. If you have to eat, do it away from your recruiting station. If you’re busy, eating might have to wait.
Finally, arriving late and leaving early sends a negative message. Why not arrive early to set-up and get everything ready? That kind of preparation pays off in the competition for talent. As the day winds down, invariably, some job fair employers pack up early. What kind of impression does a company tearing down before the end of an event leave in the mind of a potential candidate? Make a great impression – be the first to arrive and the last to leave.
AIM is a not-for-profit community organization that promotes technology to empower people, enhance organizations, and create brilliant communities.