Why a traditional job fair won’t hit your hiring goals

March 24th, 2023
HireVue Team
Tips & Tricks

Job fairs or job expos are hiring events where recruiters have the opportunity to engage with active job seekers, typically narrowed to a certain industry or job type. Many times, these job fairs are held as campus recruiting events to attract new talent fresh out of college.

Companies are now vying for candidates with post-pandemic strategies that include getting back in the hiring booth. The problem is that a job fair alone won't solve their hiring challenges. Here are 5 reasons why:

1. Traditional job fairs have evolved and so must you

Campus recruiting events have been a key hiring strategy for companies for decades. But technological advancements, remote interviewing/hiring practices, cultural shifts, and health concerns have forced companies to re-evaluate their on-site campus hiring events. Campus events can be crucial for scaling hiring and increasing diversity in a company’s hiring goals. 

The key is to adapt to the newly minted needs of college applicants with a nimble events strategy that can blur the lines between the digital and real world and offer both.

Here are some ideas:

  • Use video interviews to scale the number of colleges you can visit 
  • Use recruitment automation tools to narrow down the number of in-person recruiters you need
  • Have a text to apply sign on your booth in case lines are long
  • Setup iPads for people to take OnDemand interviews at the job fair or meet live with off-site recruiters
  • Use automated scheduling to book 1:1 time with the most qualified candidates

2. Some job seekers aren't ready for in-person hiring

Since 2021, more people are becoming comfortable attending in-person events, with many large scale events like Coachella and SXSW showing just a 20% decline in attendance in 2022 and hopes of returning to pre-pandemic numbers in 2023. However, you can’t afford to miss out on those candidates who aren’t ready to attend an in-person event. 

The key is to still provide virtual options for those who aren't ready to meet in person - a change that is here to stay. Virtual hiring is no longer a band-aid solution but a competitive advantage.

The future of work is a hybrid between digital and real-life experience, and hiring teams need to provide that same flexibility in their hiring process to capture more candidates.

"Even if we go back to "the way things used to be," we won't go back to traditional hiring because now we've seen all that virtual hiring has to offer." — Brenna Garbelman, Manager of Talent Acquisition Operations at Lumen Technologies

3. Job fairs are more competition in a competitive hiring market

While job fairs are an opportunity to meet with active job seekers, recruiters have to cut through the competition.

The secret to making the most of the job fair is to beat your competition there. But how?

With OnDemand video interviewing, you can invite candidates to interview ahead of the job fair and use that in-person time to meet with the most qualified candidates and make offers on the spot.

While everyone else is still getting to know job seekers, you are selling star candidates on the benefits of joining your team. Take that neighboring booth!

4. Your competition is hosting 24/7 job fairs

If you feel like it's impossible to find applicants right now, you're not alone. Hiring teams across industries are feeling the competitive pressure to scoop up new talent. Despite an abundance of "We're Hiring" signs popping up, U.S. unemployment and long-term unemployment aren't making major shifts, but with 40% of the global workforce considering leaving their job this year, hiring teams will be looking to recruit from their competitor's payrolls.

In order to win top talent, speed and ease are crucial. With OnDemand interviews, some companies are recruiting like they are at a 24/7 job fair. Their candidates are taking interviews outside of business hours, and an always-on conversational chatbot is moving them through the process with self scheduling and workflow automation.

5. You'll waste time not being able to pre-screen

Unfortunately, job fairs can be a big waste of time for your employees who attend your booth. Most of their day will be spent talking with candidates who don't even meet your necessary qualifications and the needs of your open positions. Job fairs should be thought more about as PR events than hiring events for employers.

The ability to pre-screen potential job candidates does wonders for your hiring process. It helps to ensure that your staff members are only spending their time and efforts interviewing prospective candidates that are qualified for the job. Additionally, pre-screening helps to show your existing staff members that you value their time. They can easily look through applications and select only those candidates that are worth putting more time into.

It's also important to remember that job fairs are loud, and there are tons of distractions around. This can create an adverse environment for your staff members and the candidates alike. Your hiring staff may not be able to properly assess a prospective candidate in these unfavorable interviewing conditions. This can allow them to pass on quality candidates who were overwhelmed by the distractions and already interviewing with many other employers throughout the job fair.

When you employ other application processes, it helps to provide your team with the knowledge they need about a potential candidate before they ever walk into the room. While we all try to remain unbiased, it can be easier to create conclusions about prospective candidates before their qualifications are brought to light. With pre-screening, your hiring staff will get to know each candidate by their application details before they ever walk in the door. This helps to reduce unintentional biases during the hiring process.

Virtual hiring is shifting how employers navigate campus recruiting

Campus recruiting used to involve scheduling vendor booths at job fairs and physically sending your hiring team to various campuses throughout the country. This, no doubt, requires a large time and financial investment from your company to actively find qualified candidates to fill your open job positions.

As any good business owner knows, flourishing in any business starts with being able to adapt freely to the changing environment. When it comes to the hiring process for new campus graduates, the outlook has changed. Job fairs are no longer the most effective means for finding top talent. Rather, many prospective candidates are placing more value on their time.

Many don't opt to attend job fairs anymore. Instead, they prefer to undergo virtual interviews with various businesses that match their needs and wants. Whether it's grabbing an interview between classes or setting an afternoon interview after classes are over, today's students want to have flexibility with the hiring process.

This means that your company needs to be able to offer flexibility to prospective candidates to be sure that you can reach the most talented. If you don't adapt your campus recruiting strategies, you're going to be missing out on the best graduates in your industry because you're not meeting them on their chosen hiring platform. Adaption is the key to campus hiring in the 21st century.

Fortunately, adapting to these new hiring conditions is easier than ever with the right technology to help. HireVue currently offers a hiring platform that creates flexibility for both job candidates and your hiring staff. It allows you to schedule and perform digital interviews with prospective candidates that you've already pre-screened to ensure that they meet your basic qualifications.

Instead of having to invest more time and resources in sending your hiring team to more college campuses for job fairs, you can reach a large, diverse group of potential candidates by using HireVue. Many candidates prefer using digital platforms to submit their job applications and interact with prospective employers. HireVue works to actively connect searching candidates that have the qualifications your positions require with your company.

With a self-service application process, your candidates can easily submit their information to your hiring staff. After submitting an application where your business can pre-screen them, HireVue allows for an easy interview scheduling process. Candidates can participate in digital interviews from any device, making the process very versatile.

HireVue will even send out automated reminders and confirmations to ensure that everyone is prepared for the interview. Post-interview, you can stay in contact with candidates through HireVue's texting platform. Whether it's congratulating them on commencement day or hashing out offers, it can all be done in one convenient place.

If you are looking to hire top talent fast, don't rely on job fairs alone. Here are five tips to hire in days instead of weeks.