It has become much more commonplace for large employers to host a Job Fair when conducting a mass hire. This time efficient, cost efficient process allows them to meet multiple candidates, in a short period of time, and form a viable first impression.
With so many job seekers expressing frustration with the impersonal selection manner used with online applications, the Job Fair format provides that face to face connection they often long for. Yet with so many other competitors it can be overwhelming, so we have developed a checklist to ensure you maintain a competitive edge.
- Prepare your 60 second commercial / elevator speech: In a very concise manner, be ready to highlight your strongest attributes for the position (s) you are applying for. It is imperative to project to the employer what you can do for them, not what they can do for you.
- Prepare for basic interview questions: The more time you have spent considering your potential responses for the most common interview questions, the better your answers will be. Consider a few industry-specific situational questions they may ask and be prepared to give examples. In addition, prepare a couple of your own questions to ask the employer about the company or position.
- Research the company: Demonstrated your knowledge of the company highlights your initiative, resourcefulness and passion for the job. View the “About Us” section of their website and see what type of articles they have been posting on their social media feeds to gain a better understanding of their brand.
- Update your references: Let your references know when you are applying for a job so they are prepared for a call. If it has been awhile since you have had contact with them, tell them about any training or new skills you have developed to better equip them to talk about you knowledgeably. Ensure all information is typed, and formatted similar to your resume, so if you are asked for a reference page you are prepared.
- Dress appropriately: Knowing what the proper business attire is for each position will help you to ensure that you are not under-dressed or over-dressed for the event.
- Pack extra resumes: There may be multiple positions you qualify for so adapting each resume for the job description will increase your chances of moving on to the next step. Even if you have submitted a resume prior, you will still want to have some available for the interviewer (s) and to refer for application completion.
- Organize yourself: Ensure child care, other appointments and transportation concerns are resolved well in advance.
- Avoid showing up too early: Arriving excessively early may suggest you are desperate rather than motivated. Showing up a little after the Job Fair starts gives the employer a chance to ‘get their groove on”. The process is stressful for them as well and the more candidates they meet the more comfortable they become with the process. Keep in mind that arriving close to the end of the Job Fair may be detrimental as well. If an employer has enough suitable candidates, the hours of the Job Fair may be cut short.
- Be prepared to wait: Job Fairs can elicit hundreds of applicants in one day. As a result, it is important to demonstrate patience and to find a way to appropriately fill your time while you wait. If you determine your mobile device is the best tool, ensure it is turned off prior to the interview.
- Complete the entire application form: While the information on the application form and your resume can be similar, the company wants to ensure you can follow instructions, information presented is consistent and truthful, and that there is a common format for viewing all candidate experience.
- Get the interviewers name and contact information: Sending a thank you note further demonstrates your drive and genuine interest in the position. It also provides another opportunity for you to highlight your qualifications for the position.
- Avoid comparing yourself to other candidates: Looking around the room sizing up all the other candidates can undermine your self-confidence. Being prepared and doing your very best is all that anyone can ask for. Remember, it is difficult to predict how you many connect with an interviewer and the more authentic the experience the more likely they can get a sense of the real you. You have no way of knowing what qualifications or attributes the other applicants possess. The best recipe for success is to spend as much time preparing and then just do your very best.
- Highlight your personality: We often hear employers say they are looking for the ‘right person’ or the ‘right fit’ for the company. Demonstrating professionalism, proficiency, pride, passion and good old-fashioned manners is the best recipe for success.
- Obtain business cards or get contact information from the interviewer: Send a follow up note or email to thank you interviewer for their time and to briefly highlight your continued interest and qualifications for the position.
- Keep applying for other jobs: The saying “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is very relevant for the job search process. The Job Fair should be one of many options you are pursuing. Keep plugging along so that you continue to have access to many options.
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