Planning a career fair is a challenge. For someone putting their first fair together, or trying to improve their next one, questions are going to come up. In the course of our work, we hear a lot of these career fair questions. We are happy to share our answers with you.
We Get Asked These Career Fair Questions A Lot
1.) How far ahead should I start planning the fair?
Ideally, you will begin the planning process at least 5 to 6 months before the target date for the career fair. This offers plenty of time to get the logistics together and to get invitations out to recruiters. It is possible to do it in a shorter amount of time, but the longer you wait the more chance you have of encountering low recruiter attendance due to scheduling conflicts.
2.) What should I consider when making the budget?
Your budget needs to take into account all aspects of the fair. It needs to include venue rental, A/V equipment, tables, chairs, marketing materials, and printing costs. Depending on the situation, you may need to also include travel, lodging, transportation and parking costs. Don't forget to include wages for employees manning the fair, as well as refreshments and lunches as needed. Plus, if you are going to run a modern fair you will want to leave room in your budget for mobile and web work.
3.) What should my marketing plan be?
Your marketing and media mix is going to be unique to your career fair. However, here are a few tips:
- Use social media to reach out to the student population. It's 2017 so consider this a "must do".
- Create a web page offering details on the fair's location and time, as well as a list of recruiters planning on attending.
- Did you know that you can integrate the power of a mobile app into your fair? Well, you can and it's a great way to modernize your fair as well as introduce a wealth of convenient tools. Find out how easy it is to go mobile here.
- Fliers and roadside signs are still great ways of getting student attention.
4.) What kind of supplies do I need?
You will need to order a number of supplies for the career fair. Some things to put on your list: brochures, giveaway items, venue maps, name tags, name tag holders, lanyards, plus snacks and beverages. If your venue isn't supplying tables and chairs you will need to rent those too.
5.) How should I define the scope of my career fair?
This is one of those career fair questions that only you can answer. It's important that you figure out what works on your campus, with your students, and your recruiters. We see a constant back and forth between boutique fairs and general fairs as schools try to optimize the experience. On average we see more schools holding larger fairs rather than the smaller boutique fairs. When you consolidate into a few larger fairs you end up focusing on those events and typically do much better with them as opposed to spreading you thin across many smaller fairs. You need to have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish at the fair. Are you holding an event for every department in the school or are you focusing on only one? You may also want to narrow the scope even further. For example, you could focus the fair on companies looking for summer interns.
6.) When should I send out invitations to recruiters?
Recruiters for major companies have very busy schedules, especially during fall and spring career fair season. You want to get your fair on their list as soon as possible. Try to get invitations out at least 4 months in advance. Six months is even better.
7.) What should I consider when choosing a venue for the career fair?
Your venue needs to be big enough to accommodate your full rosters of employers as well as your projected crowd of students. If your students will need to travel to the venue, make sure there is adequate parking or access via public transit. Recruiters will also need a place to park and access to unload their cargo before the event. You should also consider whether there are private areas where an employer can interview a student if need be.
8.) What should I include in the job fair packet for students?
Students need a map of the venue that shows the booth layout and where each employer is. Besides the venue map, you will want to include information on any seminars or lectures being held as well as workshops for resume development, interview skills, etc. It's important to note that the packet is much easier to keep current if it is digital, such as a mobile app. The "digital packet" is a great way to avoid late nights at the print shop. Instead, you're only a few clicks away from posting your updates and making them available to all of your attendess.
9.) What should happen on the day of the fair?
You will need someone on site to coordinate the setup of the venue. That may happen early the day of or late the day before. You will also need someone to direct recruiters to the appropriate booth and to help with any setup. Before the students arrive, you will need to setup the student check-in. Throughout the fair, your team needs to help students with any questions they might have as well as assisting recruiters with their needs.
10.) What should happen after the fair?
It is important to send thank you notes to recruiters. Ask for their input via surveys. Make note of any problems that occurred so that you can avoid them at future fairs. Then share what you learned in a meeting with your team.
We hope these answers to common career fair questions help you with your career fair planning. Of course, if we haven't answered all of your questions, we are here to help.