When it comes to hosting a successful job fair, organization is everything. Employers and potential candidates attend career fairs in order to build new relationships and discuss work opportunities, but a poorly planned event could leave a negative impression. A few of the most common pitfalls with job fairs include confusing layouts and long wait times to speak with recruiters. But a little extra planning can help your job fair go off without a hitch. Start with these best practices for how to organize and host a job fair.
1) Choose Your Date, Time, and Venue Well in Advance
The first step in organizing a successful job fair is to start early! Ideally, you’ll choose a date at least a few months in advance. This will give you enough time to reach out to prospective employers who may wish to exhibit at your fair, or if you’re planning a single-employer event, to line up teams and departments to attend. This also gives you ample time to promote the event to job seekers, too.
If the event is taking place in person, you will need to book an event venue. The challenge here is that you may not have the final total for how many employers and job seekers are interested in participating, and you don’t want to choose a venue that is either too big or too small. If you’ve held career fairs in the past, look at previous attendance numbers as a benchmark for the upcoming event and plan your venue size accordingly.
Virtual job fairs have also become much more common, (in fact, a recent study showed that 96% of TA professionals plan to use virtual recruiting even as things return to normal after the pandemic). While you won’t need a physical venue for a virtual job fair, you will need a virtual event platform that can facilitate connections between employers and job seekers. The benefit of a virtual career fair is that you can scale your future events up or down depending on how many employer participants you have--no need to lock in a venue size. For maximum versatility, we recommend choosing a virtual event platform that offers multiple live and asynchronous modes of communication, including audio, text, and video.
2) Build a Compelling Landing Page to Drive Registrations
When you host a job fair, it's important to note that employers aren’t the only ones who will participate in the event. You’ll also want to encourage job seekers to attend! Start by creating a landing page that includes the most important information about the event -- such as date, time, location -- as well as a registration form. Make sure you configure the form to capture the attendees’ names and email addresses so you can send event reminders, too. For virtual job fairs, you can use this information to email the event link, the full list of employers, and instructions for how to navigate the virtual platform. As for building the landing page itself, you can integrate a form onto your company’s website, set up a page on an event registration platform like Eventbrite, or use Brazen’s landing page feature that integrates with the virtual event platform itself.
3) Promote Your Event to Job Seekers
So how do you reach those prospective job seekers in the first place? There are plenty of marketing avenues to explore such as:
- Linked In
- Your event registration page
- Social media
- Email marketing
- Paid advertising channels
You can send email announcements to potential candidates on your mailing list, post on your social media channels, list the event on your website, and even launch paid advertisements on relevant job boards, LinkedIn, or industry publications. Any advertising channels you choose will depend on your specific audience -- entry level vs. senior level, job functions, etc. And of course, you’ll want your promotions to drive to your landing page so that job seekers can sign up for the event!
4) Organize Your Booths
Provide each employer or department with a dedicated booth so that job seekers can find exactly who they want to talk to. For in-person events, the booths should be spread out enough in order to avoid crowding and loud volumes. For employers that are recruiting for a lot of roles, you may wish to offer multiple booths so that they can bring more recruiters.
Virtual career fairs should also have booths for employers. In order to help employers showcase their brand, provide opportunities to customize their booth by adding their logo and colors, as well as recruitment materials like employee testimonials, Glassdoor reviews, and links to their company website. Since each employer or team will have different recruitment needs, allow them to choose their own booth features, such as live chats, video presentations, and sign-up forms that integrate with their ATS. In addition, make sure the companies can share their job listings directly in the platform.
5) Prepare Employer Participants Before the Event
Employers or team members who participate in the job fair should receive training and instructions for how the event will work. If the job fair is in-person, they should have information related to set up, breakdown, and the run of events. For example, how early can they arrive? What is the WiFi password? Where are the bathrooms?
If the job fair will be held through a virtual event platform, set up a call or a demo with participating recruiters and other fair attendees in order to walk them through it before the big day. Give them the access they need to customize their virtual booths and test out any video, audio, and chat features. Have them think about the qualifying questions they might ask candidates in order to best screen ideal applicants for more talk time. It’s always better to have everyone communicate and prepare before the event starts, in order to avoid confusion later! (Bonus: when you work with Brazen, we provide you with materials you can use to get everyone easily up to speed with the platform).
6) Provide Job Seekers with a Roadmap for the Event
For in person job fairs, job seekers should be given a map when they enter so that they can easily navigate the event. We recommend organizing employers’ booths alphabetically so that the layout is easier to understand.
On the map, share the full list of participating employers. If possible, include a list of some of the roles and employment opportunities they are recruiting for. You should also tag company booths with different attributes, such as industry, job location, and employment type (full-time, part-time, and internship, for example). This will help candidates discover employers who could be a potential match for their career interests. If your event is being held virtually, create a search filter within the platform so job seekers can narrow down companies by the criteria that matters to them.
For virtual job fairs, you should also ensure that job seekers understand how to navigate the event platform. The day before the job fair, you could send a demo video via email to walk through how it works.
7) Have Support Staff on Hand
Who is the point of contact if employers or job seekers have questions? Make it clear from the outset where attendees should go for assistance, whether that’s a dedicated support table at an in-person event or a dedicated virtual booth within your online event platform. If you are hosting a virtual job fair, you should also make sure the platform itself offers live support in case of any technical issues on the day of the event.
We hope your most pressing questions about how to host a job fair have been answered! Follow these simple tips to host truly engaging and amazing hiring events that both employers and job seekers will want to come back to time and time again.
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