Top tips for employers going back onto campus this autumn

21 September 2022

On Thursday 7th September I popped into the Bright Network Festival of Careers at the Queen Elizabeth Centre in London. It surprised me in many ways as I hadn’t been to a face-to-face student event since before Covid. I was taken aback by the professional demeanour of (most!) students. I was also quite interested by the different approaches from the various employers from the informality of the Unlocked key game (great fun!) to free beers from Budweiser and to the politeness of the legal firms exhibiting.  It prompted me to think about some key things to think about before many of us get back onto campus, possibly for the first time in a while.

#1 – Train your team!

Running a session to remind your team of the practicalities of running employer events will get your season off to a great start! Getting them to think about the types of students that they might meet is a fun way to get your teams excited and energised for being back on campus.

#2 – It’s not too late to order some enticing giveaways…

We all know that students love a freebie and at the recent Bright Network Festival it seems that their focus on sustainability was supplanted by the need to collect as much plastic free stuff as possible given the cost of living crisis!

#3 – Managing your stand

The biggest barrier to students talking to employers is often a large crowd in front of an imposing desk. Ask your teams to mingle (and not sit behind the desk) and to ask lots of open questions to engage those who are looking timid. Try not to ignore those in the queue – encouraging those in the queue to join in a group conversation is much more inclusive than having lots of one-to-one conversations.

#4 – Putting yourself in their shoes

Who might you and your team expect to meet at the Fair?

Are they Career Innocents – those who are really only starting out on their career planning. It’s quite easy and all too tempting to disregard those students who seemingly don’t have a clue about who you are and what you do. But reminding our teams that everyone has to start their career journey somewhere.

Or are they Active Applicants – those who are really very well clued up and who are likely to ask you the more discerning questions so best to clue up on your eligibility criterion and application process details before you get on the train!

They might even be The Job Dodgers– students who are thinking about going travelling or doing a masters to avoid the jobs market in fear of an impending recession. They might just need that reassurance that there are lots of graduate level jobs available. Explaining the importance of graduates in your organisation will also reassure.

#5 – Offboarding conversations

We have all been stuck in a conversation with a student when we know it’s really not going anywhere (either they don’t have the right employment status or academic requirements for your programme). Word of mouth is ever powerful and showing your support for all students will do wonders for your employer brand. Giving some valuable advice to students is part of being at a Fair whether that by encouraging students to visit your website and their Careers services for that all important employability content or to attend a careers service session aimed at international students for instance.

#6 – One time only…

Given that many recruitment processes have gone 100% virtual this will be the one and only time they have the opportunity to meet you and your business face to face so making it count is vital. Ensuring that you have enough information to support you to have an informative and persuasive conversation is key. If you don’t have the breadth of information to help sell the firm authentically using your peers will help and having an online brochure to hand will help you too.


And finally, let’s all remember that one person we met who made a difference to the paths we ended up taking… for some of us it will be that member of staff at the Fair who was engaging, fun and encouraging. Now its our turn to do the same.

106 Comms works with employer brands to help them tell their stories authentically and creatively. If you would like to know more about the work we do in the Early Careers Comms space do drop us a message –


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