5 Ways to Leverage Technology to Get the Most From a Job Fair

Recruiting the right talent for your business has always had its share of struggles, but in today’s job market, with fierce competition and wage stagnation, it can feel downright impossible. A Glassdoor study said it takes 23.8 days to make a hire and the process costs an average of roughly $4,129 per hire in 2016 dollars. On top of these statistics, the biggest challenge for hiring managers is finding quality talent. Another survey reported 76% of hiring personnel expressed this as their largest issue!

Because of this, talent acquisition leaders are always looking for the next best source of quality talent. One of the most underused sources of quality talent are recruiting events. This is the only channel that allows recruiters to meet talent face-to-face at first, making the initial screening process even easier if done right! Take a look at the 5 top trends in recruiting events and how you can leverage them as a quality source of talent for your firm.

1. Text candidates before and after

Research from a few years ago suggests that 90% of text messages are read within 3 seconds of receipt.  29% of all Americans have used a smartphone as part of a job search; the percent rises to 53% for millennials, according to a 2015 analysis by the Pew Research Center. Nexxt, a job search provider, says 68% of millennials, 73% of Gen Xers and 75% of Baby Boomers said they are willing to receive a job opportunity over text.

Today’s candidates want you to text them. So, it’s time to do it already! Texting is a fantastic way to remind job seekers of your events, help them know what to bring, answer questions about what the event will entail and to engage and nurture them once they’ve walked out the door. While email addresses might change with a new job and home phone numbers rarely get answered, texts are undeniably read and responded to.

Even better than using SMS within your recruitment and event strategy? Use one that integrates with your ATS or CRM. There are tons of platforms that will allow you to automatically manage multiple texts from candidates, write out standard answers to FAQs and add to a candidate record if a phone number changes.

Using text messaging to follow up after the event also makes your event more personal and capitalizes on one of the key things you need in today’s candidate-driven market – speed. Imagine having a wonderful hiring event on Friday and calling and emailing throughout the following week to try to schedule an interview. Instead, you can send a SMS right after the event to schedule an interview and be his or her next employer in days. Texting not only optimizes your recruiting event spend, it allows you to cut your time to hire significantly, saving you internal resources as well.

2. Collect candidate info via mobile

Make it easy for event attendees to provide their information. Gone are the days of the business card fishbowl. Today’s recruiting events offer tablets integrated with HR technology, so crucial pieces of information don’t get lost. But accurate and compliant applications aren’t the only reason mobile applications are taking off. Here are some of the advantages:

  • If you have a link for them to use on their phone, you have the information to retarget them starting then and there.
  • By entering their information at the event, your ATS can go to work matching and using predictive analytics right away, so you can offer them the right opportunity.
  • Having complete records of a candidate’s information allows you to tag them with special notes you might otherwise forget.
  • Your booth attendant can help them through certain application questions in real-time.

Did you know a 2016 survey found 60% of applications are abandoned? Avoid candidate attrition by offering quick and easy guidance through your process.

Another bonus for busy recruiters is by having candidates place their information into an app, you can easily sift through the 250 applications you’re likely to receive at an event much faster than 250 resumes, CVs or business cards.

3. Candidate segmentation

As with any hiring initiative, implementing a recruiting event strategy requires understanding the unique candidates you will be meeting. Whether you’re targeting a diverse segment, a specific veteran group or college students, it’s crucial you have an idea of the values they hold and the messaging that will resonate best with them. Additionally, you should have an idea of how they want to communicate with your recruitment team.

Candidate segmentation steps:

  1. Identify the key individuals and groups that you will be interacting who have the skills you want to acquire.
  2. Build a profile of your current employees and top candidates to use as a guide in messaging. Hint: Using your top performers will make this a more discerning baseline!
  3. Research challenges and learn the barriers of the specific group and address these with company policies and messaging. This could mean adjusting how you communicate benefits, photos on career sites, or which company programs you highlight.
  4. Build relationships with individuals and groups that represent the candidate segment to better understand what resonates with them. While you may not always hire these people right away, they can be great resources to understand where your messaging is right on target and which elements should be changed or eliminated altogether.
  5. Develop partnerships through your firm to benefit specifically targeted talent pools to show candidates your firm’s support. Whether you decide to underwrite a specific scholarship or sponsor a series of events the group is holding, ensure you speak with them about what this alignment means and how you can anticipate being involved.
  6. Eliminate or minimize barriers that may prevent your candidate segment from applying to the position. For example, if you’re targeting working mothers in an industrial area, check to ensure public transportation is available, focus on local school schedules and alter shifts if they conflict with either or your target talent pool will potentially feel unsafe. If you cannot alter schedules, consider providing safe transportation or a childcare subsidy.
  7. Offer specific services and resources that align with the issues and interests of the candidate segments. In the example above, a company shuttle for late-night workers, or subsidizing a local after school program could be the difference between an engaged and loyal workforce and severe turnover and retention issues.

Identify prominent trends in the segments you’re targeting, then address how your company solves for these within your recruitment messaging and follow ups to attendees. From there, you can select where to attend or host your candidates.

4. Events mobile apps

Using an events mobile app, can help your talent acquisition team manage recruiting events on the go. This technology highlights the must-meet candidates who are expected to attend or have attended your event, making it easy to follow up with and engage the right candidates right on the spot!

The full recruiting events technology platform (available in a mobile app) gives you pinpoint accuracy in identifying a third of the candidates you’ll want to interview. Plus, it allows you to respond to candidates who aren’t considered a great fit but allows you to keep their information or future openings and allows the job seeker to continue their search without damaging your employer brand with poor candidate experience or lack of follow up.

The tools and solutions you use are a direct reflection of your company, your brand, and even culture. Integrating intelligence into your recruitment is a surefire way to make your process easier and see the best results when it comes to recruiting and hiring that new talent.

5. Integrate Augmented & Virtual Reality

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are technologies that have been applied to everything from video games to real estate, so it’s no wonder the recruiting industry has started adapting their own uses. These two forms of digital experience can both garner interest in your upcoming event or enhance the candidate experience and your employer branding during.

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For example, creating a VR tour of your company’s offices will help potential applicants place themselves in the environment they might work within. It is a great way to show your candidates a virtual tour and also a day in the life of employees at your company.

Companies are also using AR and VR technology to impart meaningful employment to future employees. In many cases, it’s hard to show the impact of work within a cafeteria or hotel (where many events are held) but if an agricultural giant can show how modified crops are helping to feed those in need or a mutual fund can “offer a tour” through the high-tech investments they support, prospects are more likely to understand how their work will impact the world around them.

This technology can also help career event attendees see company benefits like corporate philanthropy initiatives, what work from home looks like or meet with their future colleagues across the globe!

Because AR can use mobile location technology, it is a great tool for day-of attendees. For instance, your team can build a geo-location social app filter for an in-house event which will allow attendees to share their experience with followers in an engaging way. Or, even an interactive map can help candidates easily find your location within the event space.

Technology can make a difference

As companies continue to spend heavily on recruiting, the market demands more effective recruiting strategies. Begin by evaluating the different recruiting event trends and the specific key benefits each provides. Technology has impacted seemingly every aspect of our lives. This is especially true when it comes to recruitment and recruiting events.

Charles Hipps

Charles is founder and CEO of Oleeo - an award-winning provider of innovative talent acquisition technology. Charles established Oleeo in 1995 and took the company public on the London Stock Exchange in 2000. Charles is a notable and respected industry leader speaking regularly at seminars and conferences about best practice in recruitment and talent engagement.