Based on survey input from over 3,000 past exhibitors, here are important tips to maximize your success at our events.
Before The Expo
Select and Assign the Right Representatives
Seriously consider sending at least two recruiters to avoid being overwhelmed at especially busy times of the day.
Reps should be personable, outgoing, knowledgeable and passionate about your company and its job openings.
Select reps who will work the crowd and not hide behind smart phones or the table.
Reps should be willing to seek out & engage job seekers, not wait passively to be approached.
A military background is a bonus and can help reps relate to the attendees.
Make Sure Your Table and Recruiters Stand Out
Make sure your reps are easily identifiable—wear a badge or a shirt with your company logo on it.
If you have veteran representatives, consider creating a sign to stand on your table that identifies them as veterans. Example: John Smith—Navy veteran & Mary Clark—Army veteran.
Make your table stand out and be memorable. This is a great opportunity to brand your company in the veteran community.
Plan to use table top displays, banners, backdrops, and panels to attract job seekers to your booth.
Identify Your Job Opportunities
Be prepared to post a list of open positions for which you are recruiting. At a minimum, post general types of jobs for which you typically hire. Hand-outs with a list of open jobs are great take-aways. If they include reference numbers in your ATS, even better.
Ensure that your reps know what jobs are available and are able to talk knowledgeably about those positions.
Advertise Your Participation in the Expo
Tap into your company’s marketing resources to get the word out that you will be at the Expo with career opportunities for veterans. Draw more job seekers to your booth by letting the world know that you will be there.
Make use of your company’s social networking tools (Twitter, Face Book, LinkedIn, etc.) to announce your participation in the event.
Build Your Brand and Reputation in the Veteran Community
“No one accepted my résumé.” “Everyone told me to apply online.” “Why did I bother to come?” These are sentiments we often hear from job seekers.
Change the perception and make your company stand out at the same time by considering ways to make job seekers feel great about your company and their interaction with you at the event.
Don’t just send job seekers to your website! Ultimately, they may have to apply online, but consider taking steps to ensure job seekers feel they made good use of their time by visiting your booth:
If you have an ATS you require candidates to use, provide instructions on how to most effectively access it and use it.
Can’t accept their résumé? Consider printing up business cards with a special RecruitMilitary Job Fair code your ATS will recognize to indicate the job seeker came into the system via their participation in the Expo. Job seekers will feel they have a leg up on the competition when they apply. And you’ll be able to track the number of applicants coming to you through your investment in the expo.
Another effective method is to simply have your rep collect contact information so that hiring managers can look up participants after they’ve applied online. They’ll still need to apply online, but it’s not as impersonal. You’ll know how to find them in your system.
At The Expo
Break the Ice
To help make candidates comfortable and to gather valuable information from job seekers, ask questions like:
“What branch of the service were you in?”
“What is your area of expertise?”
“What types of careers are you interested in?”
Make the Job Seekers Comfortable
Get out in front of your table.
Greet the veterans, shake their hands, smile and say hello.
Do what you can to make them feel at ease.
You have a short time to make an impression on them, and you are giving them an opportunity to make an impression upon you.
Keep the smart phone in your pocket and listen to what they can offer you.
Work the Crowd
Don’t wait for job seekers to come to you.
Stand in front of your table and draw them into conversation as they walk by–notice we’ve repeated this one. They may be on their way to another table and you’ll miss them if you’re behind your own. (Especially important if you represent an employer they might not be familiar with. )
Approach the candidates. Ask what sort of positions they are looking for. Have a match? They’ll love hearing about it.
Know Your Talent Pool
Job seekers at our events are a diverse bunch.
You will find a broad range of experience and backgrounds, from those transitioning from military service into civilian life to those who already have years of civilian experience.
Also in attendance will be reservists, members of the National Guard, and military spouses.
If you are able to accept them, DO. This alone makes many job seekers feel their participation in the Expo was worth the trip.
Getting their résumés into the hands of an employer is much more personal and satisfying than applying anonymously online.
If you can’t accept résumés, take a few minutes to explain why. You do not want excellent prospects to think you are not interested in them.
Veterans with little or no civilian work experience do not know about OFCCP requirements and the use of an ATS to route résumés efficiently.
You know it’s nothing personal. Explain it to them.
Don’t Leave Early
The number of job seekers may be dwindling as it approaches 3:00, but unless you absolutely have to, don’t be tempted to leave early.
It is very disappointing for job seekers to arrive as exhibitors are packing up or already gone. Some make a tremendous effort to attend, even traveling hundreds of miles.
Be there for them. They’d never leave their duty post. Let’s do the same for them.
Recognize that these job seekers are veterans and sincerely thank them.
We owe a debt of gratitude to the men and women who have sacrificed and served. Convey that appreciation in your words and actions.
Help them in any way you can. It is our time to serve them.
Aggressively Schedule Interviews
Job seekers are eager to get the hiring process going.
To have your pick of top candidates, schedule those interviews ASAP.
Even better, conduct on-site interviews.
Our mission is to help organizations excel by attracting, appreciating and retaining America's best talent, its veterans. We've been doing this for 19 years.