Observations from a Job Fair
According to William Shakespeare, “All the world’s a stage.” In other words, your actions, gestures and interactions have the potential to be visible for all to see. This is particularly true at a job fair. As a staffing recruiter I attend many job fairs and each time I see examples of how a potentially strong match between job applicant and employer can go from great to just okay to truly horrible.
Often success comes down to preparation in advance because once you enter a job fair you should consider yourself “on stage.” Most recruiters have a birds-eye view of the room so as soon as you enter, recruiters are assessing the area for potential good fits, beginning with how a potential candidate carries themselves. Do they project an air of confidence and purpose wearing the appropriate business attire? Are they organized and prepared or rushed and rumpled as a result of unsuccessful multitasking? Each of these things is openly displayed and has the potential to send a strong message whether you are directly in front of an employer’s booth or across the room.
Once potential employees begin to work the room, staffing recruiters are anticipating talking to people who have already researched the company. It matters little if you are an outgoing personality or a reserved introvert. What does matter is how you approach potential employers and whether or not you are prepared to have a serious conversation about a company and the positions they are looking to fill. Asking questions that can be answered through an online search about the company will immediately let a recruiter know that you did not take this opportunity seriously by preparing in advance.
By appearing with resume in hand and prepared to talk about the options available at the company, you will distinguish yourself as a quality potential candidate. If you are interested in a particular organization and you have done your research, approach the employer with confidence. This is your opportunity to pair a face and personality with a resume. Also, be prepared to fill out an application even if you have a resume in hand. The application process is how some companies comply with laws, so be ready with the address and contact information of former employers.
Mind your P’s & Q’s
Don’t forget that good manners are always a must. This includes introducing yourself and providing a brief background, if it’s asked for, and being able to articulate why you are a good fit for a particular company and job. The introduction should be teamed with a firm handshake, good eye contact and a confident demeanor. It is not the responsibility of the staffing recruiter to draw you out.
Additional Steps for Job Fair Success
Dress appropriately for the event – Most job fair information will supply clear expectations. When in doubt, dress for success and to impress.
Come prepared to share information – Have multiple copies of a proofread resume as well as information about former employers in order to fill out an application, if needed.
Relax and be yourself – Potential employers want to know how you’ll act on a day-to-day basis so be confident in your skills with articulated responses. If you can’t share your own positive attributes who will?
Prepare just like you would for an interview – A job fair holds the potential for a number of impromptu interviews so be prepared to ask questions that show you’ve done your research. Don’t wing it!
This article is brought to you by Staffing Kansas City, a full-service Kansas City employment agency that provides contract-to-hire, direct hire and temporary employment placement services.