From paper résumés to job boards to social media, the way companies and job seekers interact is constantly changing, but there’s one time-honored recruiting tradition that has, for the most part, remained intact: the career fair.

Every spring, companies and soon-to-be grads gather under one roof to make small talk, exchange information, and (hopefully) find the perfect match. Career fairs can be helpful in the recruiting and hiring process, but companies’ and job seekers’ goals are often misaligned. Students are browsing companies and roles to see whether they’d be a good fit, while employers are looking to hire high-quality candidates.

This disconnect isn’t helping any of the groups involved in the campus recruiting process, and perhaps it’s why career fairs are among the least effective forms of recruiting: In 2013, just 1.4 percent of companies’ new hires were a result of career fairs. That’s not a great return on investment, so it’s important for employers to find a way to build a relationship with students before they even attend a career fair — and blog posts can do just that.

Considering the Candidate Journey

When building a relationship with job seekers, think about their career journey. Many employers complain that students aren’t prepared or that they don’t ask good questions, but searching for a job is a foreign concept for graduating job seekers.

Starting a career is like learning to ride a bike. Both are intimidating, anxiety-inducing, and sometimes downright scary. Because it takes time to learn to ride a bike and to search for a job, it’s important that employers reach out to job seekers to help alleviate some of the pressure. That’s where blog posts come in.

Blog posts help employers empathize with students and meet them where they are. They also create positive associations between job seekers and your company, which builds brand awareness. And because brand awareness is a key component of campus recruiting, companies are relying more on in-person activities and social media posts to attract top talent.

Recruiting With Blog Posts

Blog posts embedded in your company’s “Careers” page are a great way to recruit young employees because they’re evergreen. When job seekers want to learn more about a company, they don’t have to wait for the next career fair — they simply need to visit the company’s blog.

A company’s blog offers advantages that the “Careers” page can’t. Whereas the “Careers” page focuses on the “apply” aspect, a blog provides increased understanding of the company as a whole in a dynamic way that’s easily accessible.

When using blog posts to attract college grads, it’s important to think about how they will grow and learn at your company, as well as to consider the type of projects they’ll potentially work on. You can implement a few specific tactics in your posts to help you reach students:

  1. Keep it short.According to a study by Microsoft, humans have an attention span of just eight seconds — shorter than that of a goldfish. If a job seeker sees a long piece of content, he’ll likely skip right past it.

Whether you’re creating articles, videos, or other forms of content, keep them concise to avoid losing students’ attention. Try for pieces that take less than three minutes to read or watch.

  1. Show them what you’ve got.Images can work wonders to catch readers’ attention and draw them in, so use them to your advantage.

Rich, striking photos of your office and company campus can help students envision themselves working there, and images of activities outside the workplace — as well as your city — help them feel like they belong.

  1. Help them fit in.Discussing projects a job seeker will be working on if he joins your company can help him imagine a future with you. Millennials are more likely to seek out companies that mesh with their lifestyle choices than to choose jobs based on salary alone — they want to work for a company that fits their personality.

When creating a blog and a “Careers” page, shine a spotlight on your company’s culture so visitors immediately get a feel for who you are as a brand. If your company’s values match the job seeker’s and he can see himself working there, you’ve accomplished your goal.

  1. Showcase good reviews.You can tell job seekers how amazing your company is, but the best way to convince them is through testimonials from your employees. Ask them to provide information about their work environment and to explain what they like about your company.

Focus on employees who have only been with you for a year or two — those are the people young graduates will most closely relate to, and they’ll offer a better picture of candidates’ possible futures. You can take that a step further if you can find alumni from the college or university your recruiters are targeting.

  1. Set clear goals.Telling job seekers what they’d be doing each day at your company isn’t enough. You also should set goals for what they’d be expected to accomplish within the first 90 days, 180 days, and year of employment.

With clear goals and accomplishments in mind, job candidates will be able to tell whether a job fits with their short- and long-term career goals and whether an employer has a plan to help them grow within their careers.

The ultimate goal of blogging is to increase the quality of your hires at the lowest cost possible. Career fairs can facilitate a company’s campus recruiting process, but only if you’ve already set the foundation for a good relationship — and the best way to do that is through a content strategy that attracts grads and leaves an unforgettable first impression.

Photo Credit: thinkpublic Flickr via Compfight cc