With the economy roaring, the college class of 2020 was poised to compete in a hot market for their first jobs heading into their final school year.
Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic turned all of that upside down. Instead of heading to campus for a traditional job fair, employers were forced to rely on virtual career fairs, which is not the easiest way of selling a student on your company.
Thankfully, in-person college career fairs return to campuses this year and in 2022 — a huge opportunity for employers looking to land entry-level talent, but also a huge challenge.
In June 2021, there were 10 million available jobs. At the same time, only 8.7 million people were still unemployed. While the restaurant and hospitality industries appear to be the hardest hit by this worker shortage, major companies — the kind that historically visits college campuses in hopes of attracting the most promising students to their business — are also struggling.
Hiring has never been more challenging. Potential employees not only want good wages, but also a job that provides upward mobility and a supportive culture. They want progressive benefits. And they want to continue learning.
In this case, the employer needs to sell them on all of that and more at a college career fair. It’s no easy task, but it can be done.
TentCraft is a U.S. manufacturer in the business of custom pop-up tents and structures, and we’ve been fortunate enough to work with major organizations, like the New York City Police Department and U.S. Army, on custom tents used for recruiting. So, we know a thing or two on how to attract recruits to your booth and what makes a recruiting booth effective.
What are Examples of College Recruiting Booths?
College recruiting booths take many different forms. Some colleges limit employers to minimum signage and already have assigned tables set up inside a gymnasium. If that’s the case, you only need to bring materials to hand out and event signage that can help your company stand out at the fair.
NYPD Recruit Tent
Take a look at our work for the NYPD. New York’s Finest uses TentCraft’s heavy-duty pop-up tents to engage with recruits. The department adds on half-height walls and counters to mount iPads, making it easy for future cadets to sign up for more information. And to make sure the tent can be seen in a busy New York City crowd, the department installs two branded peak flags on top of the 10x15 frame.
Home Depot Job Fair Tent
Home improvement retail giant Home Depot relies on TentCraft’s X-Series Frame Tents for on-site job fairs. A 20’x40’ frame tent may be too large for a college campus, but it’s a versatile option for businesses looking to also host on-site job fairs.
Unique Job Fair Tent Designs
At college job fairs, employers need to focus on their pitch to students - not about their setup blowing over on a windy day. Weather is unpredictable, which is why it’s important to invest in a heavy-duty pop-up tent to promote your company at outdoor job fairs.
The traditional canopy style isn’t for everyone, though, which is why TentCraft’s team of engineers has designed a variety of canopy models to help your business stand out.
A traditional canopy style that includes options for peak flags.
Ideal for a career fair with an indoor setting or when dealing with height restrictions.
With six sides, you get more space for branding across a unique, 360-degree design. Counters can easily be added, allowing space for materials to hand out.
When you need more room, the MONARCHHEX becomes the HEXTEND when you need 13’x15’ or larger.
A unique look and additional shade.
Provides 20% more printable real estate compared to a traditional canopy.
Perfect for a career fair where you're placed against a building or trailer.
How Can You Attract Students to Your Booth?
You can arrive at a college career fair with the best pitch in the world, but you first need students to approach your booth. Here are some tips to attract students to your stand.
Be Clearly Branded
Remember this episode of The Office?
If a student can’t read the name of your company from 20 feet away, they’re likely not going to approach your booth. Use custom event signage or event flags to clearly identify your company.
Everyone loves SWAG - Stuff We All Get! Arrive with plenty of goodie bags packed with branded items, from stickers to t-shirts, to attract students to your booth.
Have a little fun with your booth. Are you a construction company? Put out Jenga for attendees to play. Hiring for your credit union? Put out a large jar filled with pennies and hold a contest, awarding a nice prize to the person who guesses closest to the total. Recently, at an Ohio State University football game, Safelite Auto Glass used a TentCraft custom truss structure to have attendees “kick a field goal” to promote its brand. Those little engagement touchpoints can make a big difference.
Have Dedicated Greeters
Recruiters need to focus on talking with interested students, not flagging down potentially interested students. Bring along a greeter or two to personally interact with students who are walking by. If those students respond, the greeters can take them to the recruiter.
What Should You Include in a College Recruiting Booth?
Of course, you need all of the important branding elements, from a custom pop-up tent (if you’re outside) to even signage and flags that identify your company, but you should also bring:
- Detailed job descriptions. A packet on the company’s internship program or documents with actual entry-level job descriptions.
- Business cards. It might be a bit old school, but still effective. You never know when that student may pull that card out of his or her pocket and reach out.
- Employee benefits information. Students want to know how you treat employees. Showing off your employee benefits is one way of doing that.
- Sign up software. Try and get every student you talk with to input their name and email so you can follow-up after the fair and email them targeted content about joining your company.
- Workplace superstars. Have a superstar employee who started as an intern? That’s the story potential candidates want to hear. Bring those people with you to the career fair.
- A positive, energetic attitude. Nothing beats happy faces and positive attitudes. At the end of the day, that's the best thing you can bring to be successful at your career fair.
TentCraft Can Help With Your Recruitment Booth
Looking to upgrade your current recruitment booth setup? Reach out to TentCraft and let’s come up with a solution that makes your booth stand out in a competitive landscape.