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Best Bang for Your Recruiting Investment

Posted by Kathleen Smith

Semper Fortis SolutionsAccording to the 2015 Candidate Research Report, candidates are looking well in advance for their jobs and are looking to have a real conversation before they go through the application process.

While many smaller employers might not consider a job fair as part of their recruitment strategy, there are a variety of reasons they should do so, as recruiting has evolved from a simple transactional practice to a wide breadth of interactions with many candidates.

Small- to medium-size companies are competing with large enterprise companies for the same talent pool, but they don’t have the same budgets. Recruiting requires a year-round effort to engage candidates at many levels – from online and social media to face-to-face interactions. Recruiting has become the new advertising medium. And what has always been the best advertising? Word-of-mouth.

But how do you build word-of-mouth? Word-of-mouth is built on a foundation of experiences candidates have with your company. These genuine experiences travel like wildfire through the community and pique the interest of candidates and customers. In a community that is known for being impersonal, providing a real personable experience goes a long way in building your brand.

Job fairs provide not only an opportunity to promote your company and open positions, but a great opportunity for your team to interact with job seekers. These face-to-face interactions with a targeted audience allow you to create positive experiences that go a long way in building your word-of-mouth advertising.

Semper Fortis Solutions, a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) that supports the Department of Defense, recently attended a Cleared Job Fair and was voted Best Recruiter. Gary Shephard, Recruiting Manager shares that he brings his whole senior management team to a Cleared Job Fair.

“I have seen a great deal of benefit from this best practice. First, the word quickly gets out (in the job fair) that Semper Fortis Solutions has the President of the company, the Director of Operations, the Chief Systems Engineer and the IT Director at the job fair. We get a great deal of candidates who may not have considered us prior to arriving at the job fair.”

Gary further shares:

“Our team members at the job fair give real genuine face time to each prospective candidate. We are genuinely happy to see them. We are honest and professional, but we create and promote an environment of friendliness and fun. Sometimes, that environment means being honest and saying, ‘Your skillset isn’t something we are looking for today.’ That isn’t always fun, but still, we remain sincere. As a result, I believe many job seekers feel Semper Fortis Solutions is a company they would be proud to be associated with.”

When a small company is trying to make a big bang bringing hiring managers and senior management to a job fair is a great way to build the company’s brand.

This investment of a few hours can be compared to a large scale advertising campaign on television and radio but even better. Why? Targeting. Your managers are speaking to candidates in a very select pool of security cleared job seekers in key geographic areas. While some of the candidates that you speak with may not be exactly who you are looking for, those candidates have colleagues that they will be sharing their positive experiences with. Many of these people may never have heard of your company, but now they know your company and something positive about it. So rather than that billboard on 95, you have professionals giving your company a recommendation to a targeted audience.

Job fairs are about advertising and recruiting in the long term rather than just the short term. According to the Candidate Research Report, candidates have an initial experience with your company up to a year ahead of when they are starting to look for a job. This positive experience that they had with you at a job fair will be recalled when the candidate is now looking for a job and sees one of your job postings.

Finally job fairs also shorten the hiring cycle when you know what kind of client culture the candidate will fit into. Candidates may have all the right stuff, but in essence the client is going to make the final decision and their culture is going to be a big part of the final decision. If you can make this decision at the beginning of your hiring cycle rather than the end of it, you have saved yourself a lot of time.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 01, 2016 6:12 pm

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