In response to the previous post on job fairs, a commenter asked:
I have attended my alma mater’s industry-specific career fair the past few years. I’ve done most of the things you list in your article and gotten feedback that my resume is great.
BUT all the company reps refer me (and everyone else) to their company’s site. I’ve applied for countless positions on those sites and never heard a word (industry specific, HUGE conglomerates). I attend the fair because it’s better than just sitting at home but leave wondering why I even bothered. Being directed to the company site makes me feel hopeless! Why do these reps (from big famous companies that everyone knows about) even attend the fair? Is there anything I can say or do while face to face with these “refer to our site for everything” reps?
Well, it’s potentially an opportunity to form a connection with someone at those companies — someone to send follow-up correspondence to and to check in with.
However, I strongly suspect that these companies are attending job fairs not because they have any intention of doing any serious recruiting work there (they’ve made it pretty clear that they do not) but rather because they’ve just mindlessly decided that job fairs are something that their HR departments “should” do. So they’re just showing up there, without any examination of how they’re using their presence there or whether it makes sense for them to attend at all.
Which means that they’re wasting the time of the employees they send, and they’re wasting the time of job fair attendees like you.
I do think that some employers attend with every intention of meeting potential candidates who they might not otherwise come into contact with — I certainly did, and I saw other employers around me doing that too. And someone I met at one of those job fairs actually ended up getting the job (she used tip #12 from my article, by the way). But I was at smaller, niche job fairs (in my case, for campaign workers), representing a smaller, niche employer — and I suspect those things make a huge difference in whether attending is a good use of job-seekers’ time or not.
I’d love to hear from readers on this: Have any of you ever been hired as a result of attending a job fair?