Booth Busters: How to attract candidates to your booth at a hiring event

Topics: campus recruiting, on-campus events, hiring events, open house for recruiting

Posted by NAS on Dec 15, 2016 9:00:00 AM

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So you’ve downloaded our 2017 Calendar of Healthcare Conferences and Events or you’ve made plans to hold your own event in the near future. The team at NAS has plenty of experience helping clients prepare for, promote and participate in job fairs and hiring events. We asked them to provide their ideas on how to draw the crowds to your booth and what to give away, as well as their simple advice for a successful day. Here’s what they said:

Out-of-the-box ways to draw people to your booth

Sean Bain: At a college event, one company had an old-fashioned photo booth: the ones that spit out the four small images. They asked students to put on company logo shirts, as if they were already employed, and pose for photos.

Nancy Caputo: One hospital brought a photographer to their booth so that attendees could get a professional profile shot for use on LinkedIn and other platforms. The company was able to have a conversation with them while this was taking place.

Phil Ridolfi: I’ve seen a company partner with a local adoption center. It was really cool, as people would hold the puppies and were willing to watch a video or have a conversation in the process.  All of the puppies were adoptable, so it was a win/win. 

Anne Lynette Gallas: I’ve seen companies bring massage therapists with chairs for neck and back massages. Great idea, given all of the walking at a large show.

Katie Gallagher: I know one company that had one of those money booths. It was filled with small gift certificates and a grand prize, which you had to grab as the pieces were flying.

Giveaways that attract the most attention

Jason Weinhaus: Most companies offer a raffle drawing for a big prize. The problem is that the chances to win are so small, so it is a lot less appealing for someone to stop by other than to drop off a card.  Smaller giveaways that serve practical use are much better and will get more people to the booth.  I also ran into a company that offered a $5 Starbucks card if the individual joined the talent network. 

Katie: For me, it is swag that I need or can never have enough of: pens, glass cleaner, thumb drives.

Sean: Anything technology-driven is popular, including phone cases, chargers, thumb drives, etc.

Nancy: Cool bags and water bottles are always appreciated.

Simple advice to improve the success of your event

Ashley Kaufmann: Pre/post engagement are often overlooked. Lots of clients just go to the events without any planning prior to the date, which means attendance can be scarce. And post-event follow-up is mandatory to make the most of the hard-won contacts you’ve made.

Katie: Advertise sooner, rather than later, about the event. Keep your messaging short and sweet, with clear directions and times.

Nancy: Use pre-event promotion to make sure you are on the candidate’s radar. One client I had sent one flip flop in the mail with a handwritten note inviting the candidate to the booth to pick up second at the booth.  And remember, following up after an event is critical. 

Jason: I have noticed that a personal outreach before the event goes a long way. If this approach is feasible, a phone call or voice message and follow-up email can really personalize your invitation to visit at the show.

Anne Lynette: Spread the word about your upcoming event through your existing employee population, encouraging them to alert their friends and share on social platforms to drive attendance.

Sean: Implement technology to track their attendance to the booth, such as a tablet with your talent network functionality on it. That will help with your follow-up communications.

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