Update on our platform!

Candidate relationship management (CRM): when job fairs become profitable

In this digital age, are recruitment events still useful for companies as part of their talent acquisition strategy? Of course they are! But businesses all too often stop at the immediate benefits of these events. They forget that to increase their profitability, they need to look beyond the event and capitalize on it to build long-term relationships with talent. This is the art of Candidate Relationship Management.
Candidate relationship management (CRM): when job fairs become profitable

Benefits and costs of a job fair: let's review

A recruitment fair offers many advantages. First and foremost, it gives you a visible presence, improving your employer brand awareness. It's also an opportunity to meet partners and/or learn from your peers' best practices by sharing experiences. Last but not least, you meet potential candidates, and may even find some who are ready to start the recruitment process straight away.

This is a highly effective way of sourcing talent, especially when you know in advance the type of audience attending the event, and can tailor your arguments and presentation accordingly.

The candidates you meet are often interested in finding out more about companies in the sector and the job market, so you can assume they're either actively looking for opportunities or open to them. Perfect for you!

That said, a trade show isn't always a small line item in your budget. Is it worth the cost? Let's take a look at your expenses.

What does it cost to attend a recruitment fair?

Despite the advantages listed, we know that participating in such an event comes with a cost. Generally not negligible, it usually includes these expenses:

Show attendance

  • Registration fees, which depend on the show, the size and location of the stand, whether or not you're taking part in conferences, etc.
  • Stand costs, including furniture, fixtures, stand displays, etc., whether purchased or rented.
  • Animations, with or without speakers.
  • Transportation and logistics for speakers and/or equipment.

The promotion

  • Digital advertising for invitations to the show (sponsored posts on social networks, advertising inserts in leading media, etc.).
  • Brochures and leaflets to be produced and printed for distribution at the show and stand.
  • Postering throughout the show to lead to your stand.
  • Promotional items (goodies) for distribution.

And let's not forget the cost of the days of team preparation. This is also the case for the days spent at the show, as well as the days to be spent after the show, in order to check up on the candidates met, follow up by telephone or e-mail, etc.

Often, most of these expenses will only be used for a few days. If the show is only a relative success, they won't be useful afterwards. And even if the show is a real success, why stop there?

Key job fair indicators for a recruiting company

The success of an action can be measured by one key indicator, in this case trade show attendance. Of course, success doesn't come down to a single indicator. There are many other indicators, not all of which are equally important, particularly as they depend on the objectives of your project.

That's why every recruitment initiative, including job fairs, must have one (or more) main objective(s) defined before holding the event. For a trade show, this could be the number of visits to the stand, the number of participants in activities, the number of QR codes scanned, etc.

But it's logical that the main objective of such events is to attract a large number of quality applications.

And to ensure that this indicator is a positive one, it's essential that actions don't stop just a few days after the show: that's what Candidate Relationship Management is all about. The trade show is just the beginning of a new relationship to be built up with the different contacts you'll obtain.

The fact is, a visitor may not be a candidate the day of the show, but he or she probably will be a few weeks or months later. So the job fair becomes the starting point for many recruitments that will take place in the future, and it becomes, of course, more profitable.

So, it's vital that you plan your participation in the show with this “ post-show ” in mind, so that you can lay the foundations for this recruitment through candidate relations.

Recruitment: learning from best practices in event marketing

According to marketing specialist agency Nile, “only ¼ of sales are made during the event and ¾ as a direct result of salespeople's work after the show”. It's exactly the same for recruitments made during the show compared to recruitments eventually successful after the event. Obviously, the figures depend on the show, your company, etc., but the important thing to remember is that if you don't do any work after the show... you lose a massive chunk of the candidates you could have got. But this work often takes up a lot of recruiters' time...

You're becoming more and more aware of it: recruitment is taking on a marketing dimension! Today, you can no longer hope to recruit optimally without using the best practices of recruitment marketing.

👉 Download our free ebook: 6 steps towards an effective recruitment marketing strategy

So how can you help make your show more profitable by adding a marketing dimension to your participation? How can you do this without it becoming a waste of time for your recruitment teams?

Consider the candidate's journey: the job fair is the first step

Look beyond the trade show! That's the first advice to keep in mind. For this, you can list objectives for the show itself: attendance rate, number of interviews carried out, number of recruitments finalized, etc. To this list, add objectives for gathering contacts, whether qualified or not.

Yes, the perfect scenario would be to have highly qualified candidates filling all your vacancies during the event. But even if that happens (which seems highly unlikely), is it enough? Have you thought about the vacancies you'll have to fill in 3 more months? Have you considered that you might come across profiles that don't match your open positions at the moment, but fit in nicely with your corporate culture or are highly motivated about your employer promise?

The journey involved for these various profiles will not be the same, and you can imagine the next steps for these different potential candidates even before the show. The good news is that you'll be able to take immediate action once you've made contact with them - the very next day, or at least within a few days.

Making it easier to collect talent profiles

One of your missions will be to facilitate contact acquisition at the event. And because there are so many different profiles out there, you'll need to think up contact methods adapted to each one:

  • A form to apply for your various open job offers
  • An spontaneous application form
  • A form to subscribe to your company's talent pool
  • A form to subscribe to your newsletter

There's no limit to how you can attract potential candidates: you need to vary the way you attract talent to match the aspirations of these many different profiles. Some want to apply, others want to but there's no offer that matches them, still others aren't looking but are interested in your company, and so on.

How do you collect contacts from potential candidates?

You can offer a QR code to be scanned to fill in these forms, but you can also simply provide a tablet (or several) so that they can fill in the forms without using their own device.

Good to know: digital forms have the particular advantage of avoiding typing errors and saving recruiters time after the show. However, if the candidate still wants to submit a paper CV and not fill in the form... don't miss out! You can also reduce the number of fields on your forms to encourage lazy applicants to fill them in and avoid manual data entry.

Building a database of candidates: talent pools

But how do you keep track of all the data collected in these various forms? The ideal way to make your life easier and avoid having to type and sort the data after the show: use a CRM (Candidate Relationship Management) tool. It provides you with a high-quality database, which automatically sorts itself according to the data received, builds up talent pools according to your pre-selected and parameterized criteria, and so on.

Such a tool also enables you to easily and effortlessly initiate the remaining relationship with all the profiles collected during the trade show.

👉 Want to understand how CRM works? Request a demo

Good to know: using this type of tool not only avoids incorrect information due to data entry errors, but also recognizes duplicates. Yes, someone you meet at a trade show could already be in your database, and without an automatic tool, you could contact them twice (or more). This could give them the feeling that you're not organized and that you don't value them enough.

After the job fair: that's when it all begins

Now your job fair is over! You've obtained a number of candidates, who will now begin the classic recruitment process (interviews, tests, etc.). That's going to take up a lot of your time now and over the coming weeks. What about your other contacts?

This is where the CRM tool magic comes back again. You'll be able to automatically reconnect with these different profiles. And you won't have to spend time doing it in parallel with ongoing recruitment processes.

Based on the information provided, the tool will send the messages you have set, without you having to take any action. For example:

  • People wishing to submit a spontaneous application will receive a message confirming that their application has been considered, and you can also ask for more information if you need it in a more detailed second form. Indeed, people often want to complete an application quickly at a trade show, so you need to provide as few fields as possible in your contact forms.
  • People who have subscribed to your newsletter will receive a message thanking them and confirming their subscription, before joining the newsletter's contact database and receiving it at the scheduled rate. You can also offer them the possibility of receiving other information relevant to their profile.
  • People who just want to keep in touch with you will receive an initial email with job vacancies in their sector, and this will be sent out regularly over the coming months, so that they don't miss out on THE job that suits them best. You can also schedule additional information to keep them “hot” and interested: testimonials from your employees, news about your company or your sector, etc.

Why is combining a recruitment event with a CRM tool particularly interesting?

The simple fact is that sourcing new profiles is often time-consuming for recruiters, and sometimes even expensive since you occasionally need to resort to digital advertising or even outsource to headhunters.

All sources of potentially interesting profiles should be exploited to their full potential. Especially when they cost money, like job fairs. The profitability of a trade show is calculated not only at the moment, but also at a later stage. And yes, you also have to take all future recruitments into account, thanks to the long-term relationship established with the contacts obtained.

What's great about this strategy is that you don't miss out on any profiles. The problem with a fair designed without considering Candidate Relationship Management is that you're inevitably going to lose out on relevant profiles due to a lack of common opportunity around the time of the event.

Taking advantage of the specific features of job fairs

If your management asks you to cut costs and therefore no longer take part in trade fairs due to lack of profitability, you can present your “events + CRM” strategy to explain that trade fairs will be neither a waste of time nor a waste of money.

You can also decide to give priority to specific exhibitions, and set up your Candidate Relationship Management tool accordingly. For example, specialize in :

  • student fairs to prepare for recruitment next year or the year after
  • trade fairs dedicated to a specific sector, because that's where you find it hardest to recruit 
  • non-trade show events such as job datings, to really meet candidates during mini interviews, but also to maximize your presence with a form for those you haven't been able to meet

There are many examples, and the advantage of this tool is that it can be adapted to all your specific needs, whether in terms of objective, sector, requirement or strategy!

👉 Build actionable talent pools with our CRM (Candidate Relationship Management) tool

The newsletter that speeds up your Talent Acquisition strategy.  
Join the CleverConnect community!
Read about our privacy policy.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Liked that? Check these out:
Recruitment sourcing: the HR skills of the future
min read

Guide: turn your recruitment team into proactive sourcing superheroes

Turn your recruitment team into sourcing superheroes to improve the performance of your Talent Acquisition strategy.
Sourcing: the key is to adapt your existing missions
min read

Sourcing: the key is to adapt your existing missions

Adopting a proactive sourcing approach doesn't necessarily mean adding new missions to your daily routine. Our advice on how to become a sourcing pro.
Job offer: Top 5 mistakes according to candidates
min read

Job offer: Top 5 mistakes according to candidates

There are 5 mistakes you must never commit as a recruiter when writing a job posting. The candidates have spoken!