Job Fairs: How useful are they?

Are Job Fairs Successful?

Are Job Fairs Successful?

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend an outdoor job fair at a local semi-professional ball park.  It was a beautiful day.  The weather was hot and sunny a beautiful day for a ballgame.  But the people I saw didn’t seem to be enjoying themselves.  The heat and the frustration of a job search were weighing heavily on their faces.  I wondered how successful the attendees were going to be.

I overheard many recruiters from companies say variations of the same phrase to many of the attendees.  They said they didn’t take paper résumé, but the job searchers should go to the company websites and submit their résumés there.  So why are the searchers asked to bring copies of their resumes?

An interesting mix of people attended.  There was the husband and wife team. The wife was dressed in a religious headdress.  The husband did all the talking as she didn’t speak English or much English.  Is the husband talking for his wife more of an impediment to hiring or her English skills?

Talking about obstacles to hiring, there was a woman pushing her child in a stroller.  Her clothes were more appropriate for washing clothes, doing dishes and making beds.  What message is she sending to the recruiters?   

A group of 4 boys, probably high school graduates, dressed in their finest basketball shorts and tee-shirts.  I don’t think they got the memo about proper attire for a job fair.  Do recruiters speak to groups or should they have separated and worked the booths alone?

I saw a few mature, gray-haired gentlemen wearing dark suits, white shirts and ties. They carried portfolios.  I overheard one of these men talking to a recruiter, he was making his case trying to convince the recruiter he was the one.  I felt for these men, they looked hot and tired.  How do you come across to the recruiter when you are hot and tired looking?  Is it from the heat or from the job search?  Does it help if the recruiter is hot also?

People sought out what little shade there was to make notes, to make phone calls and to cool off.  Did anyone come away from the event feeling successful?  I don’t know.  But I’m sure they went home to scurry off thank you notes to the people they met.  And drink a cold glass of water. 

The faces I saw showed the effects of the heat and frustration.   So why did they attend?  They attended because any glimmer of hope of a job is better than doing anything else.  You never know when the right opportunity will arise.  You want to be prepared and ready to take advantage of all the resources available to you. 

But how useful are job fairs?  It’s anyone’s guess.  But from what I saw yesterday, there were people who are going to be successful.  Others don’t stand a chance.  Any time you have an opportunity to present yourself to recruiters, you should be at your best.  No matter how hot it is, dressing professionally and polished will help rather than sabotage your chances.  And they way you adapt to the conditions speak volumes about you.  Ignore the conditions and give it your all.


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Photo:  artur84

1 Comment to "Job Fairs: How useful are they?"

  1. September 18, 2013 - 3:01 pm | Permalink

    An outdoor job fair in the summer heat is a ridiculous venue altogether and dictates a lack of a serious event from the get-go. It is likely why many of the attendees were not prepared or dressed appropriately because the platform wasn’t serious and neither were those specific attendees. Despite that, you are 100% correct – dress to impress regardless of the format. I cannot believe the way some people show up to job interviews at my company. Maybe I am narrow- minded but if they do not present themselves professionally, I don’t care what their resume says, they don’t get hired. If they are too lazy or stupid to be properly prepared, dressed appropriately, or they don;t have the brains to send emails/letters or have resumes with complete sentences and not “text talk” abbreviations (like the resume received that started out with “Hey”, it generally means they won’t care all that much about our company, their co-workers, our clients or their performance.

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