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Employers: The 10 Dos and Don’ts Of Career Fairs

By Amy @BubbleJobs

With the Manchester Digital Talent Day just around the corner, we thought it was time to look at the topic of jobs and careers fairs again – but this time we’ve decided to give our post a bit of a twist.

You see, we’ve covered jobs fairs and the Dos and Don’ts from a student/candidate perspective numerous times (here, here and here) over the past couple of years… but we’ve never looked at it from an employer perspective… until now!

Yep, we thought it was about time we turned the tables and dished out our best advice to any businesses who are preparing for Talent Day and/or any other career fairs this month.

Without further ado then, here are our top ten employer Dos and Don’ts of career fairs:

Do: Be Prepared

Whether it’s printing out marketing material, liaising with the HR team to find out what the hiring plans are for the next year or pre-ordering your freebie pens, just like anything else in recruitment, when it comes to jobs fairs you need to prepare ahead of time. If you don’t have all the information and marketing material you need in advance, you’re going to find yourself stressed out and in a bad mood on the day of the fair itself… which is never a good thing.

Don’t: Arrive Late

If you think you can turn up at the last minute, I’d urge you to think again. When it comes to a jobs fair, the position of your stand is pretty important as it can have a direct impact on how many attendees see your stand and pay you a visit – so needless to say the best, most prominent stands always get taken first. Try and get there at a reasonable time to bag a prime spot and set up – then you can always nip out for a last minute coffee just before the fair opens.

Do: Have A Clear Action Plan

When it comes to jobs fairs, it might sound silly but recruiting new staff isn’t always the name of the game – so you need to think carefully about what your aims are before you arrive.

Is it to actually find new employees? Raise your brand profile? Network? Scope for future talent? You need to establish your main aims ahead of time so you can have a clear action plan of what you want to discuss with attendees at the fair.

Don’t: Get Distracted

When it comes to jobs fairs, there’s normally so much going on that it can be easy to get distracted – but you really need to focus on the task in hand. By all means, get chatting to employers at the stands next door – but don’t turn away attendees in the process. Remember, you’re there for the attendees, not other businesses! 🙂

Do: Be Willing To Approach Attendees

For some attendees, jobs fairs can be an overwhelming experience and they won’t necessarily have the confidence to come up to your stand and start chatting – so sometimes you need to give them a helping hand. If an attendee is hovering around your stand, it’s highly likely they want to talk to you – so don’t be afraid to start the conversation!

Don’t: Give Up On Candidates Easily

At jobs fairs we always find that as soon as you mention the word ‘digital’ to them, some candidates get scared and walk away because they think it’s all about coding and building websites – but as soon we stop them and explain that digital careers are extremely diverse and cover things like copywriting, SEO and display advertising, they start to become interested and valuable conversations begin. At jobs fairs it’s all about putting in time and effort to ensure your message is being delivered and the ideal candidate doesn’t walk away because they’ve got the wrong idea.

Do: Think Outside The Box In Terms of Freebies

If one thing is guaranteed at jobs fairs, it’s freebies. Whether it’s pens, stress balls, sweets or pizza (yes, really!), you’ll always find freebies at jobs fairs because they’re great for marketing and spreading a brand message – and really, who doesn’t like freebies? To stand out from the crowd, try and produce innovative freebies that stand out from the crowd and are actually useful and functional – this way, every time a candidate uses your freebie, they’ll think of your brand, so the more useful you make it, the more familiar your brand becomes.

Don’t: Be Too Pushy

Remember how I just said you need to put time and effort into candidates? Well, there is a line – and it’s important not to cross it. Yes, it’s important to try and get your message out there – but you need to be careful not to come across as too pushy or you could risk damaging your brand in the long run.

Do: Have A Way To Collect Information

Thanks to the sheer number of attendees, jobs fairs can be invaluable for gathering contact details which can then be used later down the line should more vacancies become available and for other marketing purposes. That said; you need to ensure you have a way to collect this data on the day in the form of a sign-up form or something similar – or you could miss out.

Don’t: Forget You’re Representing Your Brand

When attending jobs fairs, it’s important to remember that you’re being judged not only be attendees but other exhibiting employers too – so you need to act accordingly. Don’t forget to dress relatively professionally and be sure to have a couple of business cards on you just in case any networking opportunities crop up!

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