For many companies, bringing in qualified talent involves a lot of effort and consequent problems that only the most innovative career fair ideas can solve. Recruiters must sift through piles of resumes that need to be manually ported into an ATS, restrictive onsite venue hours, and administrative nightmares.
Incidentally, the candidate experience doesn’t fare much better either if you don’t have the best job fair ideas in your head. They have to deal with long queues, impersonal exchanges with recruiters, and a rush to cover as many booths as possible. This is exactly why in this age of automation, career fairs need a facelift to boost ROI.
Finding the right employer-employee match is a Herculean task. However, with the right tools, job fair ideas, and innovation to back up your event, the talent acquisition process becomes much easier.
To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of career fair ideas and all the latest trends. These ideas can help you update your talent acquisition process, improve rapport with potential hires, and have a little fun along the way.
7 Impactful Career Fair Ideas for Your Next Event
1. Hold a Fun Competition
Competitions are healthy and boost engagement at any event. That’s why creating a healthy competitive environment is one of the best career fair ideas. Whether you’re hosting virtually or in person, event tech can help you gamify your event through innovative features. You can host a leaderboard, a trivia quiz, or a scavenger hunt to excite your audiences. You can even host a small competition where candidates suggest creative names for career fair to win prizes. Creative job fair ideas like this can truly help enhance the attendee experience and set the right tone.
2. Plan Giveaways
Another great career fair idea is to plan giveaways at your career fair. You can print your logo on a sweatshirt, a notepad, or a tote bag to give away. No one will pass on a gift!
Not only does it delight your audiences, but it can also help get more brand awareness around your company and its services. A fun interaction is memorable, but it is even more so if you get a freebie out of it!
One of the brilliant career expo ideas is to give away small plants or succulents. The vFairs team had great success with this at ETL London and subsequent events.
3. Host a Speed Networking Session
If you’re looking for fun recruitment event ideas, here’s one: Speed Networking. Think of it as speed dating – but for your next career fair!
Such interactive career fair ideas create an opportunity for recruiters and job seekers to meet each other and connect – without wasting any time. Speed networking is a great way to make sure that the prospective stakeholders get a chance to sit across each other and talk. This setting can act as a quick interview session and can help recruiters shortlist more candidates in less time.
4. Percentage Match Attendees
You can use smart tools like a percentage match feature to bring together candidates and recruiters. Add some questions in the registration form that everyone has to answer.
The recruiters can add their criteria whereas job seekers can add the type of jobs, work experience, etc.
Once the event is live, the smart matchmaker will match candidates based on their answers. It can take the stress away from finding the right candidate to talk to as the tool can do half the job for you.
5. Let Exhibitors Host Workshops
Workshops or training sessions can be exciting career fair activities for an external or internal career fair. Ask your exhibitors to pitch their best career fair presentation ideas and let them host their mini-workshops. This is one of the best career fair ideas to make sure attendees at your event also find some learning opportunities along with job search.
6. Portfolio Reviews
Job seekers at your career fair are looking for ways to make a better impression and helping them polish their resumes can go a long way. A great job fair idea is to set up a booth that offers one-on-one counseling sessions to help job seekers improve their LinkedIn profiles and nail their 30-second pitch.
7. Consider Job Fair Themes
You can ask attendees at your event to stick to career fair themes and follow a dress code to set your event apart. You can choose a particular theme or ask them to dress up for the job they want. Unique themes can also give way to more creative job fair set up ideas that can set your event apart from others.
For example, one of the great career fair ideas for healthcare recruitment is to ask doctors, lab technicians, or nurses to come dressed up as one. This isn’t a Halloween event, so make sure you set up some ground rules to maintain decency and professionalism.
11 Career Fair Trends to Look Out for in 2024
1. Collect Resumes Instantly with QR Codes
Recruiters can really save time if they have the facility to see a list of plausible candidates in one go. Instead of cumbersome paper-based CV exchanges between HR executives and candidates, a sure-shot way to improve the event experience is by incorporating smart CV capture tools like a QR code scanner.
A mobile event app is an excellent tool to overcome the hassles of managing paper-based resumes, manual data entry woes, and painfully slow shortlisting decisions. Simply put, these decisions add no value to the recruitment cycle. If you’re looking for career fair ideas for employers, having a mobile app can solve a lot of your problems.
Instead, user profiles serve the purpose more conveniently. Participants will enter their CVs and other professional information during registration through the custom fields that organizers can set up. All this information is consolidated in the form of a unique QR code for each user profile. Recruiters and other participants at the event simply have to scan the QR code to receive the complete user profile.
2. Build Buzz with AI Marketing Tools
Low attendance is a fear most hosts experience. However, with the right marketing efforts and some fun hiring event ideas, you can ensure that your career fair is a success. Building your brand visibility and awareness is not an overnight mission and takes a fair bit of effort.
vFairs AI Assistant can become your marketing sidekick and help create marketing collateral in minutes that otherwise take days. Create content for landing pages, emails, press releases, social media, and more. You can still stay in control of the content by providing appropriate prompts and editing the responses. This way, you can ensure it’s accurate, uniquely branded, and most importantly, social media-friendly.
3. Digitalize Job Listings & Highlight Important Jobs
Hosts can make things much easier for recruiters and job seekers with innovative and fun career fair ideas that are also practical. Here’s another great recruiting event idea: Create online job listings for all your hybrid and virtual career fairs by coordinating with recruiters. Then, showcase them in prominent areas of the virtual platform.
Applicants can see which positions suit them and only visit the relevant booths. This way, the whole event becomes much more streamlined, with the appropriate matchmaking factors involved.
You can also highlight the most sought-after jobs at the career fair by marking them as featured. These jobs can be promoted more through the platform and will always stay on top of the job list. As a result, companies can fill the most important job roles first.
4. Build a Community
You need some community-building career fair ideas too! Career fairs that lack a sense of community don’t leave a lasting impression on attendees. Change that by adding a live event feed to your event. Attendees can post pictures and start discussions through the live feed which makes the event much more social. Community-building activities can enhance attendance and boost overall engagement with the event as well.
You can also boost community building through social media by adding a LinkedIn community builder integration. Job seekers who wish to attend the event will be prompted to become a part of the career fair’s LinkedIn community page as well.
This is where like-minded professionals from various industries can come together, join a discussion, or share their thoughts. Recruiters can also connect in a much more relaxed and social setting. Attendees can share interview tips, share resources, and help other community members find the right job for them.
5. Integrate with Popular ATS
Managing all your data in one place can make the lives of career fair organizers a lot easier. It can help reduce the time it takes to collect, interview, shortlist, and hire potential candidates after they’ve applied through the event platform.
Virtual or hybrid event platforms like vFairs can integrate with the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) of your choice to make sure that all your data is organized and easily accessible. It reduces the effort to download all the data from one platform and then upload it to another manually. You can simply export it in a few easy steps and track all job applications seamlessly.
6. Go Virtual
A virtual career fair platform is an excellent innovation that is here to stay even with in-person events being back. You can look forward to tremendous cost savings, massive global outreach, and distraction-free one-on-one communication with applicants. In addition, you can enjoy tools such as CV shortlisting, on-spot video interviewing, video matchmaking, and round-the-clock event hosting convenience.
Virtual events are also a fantastic way to stay green and reduce carbon emissions by minimizing the need for travel and printed collateral. Global employers can hire people from around the world through a virtual setting and exchange resumes and other resources completely online.
A virtual career fair can also run for days with evergreen content available on-demand as you like. Employers and organizers get access to live and post-event data that an in-person event will not be able to replicate.
7. Set Up a Hybrid Event
If you want a physical element in your career fair, you can run a hybrid career fair that is the best of both worlds. You can complement your physical event with a custom-branded event page to share valuable resources. These can include webinars highlighting company culture, multimedia content, interviewing advice, best resume writing practices, etc. So, your visitors will arrive at the hybrid career fair equipped with the knowledge they need.
You can give attendees access to all these resources on the go through a mobile event app. These are absolutely great tools to have for a hybrid career fair as they can make your event much more engaging, boost attendance, and make it mobile-friendly.
What’s spectacular about this approach is that you can spearhead inclusivity and accessibility for your visitors. You can follow Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to target an extended volume of talent.
Add various accessibility features like close captioning, transcriptions, screen readers, and color contrasts. From visual impairment to hearing disabilities, you can address it all and leave a brilliant mark on your exhibitors and attendees alike.
8. Connect Ideal Users with Smart Matchmaking
Connecting recruiters with the right candidates through a career fair can be one of the biggest challenges for you as an organizer. However, adding a video smart matchmaking feature to your virtual and hybrid career fairs can change the game. It works like a charm, connects people with their best matches online, and can prove to be one of the best career fair ideas for you.
So how does the smart matchmaking feature work? You set up a bunch of questions that each attendee will need to answer when they click on the matchmaking module. Then, when the answers for two users match, they get connected through a timed video call. They can mutually decide to increase the duration of the call or end it based on how it’s going.
Most attendees at your event will prefer smart matchmaking features to quickly connect them to the right person, as seen in this LinkedIn poll as well.
9. Focus on Enhancing User Experience
Great user experience is the key to any successful career fair and career fair booth ideas can help achieve that target. You need to focus on adding virtual career fair features that will create an unforgettable experience for your attendees, whether they are job seekers or recruiters. Here are some of the ways you can create a better experience for event attendees.
Organizing job applications and shortlisting suitable resumes is the biggest challenge for all recruiters at such events. A meeting scheduler is one of the career fair ideas that can help. Adding a meeting scheduler or a chat booking widget can help them track all their booked meetings in one place. This can be equally beneficial for job seekers as well because they don’t have to worry about a missed meeting with a recruiter and can plan their entire day.
Job and Booth Bookmarks
Fun job fair booth ideas don’t mean that they can’t also be practical! Job seekers at your event will most likely be interested in more than one job. However, a bigger event means that there can be a lot of entries in the job post listing and hundreds of booths which can be difficult to track. Therefore, one small but mighty feature to add to your web and mobile platform is bookmarking. Attendees can save jobs and booths they are interested in, to their bookmarks, and get back to them at a later time.
Career fair ideas for enhancing the attendee experience need to focus on how attendees interact with your event. An event agenda should include all sessions, event information, and important announcements that job seekers should know about. Attendees can also add a live session on the agenda to their personal calendars and plan their day accordingly so they don’t miss out on anything.
Recruiters need to sort out hundreds and thousands of resumes between all the different roles that they are hiring for. Therefore, you should make sure that there is a way for them to view, download, and then shortlist applicants’ resumes.
vFairs allows recruiters to download the resumes of all applicants with just one click. The resumes are also grouped based on job posts making it convenient for recruiters to sift through them.
It might not feel like the most important thing but adding inclusive avatars can really level up your career fair. Applicants can come from all over the world with different backgrounds and cultures.
Seeing an avatar in the virtual platform that represents them can not only boost confidence but also create a sense of belonging and inclusion. It can also help recruiting companies create a firm image as equal-opportunity employers.
Get Instant Feedback
Attendee feedback and event analytics are crucial to gauging event success and making better decisions. You can add polls for each session, video, or presentation separately with the vFairs platform. Poll results can be an instant debrief opportunity for organizers and can help you get a pulse on what the attendees like or dislike.
10. Define a Clear ROI
Julius Solaris, a key voice in the events industry, suggests through his LinkedIn post to focus on setting up a clear ROI for events you host. So, it can help event organizers like you to set clear goals and figure out what metrics you want to track at your next career fair.
This can include how many jobs you want to close, how many job seekers you aim to host at the event, or other metrics like the number of applications, link clicks, or form fills.
You should know exactly what to expect from the event so it is easier to debrief at post-event status meetings.
11. Use Your Career Fair as a Marketing Tool
Freeman shared that 71% of potential customers trusted a brand more after they interacted with them at an event. So, your next career fair can be more than just for recruitment!
You can use the event for better brand recognition and marketing your services as well. Set up a booth that talks about your company, its ethos, and culture. Bring the human touch back into your brand by making sure potential customers see who you are.
Julius Solaris also predicts that 2024 will be the year events become the marketing channel of preference. So, use career fair events as a part of your marketing strategy and leverage them as a goldmine of content, real customer connections, and brand awareness opportunities.
The career fair landscape is changing for the better. Using the right automation tools to attract, engage, and hire the best talent has become undeniably desirable. There are now slick solutions and exciting career fair ideas that efficiently build potential employee pipelines, provide detailed analytics, and create the right buzz.
The best career fair platforms can help boost branding, deliver fantastic user experiences, and give both job seekers and recruiters a global reach. So, whether you go virtual, hybrid, or onsite, make sure you provide attendees with an experience that’s memorable and valuable.
What are some ideas for career day?
Some ideas for an engaging career day include arranging workshops, training sessions, one-on-one counseling sessions, fun competitions, and free giveaways.
How do you attract people to a career fair?
Having a stringent marketing plan is necessary for attracting people to any event. It needs to include strategies for pre-event promotions through various channels like social media, paid ads, email marketing, etc.
How do you engage students at a career fair?
Visiting schools and participating in open days can be great ways to attract students to a career fair. Interacting with various company reps can help them pique their interest.
How to recruit at a job fair?
Job fair recruitment can be simplified by adding vigilant booth reps who can shortlist candidates on the spot, providing enough information at your booth, and creating accurate job posts and descriptions to attract the right candidates.
How to attract candidates at a job fair?
Most candidates at job fairs are looking for accurate and transparent job descriptions, a booth that provides ample information about the company and its culture, and a chance for them to talk to the booth reps and ask questions.
How to host a job fair?
Planning to host a job fair means bridging the gap between recruiters and job seekers through your event. Find the right exhibitors and then market your event to relevant job seekers, add networking tools to ease communication, and use the creative job fair ideas in this post to add some pizzazz to your job fair.