Should Your Company Go to a College Career Fair?

3 minute read

Every year, colleges across the nation host career fairs on their campuses. And companies big and small have long attended these fairs, looking for fresh, qualified applicants to join their ranks. But are these events still the best way to connect with college students and job seekers? Now that they can use the Internet and social media to reach students, should companies still attend college career fairs?

In short, yes: companies should still send recruiters to college career fairs. If you’re in charge of your company’s hiring process, college career fairs can still play a significant role in your company’s long-term recruiting strategy – if you know how to use them right. Here’s what you should know:

Advantages and disadvantages of career fairs

Critics of college career fairs are quick to point out their disadvantages. First, these events don’t always give companies access to top talent on a campus. While career fairs are touted as a way to meet the best and brightest, top students often have interviews or job offers long before spring semester career fairs, giving them no reason to attend.Second, career fairs don’t always give recruiters an accurate picture of applicants. Recruiters meet dozens, sometimes hundreds, of college students, and they only have a few minutes with each. This type of speed-interviewing is a poor way to get to know college students, and it hardly provides a basis for making hiring decisions.Third, most recruiters spend their time at college fairs explaining what their company does, instead of learning about students’ achievements and qualifications. The fairs are less job-seeking events, where recruiters interview students, than company-seeking events, where students look for companies they like.

However, this last disadvantage is also the primary reason why businesses should send recruiters to college career fairs. It’s a great way to get word out about your company to a ton of fresh and talented job seekers – who can then apply for jobs, tell their friends, and gain an even bigger reach for your brand.

Career fairs and job fairs

Northeastern University’s Department of Career Development draws a distinction between career fairs and job fairs.At job fairs, companies focus on finding people to hire. They’re especially useful when a company has many open positions that must be filled quickly. Career fairs, on the other hand, have a wider scope. Companies can set up interviews and hire students at career fairs, but they can also use these fairs as an opportunity to promote their brand, explain the company’s hiring process and outline typical career paths. Northeastern notes that companies may attend career fairs even when they don’t have any open positions.

Marketing your brand

The next time your company attends a college career fair, don’t focus solely on finding potential employees. Instead, think about how you might market your company to the students there.

In a LinkedIn survey of employed professionals, 56% of respondents ranked a company’s “reputation as a great place to work” as the most important factor when deciding where to work. Building a reputation as a positive workplace begins with marketing your company to prospective employees, and career fairs are a great place to do that.

Go to career fairs this semester, and start branding your company as a great employer. You may not find new hires right away, but marketing your brand will pay dividends in years to come.

This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Should Your Company Go to a College Career Fair?

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