Recruiting Opportunities for Employers: Career Fairs

Career fairs at MIT are organized by CAPD, as well as MIT offices, programs, academic departments, and student organizations. MIT offers both small and large fairs, from boutique fairs with a specific industry focus to the other fairs ranging from 100 - 400 employers.  The annual Fall Career Fair series, one of the largest recruiting events of the academic year, is overseen by CAPD and produced by a team of students selected by the office.

The following fairs are held at MIT annually, and are an excellent way to connect with MIT students and Postdocs and strengthen your company brand on campus. 

Ensuring a Successful Career Fair Experience for Employers

  • Build your booth’s audience before the career fair.

    • Use Handshake to search for students that you think would be a good fit for your company, and send individual students a personal invite to speak with you at the fair.
    • For virtual fairs, the online fair platform may also have options for recruiters to search for and message candidates.
    • For virtual career fairs, be sure to set up your online booth at least 1 – 2 weeks in advance with information on organization mission and culture, job opportunities, and details on the representatives who will be participating.
  • Have more than one representative available to speak to students.

    • Ideally, the representative should be able to answer questions about the work associated with the open position. Make information about which recruiters can speak and are recruiting for available in advance of the fair, via guidebook materials and, for virtual fairs, within the online booth information. 
    • Increased booth staffing will eliminate long lines with can deter students from approaching your booth. This applies to both in-person and virtual fairs.
    • Make sure you have enough representatives to ensure booth is staffed for the duration of the fair, especially for longer fairs that may necessitate breaks for recruiters.
  • Make a splash at the career fair!

    • Bring company brochures, business cards, and other promotional materials. Students appreciate receiving useful information about your company or the position to help them in preparing for the interview and identifying if the company or opportunity is a good fit for their career interests and skills.
    • Use video displays, large banners, games anything visual to attract students.
    • Display a challenge for students to solve and provide enticing prizes.
    • Provide information on the wide array of opportunities your company has to offer, not just engineering or computer science-focused positions. Many students have a wide breadth of interests and skills and would appreciate hearing of all the opportunities within your company.
    • For virtual fairs where physical handouts and displays are not possible, consider how to make your virtual presence more appealing and inviting. Consider adding photos and videos that given insight into your organization, livestreaming a company presentation during or before the fair, holding and prominently displaying raffles for items/food/gift cards that can be delivered to candidates. A visually unappealing booth with little information will not attract as many candidates. 
  • Hand out “swag” or promotional items to continue to build your brand beyond the career fair.

    • Tip: The best “swag” items are useful or unique as MIT and its students are environmentally conscious. 
    • Please note that we encourage distribution of swag that is more durable or long lasting rather than disposable, in order to cut down on the waste footprint our events create.
    • While swag is less feasible most of the time with virtual fairs, it is possible to have swag that can be downloaded (software, PDFs of logos and photos) and swag that can be delivered (though the cost may be higher than feasible).
  • Talk with first-year students and sophomores about your company and opportunities available to students.

    • Building your company’s brand at MIT starts with fostering good relationships with first-years and sophomores. Even if your company is only offering opportunities for juniors and seniors, it is strategic to speak with first-years and sophomores and educate them on your company and how they can possibly work for your company in the future.
    • Collect resumes from promising students even if they are not qualified for your current positions or internships. Stay in contact with the students that you would like to hire in the future by inviting them to your information sessions, campus events, or local area events throughout the year.
  • Plan to hold interviews soon after a fair if appropriate to the time of year and your recruiting needs.

    • Currently, on-campus interviewing is not available due to pandemic-based restrictions for on-campus recruiting, but you may still schedule virtual interviews through CAPD (listing in Handshake is complimentary; additional marketing at a fee).
    • When on-campus interviews and recruiting is available, companies can reserve interview space through CAPD's on campus recruiting program.
    • Reservations for fall and spring recruiting fill quickly. Be sure to review the recruiting calendar to plan when you will set-up your interview schedule. Additional opportunities may be available to interview on campus through the organization(s) in charge of a particular career fair.
  • Collect resumes or have students check-in at your booth.

    • Use LinkedIn or some other online check-in method so that you can follow-up with students after the fair and reduce the need to collect paper resumes!
    • Many career fairs, both in-person and virtual, offer resume books or access to resumes for all attending candidates, either as part of your registration or for an additional fee. Please check with the specific fair’s organizers for more details.
  • Review MIT’s Recruiting Policies with your recruiting team members.

  • Read more for advice and tips: