Home > Alex, Job Seeking > Job-fairs – There are two sides of the story

Job-fairs – There are two sides of the story

To most students job fairs (or careers fairs) are quite familiar. However, the true purpose of job fairs is rather elusive. In my opinion, quite a number of students go to a careers fair expecting to receive a job or a call back. But while those outcomes are possible, they are infrequent. As the result of these heightened expectations students are discouraged when, after giving a long spiel, they receive a generic answer: “Apply on our website”.

But if most of the time recruiters direct potential candidates to go through the online recruitment process, what is the true purpose of career fairs? I asked some young professionals who had experience of being on the other side of the recruitment barricades. From the answers I got it seems quite clear that it’s not selection, but a desire to increase the image of the company within the educated workforce and drive the traffic to their recruitment website. Moreover, it would be quite logistically impossible for larger companies to accept paper résumés during career fairs, input all the résumé information into their recruitment databases and make a comparison with hundreds or thousands of other online applicants.

So it seems that recruitment fairs are there to attract talent by providing additional information about the companies, but they generally are not intended to function as a selection mechanism. If recruiters think that the main purpose of career fairs is to inform student populations about their company and raise their recruitment profile – what should students do to get the maximum value from such events instead  of returning home slightly discouraged?

Looking forward to your comments!

Here some useful links:

1. I think that this link provides a traditional and a bit old fashioned view of career fairs

2.This is more in line with what I perceive career fairs to be

Note the third guy in the blue shirt.

3.Another quite clear and useful post By Mark Lyden

  1. Simon
    January 20, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Mate it helps if you know someone on the inside through social groups, school cohorts, either a family friend who works in recruitment or HR who can recommend you or help you out in some way.

    A simple resume submission is not going to get you far in a multinational corporation, they simply don’t have the time to go sift through 5000 applications in a diplomatic manor.

    Sadly the truth is that its about who you know, not what you know.

  2. January 20, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    I agree having a recommendation from a person who works in the company is a huge plus, but what to do when you don’t have one? I would argue that making friends with employees during career fairs is possible, if we switch our mind set away from traditional view of recruitment fairs.


  3. Gij
    January 26, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    From my Stateside experiences (which may be quite different to where you’re at), my goal used to be to get their business card. Follow up with them, keep them engaged and as a last resort even request an ‘informational’ interview.

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