Career Fairs: The Disco of The Employment World

By June 30, 2014 No Comments

Written by J.D. Wyborny

There is no ‘Stayin Alive’ for career fairs. Sorry, but they are dead. Since the downturn of the economy, career fairs have felt like the end of The Disco Era in the early 80’s. Horrible hip thrusting dances and ear shattering music are not driving companies away. However, costs, lack of staff, and opportunities are.

First, lets take a look at the cost an employer endures to attend a career fair vs. the average cost of hire.

  • Average Participation Charge: $2,750
  • Estimated Travel Costs: $1,000
  • Estimated Salary and Admin Costs: $1,000
  • Total: $4,750

To attend one career fair a company has to dish out $4750. That is almost the same cost of making one hire ($5135). Adding the cost of hire and the cost of attending the career fair and you almost double your cost of hiring an entry-level candidate. ‘For the love of money’ that is not a good ROI. If you think that it financially makes sense to go to a career fair you are definitely living in ‘Funkytown!’

Since 2008 (Shout out to class of ’08), a lot of employers have been on hiring freezes and do not need a large human resources department. ‘Heaven Knows’ the first people to be laid off during downsizing are the entry-level recruiters and human resources employees. Unfortunately, these entry-level recruiters are the ones that attend the job fairs.

The last reason why employers are shying away from job fairs is because there are other cheaper ways to recruiting quality candidates. Much like Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park in 1979, online services (i.e. job boards and recruiters) have lead to the death of the job fair. In fact, if you attend a job fair, I almost guarantee the recruiter will tell you to apply online. Unfortunately “That’s the way” employers like it. (I will be discussing the failures of job boards in future posts.)

You may be reading this and are frustrated because you have no idea how to get noticed in the employment world if job fairs are in fact dead. Well “Summ…….er….Donn…a” there is hope. The best way to land a career will always be through networking. This can be through family, friends, former colleagues, or even college professors. If you are lucky enough to be a student-athlete at one of Game Theory Group’s universities, you will learn that your career search starts the first day on campus. So ‘Young Hearts Run Free’ and network, network, network!

Oh and if you were counting that’s 7 disco punks. Take that 10th grade English!