Why Job Fairs Work

Why Job Fairs Work

Job fairs are an important opportunity for your company to connect with potential new hires. 

One of the best things about job fairs is they can be focused. For example:

  • A job fair geared toward recent high school or college grads.
  • A job fair looking to appeal to older people or retirees looking to return to work, make a career switch, or work part-time.
  • A job fair focused on a specific hiring need in your industry or company.
  • A job fair at a HBUC or other places that reflect a commitment to diversity.

In addition, in 2018, pre-pandemic, a survey showed over 11 percent of people aged eighteen to twenty-nine attended a job fair in the previous year¹. Job fairs bring people to you!

The other advantage of job fairs is the potential to make quick hires—you have positions to fill and the people who come to fairs are actively looking. Timely hiring is important. A recent survey determined, “Job candidates are apt to move on if they’re left waiting. In fact … 62 percent of professionals said they lose interest in a job if they don’t hear back from the employer within two weeks — or ten business days — after the initial interview. That number rises to 77 percent if there is no status update within three weeks.”²

It’s time to rethink the job fair in terms of immediacy. The following is an actual example of a member company of IPC looking for people for their electronics factory. They set a specific day for the job fair, advertised it, blasted it on social, and offered incentive bonuses for employee referrals. They invited people in at eight o’clock in the morning, and they give them a tour of the factory—and all its positives. They talked about their company—its culture and the other intangible and tangible elements of working there. People choose a job for more than a paycheck. In addition, then and there, the company showed their visitors the kinds of jobs that they were looking to fill and they could see the kind of people they would be working with. Then they interviewed the people who came to their job fair and made job offers all within three to four hours.  They were done. And they had people starting the following Monday.

Why was this so successful? First, for someone out of work, the idea that they could be in training on Monday instead of weeks of interviews and delays is a completely positive experience. Second, when people accept a job offer it is because they can see themselves in that position. But by holding this in-person tour, candidates can literally see where they would be working and what they would be doing in a tangible way. Hopefully, those on tour see happy employees and positive energy. Going through this process, feeling valued on the tour, and seeing potential co-workers content at their jobs adds to a momentum of wanting to come aboard. 

In short, job fairs done in the updated fashion described above can bring you candidates ready, willing—and excited—to join your company.


Written by John W. Mitchell

¹https://www.statista.com/statistics/227493/job-fair-recruitment-fair-visitors-usa/, accessed February 28, 2023.

²Robert Half, “The Biggest Mistake You’re Making When Hiring,” March 5, 2023, accessed February 18, 2023, https://www.roberthalf.com/blog/evaluating-job-candidates/the-biggest-mistake-youre-making-when-hiring.