Spring is here, and we know what that means. Warmer days, of course. Blooming flowers, let’s hope. And, most importantly for recruiters, college students are on the hunt for summer internships and jobs. LinkedIn is good and online applications are great, but what better place for students to meet with potential employers than at their college career fair!

College career fairs are a great way to connect with candidates in person, to share information about your organization’s mission and culture, and to collect the all-important contact information and resumes. The only trouble is, you’re limited on time and competing with every other booth in the room! So how do you stand out to compatible candidates and get them to visit your booth over your competitors?

Forget the neon signs and branded pens. Here are a few simple tips to help your organization stand out:

Plan ahead. Pre-registering and connecting with students prior to the career fair can give you a competitive edge when attempting to recruit them. Better still, if you’re able to schedule facetime with high-priority candidates – do it! College career fairs are a great venue to host pop-up or informational interviews. Most importantly, be prepared with a schedule and recruiter toolkit, which will help your team speak the same language with consistent, on-point messaging.

Create a unique booth experience. These days, young candidates who are just entering the workforce value experiences. So give them one that makes a lasting impression. Depending on who you’re trying to recruit and what roles you’re trying to fill, each booth experience can cater to the needs of your candidates. If you’re looking for specific qualities, these booth experiences can be tailored to help connect with your audience and filter candidates that will and will not be a good fit. Games, workshops, or even performances can elevate your organization above the crowd. We work closely with our clients to develop unique career fair recommendations and custom experiences that can bring their employer brand to life for the candidates they want most.

Bring ambassadors. Ambassadors – such as current employees – are an incredible resource for college career fairs. They bring a personal touch and narrative to the application process and a first-hand understanding of what it’s like to work for your organization. This can be particularly impactful for the niche or hard-to-fill roles. For example, ambassadors that represent diversity and equality within your organization can speak to the initiatives and programs that have helped them thrive. Or for roles that might look very different from one organization to the next – ie. Engineering – candidates can ask first-hand questions and get first-hand answers as to what they can expect, specifically, should they join yours.

Follow Up. This might seem like a no-brainer, but a timely follow-up can be incredibly key when looking to “seal the deal.” Even if you’re unsure of the candidate – or their fit for your organization – leaving them with a good impression can spread a good reputation to their communities, and perhaps to other candidates you’re hoping to attract. And while adding attendees to your talent pool, a personal note to high-priority candidates you were able to connect with goes a long way.

To learn more about how INSIDE can help bring your employer brand to life for young candidates – at college career fairs and beyond – email us at conversations@jwt.com.

J. Walter Thompson INSIDE is a full-service recruitment advertising agency and employer branding consulting firm, creating pioneering ideas in strategic recruitment, human resource development and management, and more.