Friday, March 6, 2009

What Should You Expect From a Job Fair?

Having put on job fairs in the Pittsburgh region for almost ten years now, we have seen the events evolve over time from both an employer and job seeker standpoint. With the maturation (and use) of the Internet as used for recruiting purposes more employers use job fairs today as a way to get face time with some of those resumes they get from their websites. Some employers consider a job fair to be informational as much as a direct interview-hire event. Many companies will actually interview at the event but still ask that you “apply online”.

Job seekers who have been to multiple job fairs over the years have a better understanding of this and therefore come better prepared. Quite often we hear job seekers complain that the particular employer they came to see was not actually interviewing at the event. Because of this they were disappointed and considered the event a waste of their time.

Although many employers do still interview at job fairs it is important for job seekers to understand what to expect from the company they most want to see. This can be done by researching the company website, looking for whether they accept applications on their website (look for a tab that says “Careers”). If you see a company is going to be at an event and want to know what to expect by going to speak with them CALL the company ahead of time and ask (do not rely on email as this has become too impersonal – you want to make an impression). Often representatives will be able to tell you what their policies are. If they will be interviewing at the event, you’ll be sure of this beforehand and can prepare accordingly. If they are there for informational purposes, that also is great! The people you speak with will usually be from the human resources department and will be a great source of information on work environment, benefits, pay structure and who an “ideal” candidate would be. This gives you an opportunity to customize your resume before you submit it on the company website and increase your chances of getting an interview. You also may find out the job isn’t really what you were looking for and allows you to focus your job searching efforts in a better direction.

Whether you are a job seeker or a recruiter those that get the most from any job fair are those who best sell themselves and either their skill-set or the company they represent. Company representatives should never just sit behind their tables frowning at job seekers as they walk by. Stand in front of your table and greet people. Job seekers should always smile and be prepared to ask lots of questions about the company and what it is like to work there.

Having a the best possible idea of what you will get at a job fair ahead of time, whether you are doing the hiring or looking for employment, will help make any job fair better and more productive for you.

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Truly a 'Burgh Thing!

Truly a 'Burgh Thing!
by Randy Bish, Pittsburgh Tribune Review

Job News and Information for Job Seekers and Recruiters

Job News and Information for Job Seekers and Recruiters