You spend countless hours preparing for career fairs, setting up your booth, paying a (sometimes hefty) registration fee and checking every item off your to-do list. But as the recruiting event draws near, one question remains: how many students will visit your booth?

Career fair registration is a crucial tool to get a sense of how many candidates are interested in employment opportunities at your company —before you even step foot on campus. It also gives you a chance to review student qualifications in advance, find out which majors will be represented, and devise a short-list of promising candidates for your organization’s internship and entry-level positions.

Here’s how career fair registration technology is helping today’s leading brands boost visibility on campus:

Cultivate brand awareness

Of course, recruitment marketing efforts like partnering with the career center, posting on social media, and sending email campaigns are all great ways to promote the career fairs you attend. But do you know the true return on investment of these channels?

Think of career fair registration as brand awareness with a call-to-action. It’s a way to spread the word about your presence on campus, while asking students to confirm their interest in you as an employer. Before the event, post registration links on social media, on your career site, and by emailing your talent community.

Once students have registered, send them an email to let them know where your booth will be located at the career fair, along with a list of available internship opportunities or full- and part-time positions.

“We don’t just want to put an event out there, we want to market it appropriately — we’ve been able to leverage Yello with a pre-registration link and get the word out more effectively.”

Katie Klietz, Campus Recruiting Lead, Plexus

Secure high-potential candidates before the competition

Speed matters in talent acquisition. Reach students before other employers by building a talent pipeline before the event even begins. Review the registration list and arrive on campus with a pre-selected set of promising candidates. Reach out to top prospects to thank them for registering, share information about your organization and pre-schedule an interview for the career fair.

While your competition won’t meet a single prospect until they arrive on campus, you’ll already be well on your way to interviewing and extending offers to your newest employees. 

Refine your career fair recruitment operations

Pre-event registration is also a great way to streamline your recruitment operations on campus. Having a database of students who have confirmed interest in your company gives you one more metric to track in your overall campus recruiting strategy, and helps you streamline the hiring process during the career fair.

Pre-registering candidates transforms career fairs from a mad dash to sort through a long line of candidates to an organized opportunity to engage top students face-to-face and advance them to the next step in the hiring process. 

Pre-event registration is also a great way to collect more information from students. Send a survey to candidates who registered but never checked in at your booth to understand where there might be gaps in your hiring process. Find out if no-shows passed by your booth due to factors like size, location, signage or number of company representatives present. Use the survey data to refine your career fair strategy for future events.

Focus on the candidate experience

Rushing through a conversation with a candidate to collect the next prospects’s resume can lead to a poor candidate experience. Digitally collect resumes before the event to ensure you have time to provide each prospect the best experience with your company. Give each candidate information on your organization and potential opportunities. Ask about their interests, background and what they’re looking for in a new position, and answer their questions authentically and honestly. The experience you provide a candidate at the career fair impacts their decision to pursue an opportunity with your company, so focus on engaging candidates and learning all of the things you wouldn’t be able to see on a resume.

Conduct thorough interviews

Interviews at career fairs can be stressful—not only for the candidate, but for recruiters, too. Candidate interviews may feel rushed as you review the candidate’s resume, all while asking questions, taking notes and keeping an eye on the time.

Leverage pre-event registration to arrive at the event with resumes reviewed and interviews scheduled, to conduct more thoughtful, thorough candidate evaluations. Don’t delay the hiring pipeline due to a lack of clarity on candidate qualifications. Leave each interview with an understanding of the candidate’s skills and culture fit so that you can confidently make a decision about next steps in the recruitment process.

Get a head start on extending offers

With a long list of candidate follow-ups, returning to the office post-event may not provide any relief from the whirlwind of a busy career fair. Pre-event registration enables you to get a head start on candidate communications while you’re still at the event. With each student’s contact information digitally stored already, you’ll be able to automatically send hiring process updates, ask candidates to self-schedule next-round interviews and extend offers to top candidates.

Get ahead of your competitors with pre-event registration. Review candidate qualifications and schedule interviews before every hiring event, to accelerate the hiring process and extend offers before the competition.