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Tips for Organizing Job Fairs

written by: Alison Moxley•edited by: Linda Richter•updated: 1/10/2011

It may seem like a daunting task to conduct hundreds of interviews in one day and remember all of them when you get back to the office. Be a little creative and use technology to keep all of the names, faces, and facts organized.

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    Best Tips for Organizing Job Fairs

    With unemployment numbers soaring and millions still out of work, it can be an overwhelming task to plan your job fair. From keeping track of resumes, matching faces with names, and conducting on-site interviews, organizing job fairs can be a job in itself.

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    Plan Ahead

    Don't go blindly into your job fair. You will likely be meeting with hundreds or even thousands of qualified applicants. Make a skeleton plan of attack. Determine how many hours the fair will last, how many candidates you will interview per hour, and how you will deal with common job fair problems. By creating a plan in advance, you'll be better able to maximize your time.

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    Bring a Partner

    Have an assistant handy to collect information and paperwork from your candidates. This will leave you free to interact with your candidates without the worries of administrative tasks. The assistant will be on hand to sort paperwork, keep notes, and take care of logistical issues such as securing any badges or other materials provided by the fair coordinator.

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    Go Digital

    Having an assistant will help you organize your candidates Having access to technology is invaluable when conducting your job fair. Bring along a laptop computer for easy access to spreadsheets, databases, and internet. While most hotels and conference centers provide wireless internet access, bring a backup wireless internet card just in case. If your laptop has a built-in camera, use it to take a quick shot of the candidate (with their permission, of course). Assign a number to each picture that corresponds with the accompanying resume. This will help you remember your conversations.

    A helpful tool for organizing job fair candidates is a handheld lead retrieval scanner. This small scanner resembles a smart phone and is portable and lightweight. Use it to scan the candidate's name badge. The scanner will capture the information the candidate used when he or she registered for the fair. Some scanners will allow you to program it with questions that will help you further qualify your candidates. Many have printing capabilities.

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    Use Time Effectively

    Some candidates will be very brief, only visiting your table for a few moments before moving on. Others will attempt to completely monopolize your time, keeping you from meeting other candidates. Don't allow this to happen. If your company is well known, there may be many candidates clamoring for your attention. Having one person who spends too much time at your table can cause a traffic jam of applicants waiting to speak with you. Bring an egg timer and set it for two minutes. (If that seems too obtrusive, get a small digital timer that only you can see.) After the time is up, invite the candidate to leave his contact information for a later follow-up.

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    Create an Assembly Line

    Position your assistant as the first point of contact at the table. Require attendees to drop off a copy of their resume with the assistant first. Have your assistant provide them with a sheet that provides basic company information and a list of frequently asked questions. Candidates can review this literature before they speak to you, making better use of the limited interview time.

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    At your job fair, you'll likely meet many candidates in one day. It can be difficult to remember all of them. Don't risk letting the best ones fall through the cracks. If you follow these tips for organizing job fairs, you'll have a better chance of meeting the best candidates.

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    Image Credit

    Image Credit: Luigi Diamante, freedigitalphotos.net