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One of the best ways to meet potential candidates is participating in career fairs, which offer recruiters a great way to interact with a diverse talent pool and identify some great fit for positions they are trying to fill at their company. Career fairs are a great opportunity for job seekers and employers and they can both win from these events if they network properly

Here are a few tips to help maximize your experience and make the most of your time out-of-office:

Have promotional materials printed

Make sure you arrive early so you can set up the booth and make it as appealing as possible. Your attendees should not have to ask what business you are or what you do. Make sure you have flyers,  billboards, and any other material that will help them become more familiar with your company and corporate culture. This may be a one-page handout, brochure or something more creative to get the word out. Find ways to make your booth stand out from the others. Make sure you and other people behind your booth always have a smile on and are ready to answer attendees’ questions.

Decide if you’re accepting resumes

When someone hands you a resume, will you accept it, or will you direct him or her to apply online? Job seekers come to these kind of fairs full of hopes of meeting their dream employer. Do not mislead them by not knowing whether or not they can apply directly at the booth. If you will not be accepting resumes on the spot, take the time to look at each one and ask questions about their education/experience, or give advice. If you redirect them to a website, make sure you do not simply send them elsewhere. Give them tips on how to present a good resume, if they can attach other documents, what kind of position the company is currently trying to fill and more. This will create a conversation between you and your attendee and will make them even more excited to apply!

If you are accepting resumes, prepare questions or a brief interview to pre-qualify applicants

What better way to interview a candidate than through an open conversation in a not so conventional environment. Prepare questions to ask those who express an interest in your company to pre-qualify them. This will help you save time on the screening process!  Remember that the goal of attending a career fair is to find candidates for your jobs.

Create some buzz around your booth

Going a little “extra” never hurts. You might think about giveaways of little bags with hats, t-shirts, water bottles, keychains with the company logo. Use your booth to make more people aware of your company and what you guys are all about. Attract attendees to your booth and get them engaged with your recruiters. While this does not guarantee the best candidates, it is a way to make your name and logo known.

Follow up ASAP after the event

Be sure to follow up and respond to all inquiries as soon as possible after the event. Remember there are plenty of employers at these fairs, and that finding employment is a serious matter for these job seekers, so don’t keep them guessing and unsure. If you have met some interesting candidates, make sure you follow-up by making sure they applied online or asking them for other useful documents.

Don’t sit

Be as inviting as possible. Career fairs can be intimidating to job seekers, especially young job seekers so avoid sitting behind your table by standing in front of or beside your booth. Do not forget to smile and say hello!

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