4imprint, LLC

| Updated: March 20, 2024 5 min read

Around 90-95% of college career centers hold at least one annual career event. And the average employer participates in around 40 per year. A face-to-face interaction can leave a deep impression in candidates’ minds. And with the right strategies, resources and career fair giveaways, participating in one can be time well-spent for your company.

Here are five career fair trends employers can follow to help recruit the best talent—plus the best career fair giveaway ideas to help you stay top-of-mind.

 Create a unique booth

An eye-catching booth can stop candidates in their tracks. Rather than using a traditional layout where staff stands behind the table, set the table to one side to create a more open and inviting feel. Use a mini wall of bright greenery or offer a virtual reality experience to really pull candidates in.

Over half (52%) of people are more likely to stop at your booth if you’re offering a giveaway. Tasty treats make the best career fair giveaways—and they offer a unique way to stand out from the crowd. Provide refreshments like individual cookies and snack cups. Top it off with beverages like bottled water, iced tea and soft drinks.


Show company impact

Working for a company that makes a positive social impact is more important than ever to candidates. Around 70% of employees say they’d be more loyal to a business that helps them give back in social and environmental areas. And 79% of candidates take a business’s mission statement into consideration during the hiring process, so show recruits that your company’s values, mission and goals tie back to real-life decisions and actions.

Train your reps to clearly outline how new employees can help the business make an impact. Perhaps your company partners with local nonprofits during fundraisers. Or maybe your business has a rewards program incentivizing staff to volunteer. Create brochures that show ways your company is making an impact.


Explain value

Candidates want to know that as a new employee, their thoughts and opinions will be valued. Explain how your company goes above and beyond to ensure each team member’s input is considered. Perhaps you have a monthly employee feedback survey. Or you’ve created feedback loops to keep staff involved in decision-making. Maybe you have a buddy system where new employees can comfortably share their first impressions.

Remind potential candidates that your company values their input with a career fair giveaway like a three-ring binder or unique coffee mug. Every time they use it, they’ll be reminded of your brand.


Participate in virtual and hybrid fairs

Before 2020, about 50% of people participated in virtual career fairs. Now, the average participation rate is 90%. A virtual career fair can result in huge cost savings, greater outreach and fewer distractions for candidates. Many hosting platforms automatically collect LinkedIn® profiles as job candidates sign up. Have your recruiters take advantage of that to target top talent early in the day before screen fatigue kicks in.

To help stand out from all the other video interviews candidates will be involved in, ask thought-provoking and fun questions, such as:

  • What’s one fact you didn’t put on your resume but would love to?
  • If you request $5,000 to solve a problem, but are only given $1,000, what’s your plan of attack?
  • What’s your survival strategy if you’re dropped in the middle of the woods for a week?

Perfect your elevator speech

An elevator speech is a 30-second to two-minute message that tells someone who you are, what you do and what you most want them to remember. At a career fair, it’s essential your recruiters make the most of every second when talking with a candidate. Construct your short message from the viewpoint of what a candidate needs to know, with info like:

  • Day-to-day details of open positions
  • The purpose and value of open positions (52% of people question the purpose of their job, so this is important)
  • Stand-out benefits (like allowing pets at work, one month of paid vacation, etc.)
  • Starting salary

At the end of your short conversation, ask candidates to opt in for follow-up information via text or provide them with a QR code they can scan for additional information.


Sign on your super staff

Easily recruit top talent by tapping into these career fair trends—complete with memorable career fair giveaways. Before you know it, you’ll have the staff you need to take your company to the next level.