So What? It's Only a Job Fair

New Opportunity logo

Job Fairs are a great venue for the job seeker to find temporary jobs, temp-to-hire, or even permanent work.  It could be with any number of great companies, or with temp agencies such as AccuStaff.  Of course you still need to go through the application and interview process, but job seekers typically have an opportunity to learn more about a company before that stage when visiting a booth at a job fair.  Most don’t have that chance to learn the ins and outs and a chance to leave a positive impression on the recruiters or managers involved in the hiring process as one might when attending a job fair.

I certainly have seen plenty of situations where job seekers don’t take things as seriously as I think they should though. Recently, I entered a job fair, while a job seeker was leaving an employer area. I don’t want to say it was a typical situation, but it wasn't the first time I'd seen something like this. I’ll paint the picture for you:

Walking out is a gentleman who’s leaving a job fair dressed in a stained, un-tucked, t-shirt and a pair of shorts and sneakers.  He’s grumbling about some place that wouldn’t give him the time of day. Of all people, he appears to be grumbling to his mother, who happens to be carrying all of his applications and brochures of the companies visited.

What’s my take? He’s obviously unhappy with his results. Is he mad at himself or the employer(s) that didn’t give him the time he expected. Granted, I’d probably be upset about not getting time with places I thought I was clearly interested in.  But it’s hardly the place to show your displeasure.  (Keep in mind, this is all a visual and audio impression based on what I saw in a span of 30 seconds.)

At a job fair, employers are looking for the best of the best. They want to see how you handle yourself in the general public, how you handle professional conversations (regardless of the job type), how you dress and prepare for job situations, and probably a list of things longer than my arm. Potential employees have the opportunity to show their best 110% image – patience, professionalism, communication skills, etc.  Do I think the person above demonstrated all of those pieces?  Without seeing, I can’t say for sure. What I can tell you is that based on how he dressed, and how he was complaining (while still in reasonable proximity to the booth), I don’t think he gave his best impression.  He showed a few things though:

  • He didn’t want to demonstrate the professional courtesy to dress for the occasion.
  • He demonstrated that his concern for other customers wasn’t paramount. There were plenty of other potential job seekers within ear shot of his negative comments (not to mention the employer he was applying to).
  • He was having his companion (mother, aunt, ride, etc.) carry all of the paperwork he’d gathered. I’m not sure this is a negative, but why not bring a bag or something to carry these neatly yourself?

What the employers might see with this situation is that here’s a candidate who has a chance to make a great first impression, show that they have tact and a courteous communication style, show that they have respect for differing opinions; and a care to be prepared for a situation.  You’re competing with all of the other job seekers out there, in addition to online responses. Why wouldn’t you take the chance at putting your best foot forward? It’s hopefully a lesson learned.  Please don’t think of it as “just” a job fair. Think of it as an opportunity, a lead, a chance (something so many people are scrambling for these days). It’s not just a ‘so what’ situation.

Leave your comments


  • No comments found