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  • How Many Recruiters Does It Take to Work a Career Fair?

    April 12, 2019 | By NACE Staff

    Best Practices
    A group of recruiters in the work place.

    TAGS: best practices, recruiting methods, branding and marketing, recruiting, nace insights

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

    Career fairs are a valued method of recruiting students for internships and full-time positions. Hiring organizations send groups of employees to college campuses to market their companies to students and find candidates.

    So, how many representatives and recruiters does it take to engage students during a career fair? Although it appears that four people is the magic number, the final headcount depends on the answers to several questions.

    An employer asked the NACE Community for information on the ideal number of company representatives at the career fair table. This recruiter typically brought six people—someone from each of five different departments and a talent acquisition specialist. At a busy career fair, that number might be perfect, but at a slow career fair, it’s wasted time and talent. And, the employer asked, “How do you prioritize who gets to go when there is more interest than spots to fill?”

    Colleagues responded with more questions the organization should consider when putting a recruiting team together and offered advice. One employer services specialist says employers should determine:

    • The majors it is seeking;
    • How many students are eligible for your job opportunities at that specific school; and  
    • If the company has brand recognition at the school.

    At a career fair with only 100 eligible students, you probably don’t need a team of six; two or three should be plenty. If you have 500 students and 10 opportunities, you might want to bring a larger team.

    Another consideration comes when your company doesn’t have immediate brand recognition and will be competing with dozens of other companies. How will you set yourself apart from the competition?

    A university relations manager who typically finds four reps at a career fair a good number—but has taken 10 engineers to a career fair where all were busy throughout the event—says it depends on the size of the program being hired for and previous experience at each school. He asked more questions:

    • Will the university allow more than four recruiters?
    • Do you expect a long line at your booth?
    • How diverse is your team?
    • How outgoing are your team volunteers? Are they approachable and friendly?
    • Do volunteers represent the whole company or only their department?

    One university allows four individuals at an organization’s booth, but employers can purchase a second booth if they feel they need more people and space. And at another university, where space is at a premium, only four representatives are welcome at each booth. Because of space limitations, this school sells half tables (two reps).

    One company offers a spot on the recruiting team to each recruiting committee. These representatives are already trained to speak about the day-to-day work. Any remaining openings are filled by hiring leaders or recent graduates.

    Other tips for career fairs and on-campus recruiting offered in this discussion include:

    • Sending recent alumni who still have strong campus connections. Also, don’t stand or sit behind the table: it creates a barrier between you and students, and you may miss out on candidates, says an employer outreach coordinator.
    • Understanding that when bringing more than four individuals to the career fair, the reps can spill into the space occupied by other companies, says one career center staff member.
    • Sending people who know your business well, know what positions are available, and have the energy to engage students as they walk by the table.
    • Including a diversity of people: men, women, people of color, new hires, and experienced employees.
    • Bringing people who can speak clearly about the positions available at your organization.
    • Sending (or staggering) representatives who can stay the entire time and, at least, one general representative who can speak to the full scope of roles.
    • Creating a nice-looking table display and giving away fun or unusual items that can expand your organization’s name recognition.
    • Building a relationship with the career center and connect with faculty in the areas in which you want to recruit. Volunteer to give class presentations.

    Join the discussion about the number of recruiters to send to career fairs in the NACE Community.