Employers attending EmployUP on March 3 at the Grady Cole Center will talk to job candidates who approach their booth. But they’re more likely to offer interviews to candidates who know how to interact and what to say.
So how do you talk to employers at career fairs?
- Wait your turn. If there is a line of people waiting to talk to the recruiter, be kind and wait in line. You would appreciate the same courtesy.
- Greet the employer with a firm handshake and a smile. This makes an impression before you say a word.
- Introduce yourself. “Hi my name is_______.” Don’t wait for the employers to introduce themselves – show enthusiasm and get the conversation started.
- Have an elevator speech prepared. What you say about yourself makes or breaks your chances of landing an interview. Practice ahead of time talking about your skills, academic background and interest in the company. The Elevator Speech info page in the Career Services Career Guide can help you write this short introductory speech ahead of time. What’s most important is practicing before the event.
- Ask appropriate questions. Employers like candidates who ask questions. But make sure the questions you ask are appropriate. Never ask “What does your company do?” It shows you didn’t do your research and aren’t as interested in the company as you say.
- Be prepared to answer questions about your resume. While a career fair conversation isn’t a job interview, a recruiter might ask questions about entries on your resume. Be prepared to talk about why you chose your field of study, your previous work experiences or any other items listed on your resume.
- Don’t take the free stuff unless offered. Employers bring all sorts of goodies, from water bottles to stress balls to candy, to get applicants’ attention. But don’t ruin the great impression you’ve made by asking “Hey, can I have this?”
- Ask the employer for a business card. You’re going to need his or her contact information when you send a follow up email after the event. Don’t be upset if they say no – some companies have policies against handing out business cards at recruiting event.
- Be respectful of time. Interactions with employers at career fairs are brief. Remember, it’s not a job interview. Understand that the employer wants to talk to other candidates (just like you want to talk to other companies).
- Say thank you and leave with a firm handshake. It seals the deal, letting the employer know that you enjoyed your conversation and look forward to following up.
So often job seekers say “if only I could speak to recruiters in person, they would see what a great candidate I am!” EmployUP is your chance, so prepare for this opportunity.