Spotting students holding paper resumes at a career fair is hardly uncommon, but future-focused talent acquisition professionals know that these days may be numbered. In fact, the demise of the paper resume was predicted as far back as 2001, and several technologies have emerged since then to alleviate common campus recruiting headaches. 

But any recruiter who spends time at career fairs knows that we’re hardly paperless yet. So what should you know about collecting paper resumes? Here’s a set of best practices for your next trip to campus: 

Have a resume retention strategy

First things first: it’s important to collect resumes — period. Simply stated, retaining recruitment documents is the law, and it’s not optional. Depending on whether the resumes in your possession are solicited or unsolicited, they’ll need to be retained anywhere from a week to three or more years. That means that every resume you receive during career fairs need to be saved, even if you’re not interested in advancing the candidate. 

Make sure your recruiting team is aware of federal record retention guidelines, and put a system in place so that everyone knows how to add resumes to your organization’s database.

Use technology to capture resumes

Years ago, my system for collecting paper resumes included three color-coded folders: green for clear matches, yellow for average matches, and red for non-matches. These days, it’s hard to imagine carrying stacks and stacks of paper back to my hotel room, logging everything in a spreadsheet, and shipping resume folders off to be scanned. 

It’s the 21st century, and there’s an app for everything, including collecting resumes. So hands down, the best practice for accepting resumes at career fairs is NOT to accept them — at least exclusively in paper form. 

Campus recruitment software modernizes career fair experiences with a mobile-friendly check-in portal to capture candidate information at your booth. Students can upload their resume digitally, or recruiters can take a picture of physical resumes to eliminate paper stacks.  

And now, Yello Passport empowers recruiting teams to make deeper candidate connections. Students can use a unique check-in code to instantly pre-populate their resume and key information, increasing efficiency, ensuring accurate data entry and decreasing long lines during career fairs.

Accurately track evaluations 

With paper resumes, it can be tempting to write notes about candidates directly on the resume. Don’t! These documents are discoverable, and even the most seemingly innocent critical comment can come back to haunt you if it ends up in the wrong hands. The last thing you want is an employment attorney knocking on your door! 

The most effective strategy is to capture candidate evaluations consistently and uniformly with the same technology you’re using to collect resumes. Take a picture of each student’s resume, then ask each of your recruiters to fill out evaluation forms that rate candidates based on pre-selected skills and qualifications. Adding evaluations to a central database allows your team to make hiring decisions faster, share feedback from anywhere and discover candidate trends to help you improve your interview and hiring processes. 

Follow up with candidates

After the career fair, it’s important not to leave candidates hanging. For students with the most promising resumes, send automated follow-up communications that share next steps in the hiring process, along with links to apply to open positions and any key employer branding materials. For candidates who weren’t the right fit, send an invite to join your organization’s talent community. They might just be the right candidate for an open role in the future!

The future is here, and it’s (almost) paperless. Improve your organizations’ resume collection strategy with technology that makes it easier to source, engage and advance candidates—without the paper stacks.