Withe's guide to hosting a successful career fair

by The Withe Team
May 7, 20247 min read
A candidate speaking to a recruiter at a career fair

Career fairs are great. Whether it’s a university hosting an event for co-op and graduating students to access potential employers, or a professional organization hosting an industry job fair, these events act as a nexus point for candidates and employers. They reduce the barrier to access for conversations between hiring companies and prospective candidates.

While these events have been a staple of the hiring world for generations, there is always room to do things better. In fact, the best career fair organizers operate with a spirit of continuous improvement, always looking for ways to optimize their planning efforts, provide a better candidate and employer experience, and facilitate more fruitful connections.

With this in mind, we’re sharing five best practices for running a successful career fair.

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Typical challenges with career fairs

While career fairs are great places for employer brands to increase their visibility and for candidates to get face-to-face access to potential employers, they can have some core challenges that can disrupt the experience.

The first is a lack of consistency. Bringing multiple employers together under one roof is great, but it can feel disjointed if each employer takes a different approach in how they speak to candidates or promote their brand. Career fair organizers have a responsibility to try and introduce as much consistency as possible to provide a unified experience to attendees.

Another issue is a lack of structure. Despite best efforts, organizers and participating employers can sometimes be besieged by large numbers of candidates at any given time. In a free-for-all approach with no scheduled attendance times, there’s a great risk of overwhelming the recruiters on the day.

The volume of conversations being had at a career fair can also pose a challenge. Recruiters speak to tens if not hundreds of candidates at a career fair — depending on the size of the event — and trying to keep tabs on which candidates made an impression is tough. For candidates, this also means there’s a lot of pressure to stand out.

These challenges can largely be solved by focusing on the overall experience of the event, and by introducing tools and technologies that reduce the burden on participating employers.

Withe's hiring event platform makes it easy to run seamless and integrated career fairs that your partners and candidates will love.

5 best practices for running effective career fairs

1. Plan, plan, plan

There are so many logistics to manage in a career fair — from recruiting employer partners and candidates, to finding an event space large enough to hold them. Getting it right takes a lot of forethought and planning. And while the logistics are important, it’s also worth going a step further and thinking about the overall experience.

What can you incorporate into your career fair that will make life as easy as possible for your participating employers, while also encouraging candidates to both attend and recommend the event to other people?

This is the question that should guide a lot of your planning.

2. Implement intentional sourcing strategies

In order to host a successful career fair, you should be considerate in how you approach your sourcing efforts for both candidates and employers.

For example, when you’re looking at potential employers to include, consider the following:

  • Are they a recognized employer brand in your industry?
  • Do they showcase values that align with your organization?
  • Will they be an appealing option for your target candidates?
  • If you’re a university organizer, do they have a good new grad/early career program?
  • Where can you reach potential employers that align with the goals for your event?

Meanwhile, when it comes to sourcing candidates, you may already have a ready-made audience (e.g. students if you work for a post-secondary institution, or member professionals from a specific industry). However, if your event is more widespread (e.g. a career fair at a local startup week), you’ll need to be more intentional about attracting the right candidates in the right numbers.

You can do this by:

  • Partnering with professional organizations in the right fields
  • Promoting the event in relevant newsletters or media
  • Sharing promotional materials with employers so they can market to candidates already interested in their employer brand

3. Provide variety

Today, job fair organizers have the potential to host different types of events, including in-person and virtual career fairs. Providing an online experience can help you increase access to a wider pool of qualified candidates in different regions. Plus, virtual events are often more accessible to disabled individuals who require specific accommodations.

If you’re hosting both an in-person and virtual version of your career fair, these do not need to happen simultaneously. You can have different time slots within the same day, or even host it over a couple of days so that the same partner employers can attend.

4. Choose technology that supports your efforts

Whether you’re hosting an event in person or virtually, it’s worth adopting technology solutions that make things easier for you, your partners, and the candidates. Consider leveraging a hiring event platform that manages candidate registration, automatically schedules interview slots, helps partners go paper free, and tracks the success of each hiring partner. Not only will this help you provide a consistent experience for everyone attending, it will also reduce the administrative burden for your participating recruiters — and they will love you for that.

5. Gather feedback

After the event is done, make sure to request feedback from participating employers and candidates alike. Ask your partners about their experiences leading up to the event (e.g. whether they felt they had all the information they needed for a successful event) and during the day itself (e.g. whether the technology they used made sense). Meanwhile, you can ask candidates whether they felt it was a productive use of time for them, whether they would recommend the event to their peers, or whether they appreciated the quality and variety of potential employers.

The answers to these and other questions will help you optimize future versions of the event so that you are proactively meeting the needs of both parties.

How Withe supports career fairs of all sizes

Withe’s hiring event platform makes it easy for job fair organizers to host an event. All they have to do is set up the event by choosing a date and location, and then invite partner organizations into the mix.

Once the event is set up, Withe will:

  • Let your partners seamlessly create custom career pages and job postings in just a few clicks
  • Automatically manage candidate registration and scheduling — candidates can self serve and your partners won’t be overwhelmed by too many applicants at once
  • Give candidates the ability to indicate interest in specific companies and roles so they can come prepared — and companies can understand candidate interest
  • Allow for easy transfer of candidate interview data to their ATS — no more rifling through paper resumes and tedious manual entry!
  • Track important analytics including candidate sources, which partners candidates spoke with, and the success of each conversation
  • Capture any data you need (from their resume, LinkedIn, etc.) to qualify candidates beforehand, including legal eligibility to work in the country

Plus, if you choose to host a virtual career fair, Withe also provides integrated video interview capabilities and automated scheduling so candidates can join in and quickly speak to the recruiter of their choice.

In this way, Withe eliminates a significant portion of the administrative burden career fair organizers and participating employers alike. It also vastly improves the candidate experience, making participants more likely to recommend your event within their network.

Make you career fair the place to be

As a job fair organizer, you know that the success of your event rests on your ability to attract appealing employers and qualified candidates. The more relevant high-quality prospective employers you bring in, the more interested candidates you will attract, and vice versa. Being intentional with how you design your event — and how you optimize the experience on both ends of the recruitment equation — will ensure that you can keep successfully hosting your event for years to come.

Withe’s hiring event platform makes it easy to run seamless and integrated career fairs that your partners and candidates will love. Try Withe today.

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Author Bio

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The Withe Team

Meet the team behind the revolutionary on-demand video interview software that connects great companies with top talent. Their user-friendly solution streamlines the hiring process and helps people find the right opportunities. With a customer-centric approach, this team of experts is dedicated to helping you find the perfect match.

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