7 Best Practices For College Career Fair Success

By Elana Goodwin on January 20, 2016

As a recruiter, one of your most important opportunities to engage with new talent and draw in potential employees is at college career fairs. College students attend these events to find out about employment opportunities, make connections, and land internships and jobs.

Most college career fairs are attended by lots of companies, which means whether or not your booth stands out can be what makes that particular fair a triumph or a dud. Here are some of the best ways you can guarantee college career fairs success.

Photo Credit: career.gatech.edu

1. Make your booth pop.

With so many companies and businesses recruiting at a college career fair, it’s important to make your booth stand out. Consider having balloons and using bright colors for your handouts and promotional materials. Perhaps all the staffers at the booth are wearing a bright colored top or a pair of sunglasses. You want to catch students’ eyes when they walk in and make your booth and company look interesting enough that they’ll want to check you out.

2. Know your company.

Students stopping by your booth at the career fair may not know who your company is, what they do, where they’re located, etc., which means knowing your organization and being able to speak about its goals, its history, its methods, and more, is crucial. You’ll also want to be able to talk about career and internship opportunities at your company, as well as which positions in particular are open and accepting applications.

3. Be ready and organized.

Before students start stopping by, make sure your booth is organized and all the necessary information is available. Have your handouts set out and if you have more than one, make sure it’s easy for students to identify and therefore pick up any or all the handouts and materials you’re providing. Keep plenty of business cards on hand to give to students who stop by your booth and are interested in your company.

You’ll also want to stay organized, so keep your booth looking neat and keep a record of the people you meet. Track who left a resume, who requested more information, who said they’d check out your posting online, who had an interview, etc. so you can track your progress and success after college career fairs.

4. Be engaging.

While this should be a given, it can be hard to be “on” for the length of a college career fair and the slew of students who walk by or stop at your booth — but it’s important to be friendly and engaging to each student. Smile and say hi to everyone who passes by. Stand rather than sit. Don’t check your phone or talk to the other staffers. Following these tips will help you seem more open and approachable to students who may otherwise be intimidated or think you’re unavailable.

5. Set up interviews.

At college career fairs, you may find yourself with a good number of potentially interested students, and to capitalize on that interest, be ready to set up interviews right then. Being able to offer a qualified student a job after that immediate interview will help you stand apart, especially if they’re a particularly good candidate who may be in demand by other recruiters.

If you’re not able to set up interviews at the fair, make sure to have job applications at your booth and decide before you arrive whether or not you’ll be accepting resumes.

6. Consider free swag.

College students love free stuff. But rather than giving out the standard magnet or pen, think about giving out some swag that will be useful and also used enough that the student will see your company’s name and logo on the item fairly frequently. Consider giving out sunglasses with your company’s name on the side, safety whistles with your company’s name engraved on the whistle, or personalized potholders with your name and slogan.

7. Follow up quickly.

College students take finding a job or securing an internship very seriously so after a college career fair, you should be prepared to follow up quickly. Of course, not every student who stopped by your booth or that you talked to will rate a follow up but the ones who left a resume, had an interview, or applied to a job all deserve to hear from you, even if they’re not the right person for your company.

If you keep these seven tips in mind and implement them into your recruitment efforts, you’re sure to be successful at college career fairs and to make a good impression on the college students attending them.

By Elana Goodwin

Uloop Writer
Ohio State
I am currently serving as the Director/Managing Editor for Uloop News. I've been part of the Uloop family since 2013 and in my current role, I recruit writers, edit articles, manage interns, and lead our National Team, among other duties. When I'm not writing or editing, I love being outside, reading, and photography! I have a Bachelor's degree in English with a double-minor in Sociology and Criminology & Criminal Justice from The Ohio State University. If you have questions or just want to chat, don't hesitate to reach out! Email me at elana@uloop.com.

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