Fall Campus Recruitment Season is upon us once again – and as a recruiter, you’re looking for the best and brightest talent that universities and colleges have to offer. However, with all the information sessions, career fairs, and networking nights on your calendar, it can be difficult to keep pace with every student that comes your way.

Dealing with high-volume campus recruitment events can get chaotic. In order to minimize stress and maximize efficiency, you need to have a game plan. A good strategy starts before you set foot on campus, and will keep you organized long after you leave. From set-up to take-down and everything in between, these tips will ensure you have your most successful Fall recruitment season yet.

Before the event

First, you need to establish a plan that will help you quickly determine whether or not candidates meet your criteria. With so much to do, it can be easy to get caught up in the minute details, so remember to keep the big picture and your main goals in mind when designing your plan. To do this, give your plan some structure by preparing objectives and consistent criteria to quickly weed out unqualified candidates.

Tip: “Knock-out” questions, such as a candidate’s availability or willingness to relocate, can quickly assess whether someone meets the minimum requirements for the position.

Don’t forget to include questions to assess whether an applicant would fit your company culture. This is vital as employees who fit well with your organization will be more engaged and less likely to leave. However, it’s easier said than done. If you’re looking to fill a role that isn’t highly specialized, like sales or customer service, you’ll likely have many applicants from a wide variety of backgrounds.

A great way to figure out if a candidate is a good fit is to put the spotlight on them. Ask them questions about what you can do for them, rather than what they can do for your company. This role-reversal forces the student to assess their own values and needs to determine whether your position is right for them.

grant thornton logoEmployer Spotlight: While recruiting on-campus, accounting firm Grant Thornton asked students for their best pieces of advice. This type of question was more engaging for students and revealed to recruiters which candidates were comfortable giving advice – a large part of an accountant’s job.

During the event

One of the best ways to handle a high-volume campus recruitment event is to be as accessible as possible. Have a variety of ways for candidates to interact with your brand. This will help during the busier times when you’re not able to chat with each student face-to-face.

Tip: A great way to increase your accessibility at an event is to use high-tech tools like tablets and laptops set to your company website or your TalentEgg profile!

While time is of the essence, it’s still important to be flexible with your line of questioning. Students want to feel heard and valued, and not like just another face in the crowd. Therefore, arm yourself with the key questions and information you need to assess an attendee’s potential, but also tailor your script to each participant to keep them engaged.

Lastly, organize as you go by creating a system to categorize the students you meet. Remember: the simpler the criteria, the better. The goal is to minimize your workload, not make things worse with an overcomplicated system.

After the event

Once you’ve packed up your booth and said your goodbyes, the real work starts: following up, assessing, and screening candidates.

If you can make iterative decisions during the event itself, you’ll cut your post-event workload in half. For example, having your applications already sorted when you leave means you can start following up with candidates right away. Following up with candidates will help prevent the stressful “limbo” state so many job seekers go through, and will leave them with a positive impression of your company. Whether they get the position or not, your applicants will be thankful for your honest and prompt communication.

As a wise Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail.” Fall is the best season for recruiters, but also the busiest. Use these time-saving tactics to maximize your efforts, without sacrificing engagement.

Discussion: What tips do you have for managing stress at high-volume recruitment events?