The recession was pretty brutal to the live job fair industry. Employers had no reason to attend simply because they had too many resumes coming in for the few jobs they had open. Many of the job fairs during this time featured few jobs (many jobs being 100% commission) and lots of education resources.
I would suggest don’t leave job fairs out of your recruiting strategy. As a matter of fact, I think a well-organized job fair can solve many of your recruiting challenges. There is something about meeting a person without knowing anything about them until you begin a conversation. It gives you insight you will never get opening that persons resume on your computer. It will save you time and give you the ability to feed your talent pipeline in four hours.
If you have not been to a live event in the last couple years, some really good job fairs have incorporated some technology to make these events even better for employers. All job seekers have QR codes that are loaded with their resume and work history. Your company can just scan the QR code of the job seekers you meet and after the event, you will have a complete spreadsheet all your new recruits.
The big challenge is to identify a live career fair that will not waste your time and give you the best chance of finding great talent. To do that, get the answers to these five questions before you commit to any career event:
1. Tell me how you are going to drive qualified job seekers to your event? You have to find out what media sources they are using. Ask them to go over their complete marketing plan that hopefully includes things like billboards, radio, TV and direct invites.
2. What types of companies are already committed? Get a list of the confirmed employers. The better the list, the more successful the career fair will be. Be concerned if you see a lot of educational institutes, 100% commission job companies or franchise operators like Pampered Chef. The best career fairs to get great talent are those that have W-2 jobs. Paying jobs should be the majority of the companies at the job fair.
3. What do I get for my registration fee? Find out what is included. Tables, chairs, table cloth, lunch, snacks, internet access, electricity and private area for interviews to name a few. So many job fairs do not include these things and you may be surprised with additional expense the day of the event.
4.How will the space be set up and where will my table be located? Location is important in the job fair business. Find out how the job seekers flow through the job fair. Find out if they separate companies competing for the same type of talent.
5. Find out what you get after the job career fair is over. Find out if you receive a list with resumes and contact information of all the job seekers who registered.
If you get great answers to these questions, you will have a very productive job fair. The expense for a job fair is usually less than $1,000 to participate and if you hire a few job seekers, you have hit a home run. Better yet, you get to brand your employment in the community and also build future talent pipelines.