QR codesGuest Post by Shanan Sorochynski

Okay, our adventure wasn’t as thrilling as traveling the Circuits of Time in a phone booth with George Carlin, but it was educational none-the-less.

This Fall the University at which I work hosted a career fair, cramming booth-after-booth of employers looking for new recruits into the main gymnasium.

It was a great opportunity for students to explore their options and a fun way for Kate (my colleague) and I to see how some organizations are using QR Codes.

Image: Optiscanapp via Flickr, CC 2.0

Here is what we found out:

1. Very few of the groups representing tech industries were using them.

2. Tiny QR codes on backdrops are hard to scan … unless you climb over the table, knock down the person at the booth, and scream “It’s okay, I’m an iPhone user!” Then it is doable. You also get to visit with Security.

3. Table-top QR codes, as Gas Buddy had, are great. There is no need to clobber people at the booths to scan these. It is also a great option for groups who don’t have the budget to redesign their display banners. *thumbs up.*

4. Many of the groups were providing QR codes with links to non-mobile sites.

That’s right, tiny text and maddening navigation for all.

Not good.

5. Co-op‘s booth was our favourite. Look at that big, easy-to-find QR code. Look at it (at left)!

I grew up in a small Canadian town on the prairies.

Back then, to me, Co-op wasn’t about groceries so much as the place where old men with John Deere hats went to sit and drink coffee. To see Co-op delve into the new fandangle world of QR Codes was pretty great.

What we learned about displays in general:

1. Kate cannot pass up a free pen, and the quality of that pen can etch your organization’s name into her brain for life. She could tell me which booths would have the coolest gear before we even walked up to the tables.


2. If you hand me a plastic dispenser that keeps band-aids organized in my purse, I will tell everyone I meet that day of your organization’s brilliance.

3. There are a lot of pretty booths out there that tell you absolutely nothing about what their company does. Their names are nondescript and their displays have a lot of pictures of smiling people in suits crossing their arms.

A great deal of effort seems to go into showing people that their business is dynamic and innovative, but none in communicating at a glance what they actually do.

4. The booths with the most traffic were the ones where the people staffing them made eye contact with the people passing by and tried talking with them.

This seems pretty obvious, but there were a surprising amount of people sitting on chairs looking off into space.

All in all, a rather excellent QR code adventure.

What has been your experience with QR codes, displays and marketing at career fairs and such events? Do you have any observations or pet peeves you’d like to share?

Shanan-SorochynskiShanan Sorochynski manages the University of Regina’s first official blog: YOURblog. Previous to this she was the managing editor of U of R Report, the University’s faculty and staff internal publication, and a print journalist in Manitoba.