Job fairs offer a rare and precious opportunity to get the attention of countless recruiters in a short period of time. But when competing against hundreds of other job seekers, how can you be sure to stand out and create a positive and lasting impression? We asked some of our most experienced recruiters for their best job fair tips.
How should candidates prepare?
Organization is key. Spend time in the days leading up to the job fair making sure your resume is up-to-date and is structured in a way that easily facilitates the conversation you would like to have with a recruiter about your experience. Unsure if your resume stands out from the crowd? Be sure to check out insider tips from our recruiting team on how to make your resume more marketable.
In addition, make sure you have a pad to take notes and a binder or portfolio to hold things such as business cards, company literature, as well as plenty of resumes and reference letters. It might sound simple, but having material to take notes is something that candidates often forget and it will help you to remember conversations well after the job fair.
What makes a great first impression?
Dress professionally! In addition to your appearance, a strong handshake and good eye contact go a long way. Successful job fair candidates project an air of excitement and confidence and many of our recruiters shared that one of the most common deal-breakers are candidates who don’t take the job fair seriously.
What types of questions should candidates ask prospective employers?
Don’t hold back. Our recruiters appreciate when candidates ask thoughtful questions that span the spectrum. Great questions include anything from what separates a company from its competition, to industry-specific questions that show you’ve done your research, to big-picture questions such as company goals, philosophy, culture and work environment.
What's the best way to determine if a company is likely to be a good fit?
Remember, it’s a two-way conversation, and it’s just as important that a company fits your needs as you fit theirs. Our recruiters recommend that candidates ask questions such as: “What are the characteristics of your top people?” “How do you see me fitting in at your company?” And “Please explain what my day-to-day responsibilities would be.”
Questions about opportunities for professional growth, training as well as goals and performance metrics can help candidates decide if a company is right for them.
Should candidates follow up with recruiters?
Our recruiters unanimously agree that candidates should follow up with recruiters post-job fair either by phone or e-mail communication. Job fairs are great for initial contacts, but typically, they don’t offer enough time to dive deeply.
Don’t wait around for a recruiter to call or e-mail you. Following up with the recruiter demonstrates your interest and drive, as well as portrays professionalism and confidence.
Meet our recruiting team who contributed to this article:
, Jake Plegge
, Gina Prudhomme
and Dana Sheehan