Gen Z: Why the most technologically savvy graduates want more face to face interaction

It may surprise you to know that Gen Z and your new pool of potential candidates want more human interaction when completing their career decisions. Although the discovery of your brand takes place online, through employee reviews and peer reviews Gen Z are increasingly making their final decisions based on information they receive during face to face interaction at events and other networking opportunities.

We spoke with Aisling Ní Mhuirí, Events Manager at gradireland, about how you as an employer can create your stand and prepare effectively before, during and after an event.

Planning your event space:

Gone are the days of giveaways, flashing lights and gimmicks to attract attendees to your stand. When you are planning your stand, whether that is with your team, a marketing agency or a stand building company, start with asking yourself why are you attending this event? What do you want the attendees to think, know and do when they attend your stand? When you have the answers to these questions then you can start to create the stand experience that you want for the attendees.

Layout and space:

It doesn’t matter what size your stand is, creating variety with your space will enhance the attendee experience and enable you to bring a piece of your company and its culture to the exhibition floor. 

Examples are comfortable seating area, presentation spaces, experiential area and immersive experiences.

Jameson – Irish Distillers Activity Space at gradireland Live! 2019

Co-creation experiences and learning spaces:

Depending on your event goals, the use of your event space can be very different than just an exhibition stand. It can be used to create experiential spaces that will enable attendees to engage with your team, each other and to create solutions to problems e.g. hack-a-thons, training sessions. 

Explore the opportunity of creating bespoke learning or presentation spaces. This can be achieved in small spaces by using partitions or Perspex walls along with carefully chosen furniture to create separate spaces that work in different ways.

Foras na Gaeilge space was designed to promote the Irish language in a relaxing space for students


Shakespeare wrote “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players” – the same is certainly true for your exhibition space and like a stage it should be lit accordingly! Light can be used in many ways: to stand out, to highlight areas or messaging within your stand, to attract attendees, to decorate or to create areas within your stand space.

Example of back lighting at Avolon stand
Ornua stand lit from above with some down ward spots
Alucraft stand lit from above with some down ward spots


This is two-fold, what technology can you provide to your team to make their job easier on the day and to ensure your post-event follow up with great candidates is as seamless as possible? An example would be the gradireland Lead Capture app, which scans the information of candidates that you would like to follow up with. Secondly what technology can you use on your stand that will attract attendees but also provide them with information about or an insight into your organisation.

Guidewire at the Graduate Careers Fair 2019
Intel at the Graduate Careers Fair 2019

A word of caution, while technology is a great attraction at a stand if it doesn’t serve a purpose or say something about your brand it will serve no purpose when affecting an attendee’s decision making.


An ever-growing trend is the reduction of single-use plastics and materials at events. Whether this is branded items or print publications. Gen Z now seeks out brands that align more with their values and beliefs, with sustainability ranking highly. How can you include sustainability within your stand space? 

  • Provide the information in an e-format to be sent to candidates’ post-event or send information that the candidate may not be able to get through online research. 
  • Provide sustainable branded materials that have little to no plastic packaging. 
  • Remove and reuse any items that you bring to the event

Choosing your event team:

It is imperative to your brands’ success at the event that you bring the right people and that they engage in the right way. How do you do this? Take time to identify people who embody the spirit of your brand, who can speak with enthusiasm and authority about what your company does, believes and can offer to a potential candidate.

When you have chosen your team, they must be trained in how to work at an exhibition stand. This is not something that comes naturally to most people. Although they may be the perfect person, that is the embodiment of your brand, unless they are given the tools to action this, they will not be able to do the job effectively.

The keys points that your team needs to know: 

  • What is the brand message? 
  • Basic stand etiquette e.g. staff off phones and emails, don’t sit behind the tables! 
  • How do they engage with attendees? 
  • How to use any tools that are on the stand e.g. gradireland Lead Capture app

Our next event gradireland Live! (Spring Careers Fair) takes place on Thursday 6 February 2020 in the RDS Main Hall from 12-4 pm. To learn more about this event contact the gradireland team today at or call 01 6451500.

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