Job fairs lose some lustre

As organizations rely increasingly on the Internet to find job candidates, some attendees at the International Quality and Productivity Center’s recruiting conference questioned whether job fairs are still an effective hiring channel.

Kara Svehla, human resources manager at Columbia, Md.-based recruiting firm Maxim Group, said that although her company continues to rely on job fairs it wants to expand its Internet sourcing methods by scouting chat rooms for potential new hires. Recruiters and corporate human resources departments need to “explore more bold and risk-taking recruiting methods,” she said.

On the college hiring front, companies are becoming more aggressive in attracting students, Svehla said. Rather than simply attending college job fairs and information sessions, companies are e-mailing select students and building a relationship with them during the school year.

Keynote speaker John Sullivan, head of human resources programs at San Francisco State University, told the roughly 200 attendees that companies can attract better candidates through more informal networking events, such as beer fests, rather than job fairs.

To attract star performers, Sullivan suggested doing away with the formal processes of r