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Agrimarketing : September 2009
22 Agri Marketing September 2009 Career fair season is just around the corner and for those of you that travel to career fairs to rep- resent your company, there are a few key things you should know to make a positive impression on the students you'll be interacting with. While exhibiting at a career fair may seem easy, so many organizations get it wrong. Here are a few do's and don'ts for career fairs. PRE-CAREER FAIR Be sure to register early for all career fairs that you plan to attend. This will help ensure that the organization receives advertising and recognition in on the pre-publicity materials for the event. This is also a perfect opportu- nity to talk with the career services professional for the college to see if there are additional ways your com- pany can gain exposure while there for the career fair. Perhaps it is an info session the night before, a club meet- ing happening around that time, or on-site interviewing. Check the career fair web site or consult the documentation for the correct times, including set-up. This is also where schools typically have you sign-up for your prescheduled interview sessions if that is some- thing your organization does. University parking and unloading your materials on campus can some- times be difficult. Many career offices work with student volunteers to help employers unload and deliver mater- ial to their booths and parking instruc- tions are typically included in the paperwork. For your own sake, review this information in advance to make it easier on yourself. Well in advance, begin to think about your booth image and the pro- motional materials you will use. You want a booth that has a clean and concise look, as well as graphics that clearly state key points and objec- tives of the organization. You might consider handing out copies of job descriptions that are available at the time for that level of job seeker, as well as, company pam- phlets that are informative, yet suc- cinct and to the point. Students won't read a lot of text. Giveaways work! Try to be creative and use unique giveaways as a way to entice students into your booth. Think about something that would be useful for the student --- USBs, t- shirts, hats, and food items are very popular. AT THE CAREER FAIR Keep the booth manned at all times. Yes, this can be hard especially for smaller organizations that can only send one or two people, but it is important and leaves a lasting impression if you are absent from the booth when a student comes around. Often times, we leave at lunch, but that is a time that students don't usually have class and plan their quick visit to the career fair. Be sure someone is there to represent you! Send the right people! You want to have people representing your organization that will engage the students in the company's story and make them want to come work for the company. Too often, we see company repre- sentatives reading the paper or checking e-mail on their BlackBerry when at career fairs. You want some- one excited about your company and that is knowledgeable enough to talk with and answer student's ques- tions. Good candidates for the career fair representative role might be recent graduates that you've hired or past interns. One note of caution: Be sure that you train them and make sure they know what the expectations of them are while at the career fair. Pairing a young professional with a more seasoned professional that can truly reflect on the organization and job opportunities is an ideal pairing. A human resource or recruiting profes- sional is also a good representative as they can answer some of the detail type questions. Take the student's resume. We know that this isn't always possible due to company policy or recruiting software that helps with applicant tracking, but it is a very dishearten- ing thing for the student to work hard on a resume for the career fair and then come and have each com- pany say that they need to go to their web site to apply. They could have done that without coming to the career fair! When possible, take their resume, and if you can't, at least look it over with them and give feedback or express some added interest if they would be a good candidate for your organization. POST EVENT This is important --- act quickly! The majority of career fairs take place in the fall, although we are seeing a growing number of spring career fairs, most students will have their choice of opportunities beginning in October/November and will make their career and intern decisions quickly. If you have top candidates that you'd like to consider, get your offers out there as soon as possible. Career fairs are an excellent opportunity to interact with stu- dents, but a career fair is only as good as you make it! If you are ques- tioning your on-campus brand at career fairs, ask for input or feedback from career service professionals at the schools you attend. They have great pointers and know what stu- dents like and do not like. Career fairs are a great place to get brand exposure to a large number of students, but remember it isn't the only way. There are a number of additional activities to connect on campus. Ask the career services professional on campus or contact AgCareers.com at agcareers@ agcareers.com for assistance. AM CAREER FAIR DO'S AND DON'TS The Scoop on Recruiting EVENTS Upcoming AgCareers.com Visit www.AgCareers.com for details Canadian Senior Managers HR Roundtable October 20, 2009 Guelph, Ontario October 22, 2009 Regina, Saskatchewan
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