How to make a job fair work for you

by | Oh! That’s for Voice Talents…”
A common, yet mistaken, phrase I overheard numerous times at the Western Job Fair last week. Trisha Beausaert,’s Public Relations Manager, and I spent six hours speaking to various students onsite at the job fair about their career goals, and most importantly, how they could align with a future at
The most valuable lesson I learned within the first half hour is that these students are scanning many company banners, and if your message is not clear, it may be easy to misinterpret exactly what you are offering to this talent pool. Based on the questions and feedback we were receiving from the job seekers, I began to consider whether perhaps we were missing some great candidates simply because they had the wrong idea of what it means to work at
Be specific

To put it bluntly, they thought, based simply on our brand name, that we were at the job fair to hire voice-over talent. So Trisha and I shifted our focus, and worked to clarify what it means to work with us. We explained that we were here to promote jobs within the head office, located in downtown London. Once we pointed out our list of current openings, which sat on our booth, the students started to inquire further about their possible future in a more informed way.
I started to take a look around at some of the other companies who had set up shop close to us. Putting myself in the shoes of the students, I quickly realized that we had a huge advantage thanks to our decision to display our current job openings right on our table. In contrast, many of our neighbor-companies were merely using their physical presence as a means of connecting with the students.

For example, between strolling students I watched from our company’s spot on the floor as potential new employees passed by the booth of a major Canadian insurance company, probably thinking that it was only Insurance Sales positions that were available, as well as an employment agency booth, most likely assuming that they were only Headhunters. However, if I could place a bet, I would say many of those companies have many other roles that would fit many of the students’ interests, and were completely being missed.
Dig deep
Although it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint whether or not a student who has stopped at your booth is a good fit for your company, we took the time to “What are you studying?”, and “When is your expected graduation date?” These are just some of the questions we asked the students who approached us, which allowed us to connect with many students graduating this spring.

These individuals are prime talent for our Business Development Specialist role, as well as many Computer Science students who could help expand our Technology department. The best part? Even though many students’ do not expect to graduate for another few years, we were able to put on their radar. Our hope is that we’ve introduced the company enough that they will remember us when it does come time to graduate, and they will already know ahead of time how to apply.
What was very interesting was the responses I received when we asked the students’ questions about themselves and their career objectives; “Well I’m in Social Sciences, so I probably wouldn’t qualify.” Actually, you do! This is a great background to have, and we were thrilled to instill a sense of recognition of this fact into these new faces. This is something that both students and local employers need to remember.
At the end of the day, our business cards made it into the hands of many, and we have already received numerous follow-up emails and new applications. The job fair was a success, and we now know what works best when recruiting from this particular talent pool.
Bio: Kaitlyn Annaert, a graduate of Western University Canada with a four-year Specialization in Business and Human Resources Management in 2011, is the Human Resources Manager for Coming from a Human Resources position in the manufacturing sector, she has been exposed to many labour relations activities, recruitment processes, training and development, and HR best practices. Kaitlyn is responsible for hiring and retaining the best candidates for the team in order to maintain the positive corporate culture that makes the award-winning company such a unique and positive place to work.

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