I had the pleasure of attending a job fair for Veterans yesterday. There were nearly 90 eager employers ready to talk to the hundreds of military veterans on hand looking for new work. As I walked around the job fair, I noticed some consistencies that were not necessarily good things. Rather than point them out, I decided I would write a blog on different ways to change your recruiting approach (especially if it is not yielding great results). Here we go!
Just because your booth comes with a table or two that you can hide behind doesn’t mean you should. It is your space to use as wisely as possible. An easy suggestion? Push those tables back and stand in front of them. Use the tables to add table toppers and other eye-catchers that serve as a backdrop to YOU: the source of information. Open spaces are inviting and allow more people to gather in your space. You want to look popular don’t you?
Giveaways…do not lay them out on the table. Use them as conversation starters. Have a neat flashlight or first aid kit? Walk up to job seekers and say “Would you like a flashlight? Tell me what kind of job you are looking for.” Most people will welcome your eagerness (and your flashlight). If their interests don’t match your company’s openings, be polite and give them the giveaway as thanks. It’s quick and easy screening.
Now, let’s talk social media. You’re most likely doing it all wrong. Some rules to remember. The end result of recruiting is to get people to apply for your open positions. If your application process is online, then your social media should direct applicants to…guess? Correct!…the online application. If you have your Twitter handle on your business cards and marketing collateral but it doesn’t take you immediately to at least a link to the online application process, then you are losing PEOPLE.
Here’s a small aside that should convince you to put some effort into your social media message in and out of job fairs. Each step…each new page…each link that requires clicking…between the applicant and online application loses 20% of your audience. EACH STEP — so if I must click-through three pages to get to an application, I lose 20% each time. Concretely, if 100 people show up to the party, you lose 20 immediately with the first click. After click two, you have now lost 16 more people. 64 remain and after click three, you have 51(.2) people remaining. Three clicks and your down almost half your potential applicants! Hope the good one didn’t get away!
Don’t have time to reform the website? Then setup a talent pool. Have ALL your social media direct people to a simple data collection site that says “Interested in possible future employment with ABC Company? Add your info here to be on our employment mailing list. We promise we’ll only send you e-mail once a month unless a specific job comes up that matches your interests.” Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are the best places to start with sourcing these pools. Keep the data collection short and sweet: name, e-mail, phone, degrees, and area(s) of interest. I mean, truly, that’s all you really need to do a quick “tickle file” search in the future. Be efficient! People are more likely to join the pool if the effort is short and sweet.
Finally, talk to other exhibitors about their business and yours. Especially if you are in a related industry, it’s good to know your competitors. They can often become allies when you may have openings in an area that they currently have fully staffed. Similarly, be a Good Samaritan and send folks their way when you can’t use them but your newly formed ally might be able to.
Job fairs can often be seen as a waste of time by businesses and recruiters. Usually, those businesses aren’t working the fair correctly and creatively. Consider the above advice and give the tips a try on your next venture at fair. Who knows? You might just end up adopting a new lifestyle for recruiting great new candidates from job fairs!
Danny Zendejas is the Senior Business Consultant specializing in the Education Industry for Workforce Solutions in the Houston metropolitan area. He has over eight years of experience in workforce development and is a native of San Antonio, Texas.