By Cassidy Jelen
Minnesota State Transportation Center of Excellence
I am sure you have been contacted in the past by colleges and or high schools (maybe even the Transportation Center) asking you to participate in career fairs and have wondered what your return on investment (ROI) is or how to prepare a display that attracts visitors. We are here to help with some tips on displays, activities and a testimonial from Joe Spier, Director of Talent Acquisition and Safety for Nuss Truck & Equipment who shares their experience and perspective on participating in career fairs.
why spend the time?
Career fairs are an important, easy tool for businesses to leverage and they are most often free to attend. Just a few benefits of career fairs are:
- Connecting with students (and letting them know what your great company has to offer!)
- Gaining exposure for your business
- Cultivating relationships with the hosting college/school
Recently I interviewed Joe Spier, Director of Talent Acquisition and Safety, for Nuss Truck & Equipment on the importance of career fairs for businesses. Here’s what he had to say:
I believe they are absolutely necessary and critical to the success of a student. The end result is the student and being able to get visibility, to educate, to enlighten a student about the industry and then ultimately how the school can set someone up for success and then come into the business at large, it’s so critically important. It is something I believe is necessary for success.
Activities, activities, activities!
Activities, especially hands-on, are major component on the success of your booth at a career fair. Students do not want you just talking to them; they want you to show them how to do something. Show them what your company does by bringing in samples, tools that you use, video demonstrations or real life demonstrations (if safe to do in a small space and is approved by your career fair host). The more visual and hands-on components you have that will draw students in, the better.
Make sure you have print materials out illustrating more about your company, jobs, and the student’s next step for a career in that field. Company branded giveaways never hurt either! Keep that student thinking about your company every time they hold your pen in their hand, open your notebook, and put on your t-shirt.
Nuss Truck & Equipment’s booth at the Rochester STEAM Summit in November had real Volvo team members that were live video chatting with the students as a “day in the life” illustration.
According to Joe Spier during our interview, “a lot of the students were surprised at first. They didn’t understand or realize what it was about. You think about trucking and just commonly think ‘oh its a semi truck’ or it’s a diesel mechanic. But it goes beyond that. The amount of technology that we have for our products in today’s environment is really cutting edge and extraordinary and so I think it really surprised everybody how it’s beyond the diesel technician. It’s the technology, the learning, the electronics, the GPS systems that we track, how sophisticated the systems are on a semi truck to keep that piece of equipment going and earning for American businesses and ultimately as a transportation industry how sophisticated our network is in America regarding those elements of technology.”
The look of your booth is equally important! Here are some things you should strongly consider.
- Branded tablecloth
- Roll up banner
- Literature holder
- Promotional products
- Last but not least, a hands-on-activity to grab attention
If you don’t already attend career fairs, my hope is that you now understand and see the value that they hold for you and your company. If you already attend them, I hope that you have been inspired to think outside of the box and take your booth display/activities to another level! In the words of Mr. Spier, careers fairs are “more than just hiring students it’s maintaining relationships for all involved”.