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Thought Leader Series: Event Psychology: Getting Visitors to do the Expected at Your Job Fair

Jan 28 , 2016

Graham Jones is a Thought Leader on Internet Psychology and has extensive experience in helping businesses understand the behavior of their customers. To learn more about Graham, visit his website at

Job fair organizers always do their best to make sure everything goes well. They do all they can to ensure the event is well organized, supremely planned and efficiently run. However, even for the best organized job fairs, things can go "off the rails" due to the unpredictable behavior of the attendees.

In reality, significant event experiences for visitors happen because the organizers are adaptable and can deal with the unexpected like a swan: smooth and graceful on the surface, but paddling away in secret to make it all work. There are ways in which job fair organizers can make it easy for themselves - read on to learn about some psychological techniques you can use to urge visitors to behave in certain ways while attending your job fair.

Use Consumer Psychology Tricks

Major retailers employ consumer psychology to ensure that when we're in stores, we buy the most profitable items. They force us to look at certain things and to move around the store in particular, predictable ways. Job fair organizers can use similar techniques to ensure that more often than not, their visitors act in a predictable way.

Consumer behavior experts have learned that when we visit a store, there are several fundamentals working together to encourage us to move around the shop in a specific route. For instance, if they want us to linger somewhere, we are more likely to do that if the floor is carpeted. At job fairs, there are spaces, such as the reception or check-in area, that you'd prefer visitors to quickly move through. Tiled or wooden floors in these areas will ensure a faster throughput of visitors. Similarly, lighting has an impact on attendee movement. People tend to move away from very bright light.

Colored walkways can provide subtle signals to ease visitor flow.

Your job fair attendees are likely to predict where important locations will be - and they'll be aware of this even if they aren't looking in that direction. This is known as selective attention, and you can use it to your advantage. Even if fair attendees are looking in one direction, you can get them to pay attention to important areas, as long as they're in a predictable place. For example, to encourage visitors to move around the job fair floor in one direction, easing visitor flow, position direction signs - and always have them in the same visual place. This would mean, for instance, placing small arrows on the right-hand side of every employer or staffing agency's booth.

Reduce Visitor Choices

Another issue at big job fairs is choice overload. When we're faced with too many options, we become paralyzed by indecision. Help fair attendees out by limiting their choices. Divide the floor into three areas, for instance, using colored flooring to indicate the different zones. Only give people three choices at any one time, and they'll more easily be able to make a decision. This will keep the job fair running smoothly and will help you avoid having a floor full of confused attendees with tons of questions.

These psychological factors may seem minor, but they can have significant impacts on job fair attendees.

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