Trade fairs as a recruiting tool

At trade fairs companies present themselves to the specialists. But there is more to see than just new products and trends. A lot of experts from all fields come together here. So, if you are visiting or exhibiting at a trade fair, why not use the opportunity to do some job-seeking or head-hunting?

According to the AUMA MesseTrend 2019 survey, the importance of trade fairs as a recruiting platform has changed considerably. Just a few years ago, one in ten exhibitors said that looking for new employees was one of their trade fair goals; now it is almost one in four. Exhibitors at trade fairs make targeted searches for new employees, often saving themselves the costs of expensive recruitment campaigns. What is especially interesting is that the survey did not explicitly ask exhibitors at career fairs, but instead focussed on specialist trade fairs. Companies with larger stands in particular make intensive use of trade fairs as a recruitment platform: 32% of companies with a turnover of more than € 50 million look for employees at trade fairs; with SMEs it is 21%.

Experts are in great demand

But how has this change in recruiting tactics come about? The shortage of skilled workers has now become a reality for many companies and a lot of industries are actually fighting for every available specialist. This trend makes trade fairs the perfect recruitment platform. At the large leading trade fairs, in particular, the entire industry is gathered together in one place - the ideal place to find the right employees. 

Of course, this does not mean that recruiting at trade fairs is by any means easy. Executives in particular rarely visit exhibition stands because they are looking for a new job. However, it is much easier to approach people who may only be tentatively looking for a new opening at trade fairs than at specialist job fairs. In this case, companies should present themselves to the potential applicants in the same way as if they were talking to a new customer. At an exhibition stand, a company can make a first good impression that could arouse interest in anyone looking for a change. An innovative, exciting product usually helps to start off a conversation. Some companies even have facilities for applying for a job directly at the trade fair stand. In this case, however, the trade fair team should also include HR managers. 

Build and maintain a network

Irrespective of whether a position is currently vacant or not - evening parties or relaxed get-togethers during the trade fair are also a great opportunity to network. It’s easy to get talking over a beer or at the buffet. But if you establish contacts here, it’s important to cultivate them. Digital channels such as social media, Xing or LinkedIn offer an easy way of staying in touch. Companies that have built up a good network at trade events can then simply contact their new acquaintances if they have a vacancy and ask whether they would be interested in a career change or can recommend someone.



From 6 pm on the first day of the Spielwarenmesse, exhibitors and visitors can meet at the “AfterHour” at the Entrance Mitte for a friendly chat. A great place to meet people in a relaxed atmosphere and enjoy canapés, drinks and good music.

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