Finding strong talent through career fairs

Written by 
Dr. Kristin Trostel

Finding strong talent through career fairs

As we enter into this season of heavy recruitment and as you consider making changes from last year, career fairs can be a great way to maximize your recruitment efforts. 

A successful career fair:

  • Increases brand awareness
  • Expands talent pool diversity
  • Allows you to hire more efficiently
  • Is cost-effective 

Align your messaging with what candidates care about 

These events are great opportunities to highlight what makes your district unique and for candidates to understand what working for you will actually be like. Teacher candidates attend career fairs to learn about other districts and get a feel for how school and district cultures compare. Candidates are also attracted by career support and benefits. Our user research shows that specifically mentioning community support for education, opportunities for upward movement, strong support from leadership, and fewer discipline issues are factors that make teacher candidates more likely to apply.

Select events that align with recruitment goals

Career fairs increase the diversity of your applicant pool by connecting you with prospective candidates from a wide range of backgrounds. Before planning your event calendar, pull the diversity statistics of your student population and set recruitment goals that would result in hiring candidates who reflect your student body. Research shows that this has a tremendous positive impact on students’ academic success. You can then look for events that are targeted to these specific populations or attract a higher proportion of diverse candidates.

In addition, there are several strategies we’ve seen effective in increasing attendance for diverse candidate populations, including advertising your career fair across various channels such as social media and word of mouth, engaging your employee referral program, working with organizations in your area that support diverse teachers in their job search, and engaging with Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs) and student affinity groups.

Structure your event to ensure hiring efficiency

Though it takes time to prepare and host these events, they can ultimately result in time savings later in the hiring process. It can be a large investment to staff the career fair so that as many job seekers as possible can meet individually with a member of your team. But, these short meet and greets can help you identify candidates who are the best fit for your culture and are the most interested in you. 

Implement a quick process to capture potential candidates' information. This can include a sign up for an interview later that same week so that promising candidates have a quick action item after the fair. Be sure to capture all job seekers’ information, even if they may not be right for a current opening. Building a bench of potential prospects saves time in the long run. 

💡Pro tip: If you want to recruit prospects from a fair but don’t have time or it’s not your specific target audience, sometimes you can register for the event just to get the attendee list, even if you cannot actually attend live.

We suggest tracking these potential candidates in Nimble through the Prospects module. This can speed up the screening process and ensure you’re prioritizing the candidates who are most likely to accept your offer once they get to that stage. To boost efficiency and equity, we recommend using a standardized list of questions to screen job seekers during and after the event. 

Maximize the cost-effectiveness of your event

To make the most of your investment, target times of the year when teachers are thinking most about jobs for next year or consider a virtual career fair instead. Virtual events can give you an opportunity to build relationships with a larger, more diverse applicant pool. A great teacher who is open to relocation may not be ready to submit an application (yet!), but they are likely to hop on a Zoom call to learn about your open roles. Have questions about how to host an effective virtual event? Read 5 tips from experts! 

By creating a robust career fair strategy, your organization is more likely to have access to diverse and vast numbers of candidates while highlighting your unique organization efficiently and cost-effectively. Happy hiring!

Dr. Kristin Trostel
Product Marketing Manager