Ep 79 – How Recruiters Can WOW Candidates at College Career Fairs

candidates, career, job, fairs, workology

Even though we are living in a digital world, career and job fairs remain an effective way for talent acquisition and recruiting leaders to engage candidates. A 2015 survey by Nicole Dessain, the co-author of Handbook of Human Resources Management found that 84% of respondents participated in university career fairs.

Episode 79: How To Wow Candidates at Career & Job Fairs with Kim Hollenshead (@kimhollenshead)

The career fair is one of the most effective recruiting tools today even with all the digital and social media technology used to engage job seekers. There’s just something about an in person meet that’s really effective in building relationships, especially when it comes to college and university recruiting.

On this episode of the Workology Podcast, I talk with career fair veteran, Kim Hollenshead. She shares with us some of her career fair secrets to engaging candidates and prospects to drive qualified booth traffic.

Successful Career Fairs Start with Booth Traffic and Great Marketing

In terms of preparing for your next career fair, Kim recommends making sure you are attending the right schools depending on your hiring needs and specific degrees. Work directly with the career services department and schedule a speaker either before or after the career fair to drive more qualified candidates to your university and college recruiting.

The secret to a successful career fair is traffic. Driving booth traffic is important. Make sure your people are wearing t-shirts with a funny logo to help drive conversations. Get on t social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat to start building relationships leading up to the job fair. Never stand behind the table under any circumstances. Get out there and shake hands in front of the table and ask questions. Be more aggressive in your marketing and engagement efforts. This tip works for vendors at conferences and expo halls too.

Booth swag is important and not just run of the mill swag either. You need swag that stands out and makes a statement. It needs to be useful to students, so much so that they will use it again and again.

How to Select Staff to Attend Your Career Fair

While swag is important, the right staff to attend the career fair is even more important. Kim suggests providing staff whether recruiters or hiring managers with a list of FAQs and commonly asked questions to help prepare them for the variety of questions they will receive. Most importantly, Kim says your career fair booth babes need to talk to candidates about next steps so they have a full understanding of what will happen upfront. This is critical for your candidate experience. Candidates need to know about the company culture, but they also need to know when a recruiter will reach out to them for the next step in your recruiting.

Virtual Career Fairs and Other Non-Traditional Recruiting Tools

As recruiting teams, we can’t be at every campus or career fair event at once. There just are not enough hours in the day. Kim fills us in on some non-traditional tools including virtual career fairs, video streaming and hackathons as a way to engage candidates beyond the booth and handshake.

Connect with Kim Hollenshead on LinkedIn.



*A special thank you to my production team at Total Picture Radio.

Posted in

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell is the founder of Workology, a digital resource that reaches more than a half million HR and workplace leaders each month and host of the Workology Podcast. Jessica lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, daughter, and an assortment of furry family members.

Reader Interactions


  1. sani ur rehman says

    I am blogger since 2013 and i am a student of BS commerce I love reading and writing and i working at a blog such a nice information about my search thanks for sharing


Pin It on Pinterest