I recently had the pleasure of attending “The Forum EPFL", the biggest career fair in Switzerland with an attendance of over 150 companies; 70 start-ups and 20 universities.  EPFL’s primary goal is to help students in starting their professional careers, by giving them the opportunity of establishing quality contact with potential employers, from regional start-ups through to the greatest business’s & universities in Switzerland and abroad.  It was an impressive line- up and acted as a one stop shop  with interventions ranging from presentations, skills workshops and mock interviews. That is before you actually get to meet employers and venture to the stand to submerge yourself in an interactive and often AI powered experience, which if nothing else leaves you smitten with the organisation’s product offering be it a Rolex or a Snap Chat Ghost!

Is that Enough?  I am not sure a one stop shop actually is.  Firstly, it only really lends itself to those companies who have the luxury of a big budget to invest in WOW factor campus stunts and it steals the limelight from those companies who have made it to the fair but don’t have endless budgets to spend on promotions.

Nowadays students take a meticulous approach in identifying which companies they will make an application to. The Highfliers report stated that almost half the finalists from the “Class of 2017” had begun their search for a job at the end of their first year at university and that a large proportion of these students made use of their university careers service or used its website.  The survey confirmed that over 20% of first year students had turned to employers’ graduate recruitment websites and attended employer presentations and campus fairs, often in search of internships and work experience opportunities.  These figures increase as the students travel through to their final year with over 30% of students attending the autumn careers fairs. 

Stealing the show at the EPFL or other similar large all-encompassing careers events is certainly one way for companies to be recognised as a graduate employer.  It isn’t all about having a large budget though.  Employer presentations can be a lower cost option as can drop-in sessions at university careers service coupled with the effectiveness of modest sponsorship of a society or a sports team.   Consideration for the audience is paramount and the relevance of campus activity extends to first and penultimate year students as well as the finalists.

By Emma Collins, Client Relationship Director- ELT.