This week I'll be representing my company at a Job Fair. I'll be spending a few hours trying to recruit candidates for several positions we have open. Does anyone have any experience doing this? I want to spend the short amount of time I have being as effective as possible at finding and screening the best candidates. I expect to be confronted with 100 people and resumes in the course of 3 hours, so I need to be able to sort the wheat from the chaff so to speak. Do I forgo any kind of screening process and just focus on getting as many candidates as possible? I have some help from our recruiter, but I'd like to know from a management perspective -- what should I be doing to ensure that I'm selling my company to the right people?

cb_bob's picture

I have attended these types of events and have found it very difficult to screen applicants because of the sheer number of them.

My advice is to focus on getting as many resumes as possible. You can sort through them after the Job Fair is over.

The other piece of advice is to have a quiet area available for an on the spot interview in case you meet an exceptionally well-qualified candidate. Many venues will provide "interview rooms" for an additional fee.

Good luck!

sklosky's picture


Job fairs are not only for harvesting resumes and candidates for your company, but also a very good opportunity for getting out the message about your organization and how it differentiates itself from others in the same industry. Most of the folks you will meet will not be ideal candidates. But, they might have a friend who is.

So, one way I prepare for job fairs is to prepare as if it's a marketing exercise.

-Review your organization's current state of affairs.

-Be prepared with an "elevator speech" -- a quick 30 second synopsis of your organization.

-Review current openings and those on the horizon. Be prepared to discuss the details of these and how they tie into the organization's future.

-Be familiar with the organization's recruiting system (both business procedures and mechanical (computer, phone, fax, etc.) procedures) so that you can easily guide potential candidates through the process.

-Have marketing materials available that promote your organization.

-Have materials available that clearly explain the current openings, and how to apply for them. Think in terms that you will hand this info to Mary who will in turn hand it to the ideal candidate "Joe" who will have to digest the information and contact you / start the application process.

If you're working with others from your organization, coordinate with them prior to ensure that those present are sending out the same message / information.

Just some thoughts.
Good luck,

XOLegato's picture

I realize that by this point you've already done your stint at the fair, but here are a few thoughts anyway. As a college student searching for jobs at fairs like yours, what I am looking for is:

1) What positions are open?
2) Why is better to work for you than a competitor?
3) What is your corporate culture like?
4) What is the next step in your hiring process?

I would also recommend doing a brief look-over of their resume, marking information of interest and asking for clarification on data. This allows you to record anything of note that you found in talking to the candidate, before the tide of people rolls on. Don't worry about making the candidate wait for 20 seconds; from our perspective, your notes and questions are an indication of interest, and the more time you spend the better.

Hope the fair went well, and good luck with future recruiting!

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

I'm sorry this has taken me so long. I regret my absence.

Folks: I have done about 100 of these....

(Yes to collecting resumes and looking at them AFTER). Otherwise:

Focus on the CANDIDATE. Ask about THEM. What they like, what their background is, what they want to do. Spend two minutes with each. Don't tell them about you... learn about THEM. Some will be dull - easy. some will be able to converse and you'll realize that they're not right for you later. Some will sound great and look great later. Hire them.

You're not interviewing with this approach. You're just chatting. Yes, they'll ask a couple of questions, and you'll answer and respond with questions of your own. They day will fly by.

And don't be IN the booth. Out front, please. Have a crowd around you. Smile. Look them in the eye. IGNORE THEIR RESUMES. Focus on THEM.

Again, my apologies for my delay.