Here is our list of key points to successfully engage with potential students at international recruitment fairs:
1. Attract visitors’ attention
Recruitment fairs are noisy, bustling and hectic affairs. Teenagers can easily feel overwhelmed at big recruitment events. You can assume that only a minority of all visitors will be visiting your booth. Therefore, make sure that your booth looks attractive and stands out from the crowd. Put up interesting posters with powerful visuals and a clear message. Be bold when it comes to colour choice. Generate curiosity with interesting exhibits. Use interactive games or campaigns to break the ice.
2. You are the expert
Get prepared for the conversations you will be having during the event. Know all your courses well so that you can give much more information than a simple flyer or leaflet could. Look into country-specific requirements, visa regulations and financing options. Don’t just refer visitors to the information on your website. This is your opportunity to engage!
3. Have a well-prepared team
Prepare your staff for the event. Make sure that the team at your booth gets along well to portrait a good atmosphere at your institution. Give your team useful instructions and advice on how to talk to your target group and how to engage in conversation with visitors. Like this, they will be able to generate high-quality leads and bring back stacks of contact lists to follow up on.
4. Be happy to answer any type of question
Recruitment fair visitors might be at the beginning of their decision process, so don’t get annoyed if they ask questions that might seem obvious or stupid to you. If students need very general information on studying in your country or university in general, see it as an opportunity to leave a lasting impression. You are the one who told them first that studying business/IT/history in the US/UK/Australia is a great idea!
5. Raise brand awareness
If you attend a fair in another country, visitors probably won’t have heard of your institution and have no idea of your institution’s “personality”. Your brand message should therefore be easily visible and your staff at the booth should represent your institution and everything it stands for as brand ambassadors. Give visitors something they can identify with – show a video of your campus, interview current students and let them tell you what they love about studying at your institution.
6. Be open and approachable
Approaching a fair booth, especially if it involves speaking a foreign language, can be daunting. Make it easier for visitors to talk to you by being friendly and inviting. Smile. Start the conversation. And most importantly, be approachable. Staff who are reading a newspaper or checking their phone every two minutes do not give the impression of being happy to help and answer visitor questions.
7. Involve the parents
A lot of high school students (at least in Germany) will bring their parents as support when visiting a student fair. Parents are the ones who will probably be paying for their children’s education and who might need quite a bit of encouragement to let their kids go and study in another country, far away from home. Make sure you convince them too by listening to their concerns and answering all their questions.
8. This is just the first step
Remember that turning fair visitors into leads is only the first step on the long journey of student recruitment. Make sure you do follow up on any contacts you made during the fair and start developing a relationship that turns leads into prospects into applicants into students.