Jul 08

Enhancing the Career Fair Experience with an Inbound Recruiting Approach

Is your career fair attendance stagnant? Do the companies you work with for the fair want more?

The traditional approach to career fairs may come up short in today’s campus recruiting environment, but that doesn’t mean you should abandon these events completely. Incorporating an inbound recruiting approach helps generate excitement on the part of students and improve hiring prospects for companies involved. As an education professional, you are the bridge that makes that connection happen.

Why Inbound Recruiting Works

In a traditional job fair setting, employers set up booths, and students wander the displays, searching for that dream job. Without prior knowledge of the companies at the fair, students may pass by companies that are an ideal match simply because they don’t have a connection with them. Employers often spend more time explaining their companies than they do actually interviewing candidates. They may find the students who do approach are not a good match.

The inbound recruiting method helps companies connect with ideal candidates before the career fair, so interactions at the fair are more productive. Students learn about the companies before attending the career fair, so they are better able to engage with the recruiters. They learn more about the culture of the company, not just what services or products the company provides, giving them a better idea of how well they can fit into the company. Attendees start to develop connections with potential employers, so the in-person meeting at the fair is more meaningful.

Recruiters also benefit by narrowing down the talent pool long before setting up their booths. By interacting with students, companies may also see more prospects visit during the fair.

What Companies Can Do

As the coordinator for the career fair, part of your role is advising participating companies on how they can improve their prospects. Putting together an informational packet for companies who sign up to recruit at the fair is an easy way to share this information.

Suggestions to provide those companies include:

  • Defining the ideal candidate by creating a mock candidate persona profile
  • Developing blog posts that help define the company’s culture
  • Providing valuable content that helps the student land a job with the company, learn more about the company or gain knowledge about the general industry
  • Interacting with students on social media before the event
  • Creating a landing page, Facebook group or similar dedicated spaces for the event where students can get information and interact with recruiters
  • Hosting a pre-event session, such as a webinar, Facebook Live or chat group, that engages students and helps them learn more about the company
  • Prescheduling interviews with students who match the company’s ideal candidate profile
  • Customizing recruiting materials to target ideal candidates
  • Creating an email marketing campaign to keep interested candidates in the loop on the company, job opportunities and general industry information

Your Role in the Process

As an educational professional, you are an integral part of the campus recruiting process. The companies who attend the fair and use inbound marketing techniques must define their company cultures, have a clear idea of ideal candidates and create content that helps them connect. However, you can support those efforts to make the process more effective for both students and companies who are recruiting on campus.

One method is to utilize social media to help companies reach your students. You might share blog posts, Tweets or Facebook posts made by companies who attend the fair. This gets the information-rich content those companies create in front of your students while generating excitement about the event. Students start to narrow down options, so they can target their time at the fair on companies where they actually want to work.

Sharing social media accounts of recruiting companies also starts the two-way communication between students and businesses. Students may start following those companies on their social media accounts with opportunities to comment or message the recruiters to start building a relationship. This helps students get a foot in the door and make the meeting at the fair more comfortable. Businesses have the opportunity to start narrowing in on candidates who match their ideal employee profiles.

Another approach is to create your own blog or social media posts highlighting the companies. Create a profile for each company that goes beyond the basic stats. Students aren’t concerned about the revenue or the size of the company. They want to know how they might fit into the corporate culture of a particular recruiting business and what contributions the company makes to the industry.

You can also help industry-specific companies connect with students in a particular area of study. For example, you might involve professors in specific majors in sharing information about companies or making announcements about the career fair. You might help the companies identify particular student segments that match their recruiting needs.

Changing your approach to career fairs with an emphasis on inbound recruiting can improve success rates for students and employers. This approach to campus recruiting saves time and helps connect employers with student candidates best suited for the company.

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