Career fairs can be hit or miss for recruiters.

On one hand, they are an excellent way to meet a lot of potential talent in a short amount of time. On the other, the quality of engagement doesn’t always meet expectations and ROI is limited and hard to track. So how do you make the most of a career fair? It’s all in your attitude and approach.

From the first handshake to the last, these tips will help you make the most of your time at a career fair.

1) Reset expectations

Career fairs are a great opportunity to be your own cheerleader. Even if you’re not hiring, consider the long game – engage with passive candidates who most likely are there for the free swag, but will remember a positive engagement. Arm them with amazing information about your organization and they’ll leave as a brand ambassador. Plus, you’ll remain top of mind in the coming years.

2) Be approachable

For many students, career fairs are intimidating. Do everything you can to be a friendly face in the sea of posters and business attire. Don’t let your table act as a barrier between you and your candidates. Push it to the back of your booth if possible and don’t use the chairs – stand in front of it so you’re more accessible. Also, consider hosting demonstrations or mini-workshops throughout the fair – this helps ease the pressure on participants to initiate a conversation, while also encouraging them to stay longer at your booth. Win-win.

Tip: Getting potential candidates actively involved with your company can help build an attachment to your organization and brand that will pay dividends over time.

3) Be impressive

Think outside the box of free pens and water bottles. Embrace your techy side and engage students with social media. Use a laptop and projector to display your Twitter feed on a large screen, then have career fair participants tweet with a specific hashtag or mention of your business so they can see their tweets live. This activity can work as an attraction as well as an evaluation tool. For instance, if you’re hiring for a sales or marketing role, you can check your feed to assess how the participants utilize social media.

Interactive challenges are another excellent way to test the abilities of potential candidates on the spot. For example, this test can measure a candidate’s ability to multitask, and even creates a cool infographic with the results. Additionally, including technology in your presentation shows students that you are modern and tech-savvy and helps them better identify with your company.

Tip: Bring a tablet or laptop and have it set to your TalentEgg company profile. This is a great way to engage everybody who comes to your booth, even when you can’t speak with them directly.

4) Be engaging

Research shows that while most students have attended a career fair at some point, only a fraction find the experience valuable enough to want to go again in the future. Why? Because students say they feel like recruiters are talking at them, rather than to them.

Millennials value authenticity so try flipping the script – ask them about what they are looking for in a position, rather than grilling them on what they know and can offer you. The hiring process is a two-way street – students are evaluating you and your company just as much as you are evaluating them. The goal is to have a conversation, not an interrogation.

Furthermore, students also have the same concerns about career fairs that recruiters – is it worth my time? Students want to know that there is a benefit for coming to a career fair versus staying home and applying for jobs online. If you are hiring, take advantage of that face-to-face time and interview a candidate on the spot or after the fair.

Tip: A TalentEgg profile is like having a booth at Canada’s largest career fair, 24/7, coast to coast! Click here to learn more about how TalentEgg can help you better position your company’s brand.

5) Analyze and reflect.

While you might have relied on your gut feeling in the past to choose which candidates to pursue, try harnessing the power of big data instead to better evaluate your applicants. You might be surprised with what you find. For example, TalentEgg’s guide to campus recruitment provides key insight into marketing best practices and more.

Career fairs are an excellent way to keep younger students engaged with your brand and get valuable face time with a broad and varied pool of potential. Don’t squander this opportunity. A little creativity can go a long way in ensuring you maximize your time and your prospects.

Discussion: What are your top tips for career fair success?