As an employer, careers fairs have their benefits and weaknesses. They are a great and personable way to increase the awareness of your company on campus; however with some universities charging over £450 per stand per day and the added cost of sending your staff to man the stand, it can be a lot of resource to raise awareness at only one university.
Are there other ways of increasing awareness which cost less, use less of the company’s work force and are a little more inventive? Yet still maintain on campus face-to-face presence?
Whilst at University I was part of a society called Bright Futures (http://www.bright-futures.org.uk/). Bright Futures is a national student organisation which brings together the top students with the top employers, in 38 universities across the UK including Warwick, UCL and St Andrews.
From a student perspective
Whilst studying at the University of Birmingham I was part of their Bright Futures society, helping to market events within the business school. From a student perspective I found Bright Futures invaluable. It gave the society team and driven society members access to workshops which were either on campus for a few hours in the evening or online in ‘webinar’ format, run by top companies such as Deloitte and Unilever.
The workshops would cover a range of topics from ‘how to give a good interview’, ‘what to expect at an assessment centre’ all the way to ‘dragons den’ product innovation tasks. It was a chance for students to develop their skills whilst also having a chance to ask plenty of questions about the company giving the workshop. The events would usually include a presentation about the company, the opportunities they have and the type of candidates they were after too. If it wasn’t a company I’d previously been interested in working for, it usually was by the end of the workshop!
From an employer perspective
Bright Futures offers a unique way for companies recruiting graduates to advertise themselves on campus compared to careers fairs. The events Bright Futures run are usually a few hours on weekday evenings, meaning one or two of your staff could spend one evening on campus rather than a whole day. Like a career fair it will all be arranged for you, your staff just need to turn up at the allocated time with the material they want to cover with the students.
Through Bright Futures, companies have access to a focussed group of students, the reason most students join Bright Futures is because they want a bright future, and are going to do everything they can to get there. Companies have the student’s undivided attention for a few hours rather than a few minutes as they pass from stall to stall, as is common at most career fairs. Also as most events are advertised by the Society to members and non-members before the event, it means extra advertising for your company.
As the events are usually based around developing the student’s skills, it contributes towards your company’s corporate responsibility too, sharing your knowledge with the students which will not only help them with any applications they make to your company but any company.
Overall, I feel Bright Futures is a great way of exposing companies to driven students within top universities.