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Career Fair Planning: Selecting the Right Time to Host

By Career Fair Plus

According to a recent article in The Atlantic, today's college students are highly career-minded. At the same time, American businesses need more college grads than ever before. So, when is the best time of year to bring them together and how will you evaluate success? 

We need to answer the second question first, keep reading and you’ll understand why.

Post-event evaluations

Oddly enough, ensuring you’ll have meaningful post-event data happens before the career fair begins. If you’re using a Career Fair Plus recruiting event solution, enabling Check-in & Analytics during planning empowers you to discover the hidden analytics generated at on-site career fairs. Students scan your event-specific code on arrival and each employer’s unique code at each booth; the technology does the rest. After the event, you can report macro and micro data like:

  • Total fair attendance
  • How many students an employer met
  • Which students connected with which employers
  • How many companies each student engaged
  • The number of hourly interactions

You, your team, deans, department heads, and professors have full, standardized visibility into students’ engagement at the career fair.

Best Months for Career Fairs

Students are typically re-energized and eager to connect at the beginning of the academic year. They’re similarly focused and ambitious in February after winter-break. And they’re thinking ahead about summer internships or jobs; graduating students are focused on securing full-time work. Often this September and February motivation stays with students through October and March, your second-best months for hosting career fairs.

Schedule Early in the Season

Scheduling your career fair early in the season often means more job opportunities for your students. As the season progresses, employers fill their open roles. Fortunately for those students still job searching this also creates the possibility of fewer applicants for each job.

Best Day of the Week for a Career Fair

Monday, Friday, or Saturday are often convenient days for students, but recruiters attending in-person events likely prefer the middle of the week. If you expect out-of-town participants at your on-site career fair, consider Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. After all, you want well-rested, happy employers talking to jobseekers rather than folks frazzled from same-day travel. Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday are also popular days to host online career fairs. 

Also, consider adding Resume Drop to your on-site or virtual recruiting events. Students gain access to this CF+ software feature before, during, and after on-site and online recruiting events. Most importantly, they can express interest in an employer a week before or any time after the career fair. And of course recruiters love that the digital resume book is so much lighter and easier to use than those bound books of yesteryear!

Best Length for a Career Fair

Career fairs limited to 3 to 4 hours are generally more successful than shorter or longer programs. If it is too short, students might have difficulty finding time to attend between classes. If the fair is too long, recruiters could lose some of their enthusiasm or leave early to address other work tasks.

Morning or Afternoon?

Most events start between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., in part to accommodate class schedules. However, afternoon events allow students more preparation time. Better connections start with relaxed, confident candidates. 


Late September and early October are the most popular times to hold a career fair. Students are motivated, and recruiters will still have plenty of opportunities. Make the fair long enough for students to visit several employers, but short enough that employers remain engaged. Connect with a no-pressure CF+ team member or scroll around our virtual, hybrid, and in-person pages at your convenience. You’ll find useful blog articles and free eGuides, too!

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Tags: job fair, Career Fair Plus, career services, Hybrid Events, in-person, recruiting events, Recruiting Data, Virtual job fair platform, HR recruitment software for enterprise

Your Portable Guide to Hosting Virtual Recruiting Events

Your new eBook goes beyond defining virtual career fairs to reveal:

  • Who hosts virtual career events by industry and type of program.
  • Why virtual recruiting events are advantageous.
  • How to plan a stress-free virtual career fair or recruiting event.