How to ACTUALLY get a job at a job fair
by A.J Horne
Posted on Oct/06/2017
Whether you’re passively or actively job-hunting, job fairs offer an excellent opportunity to directly meet and converse with companies who are hiring. To get the most from these events, it’s imperative to come prepared. Bring a folder with several copies of your resume (Folder keeps your resumes neat, and shows you’re prepared).
If you know how many companies are going to be at the event, you should bring at MINIMUM that same number of resumes. Also, if you know ahead of time what companies are going to be present, take some time to visit their websites and/or social media to familiarize yourself with their brand. In researching the companies that will be present beforehand, your goal should be to try to identify where you might be a valuable addition to their team. For example, if a retail company is opening another brick and mortar shop, you should talk about how your experience working in retail will make you an asset to their business in that you need very little training and can assist in the development of new hires. If you communicate exactly how you can provide value to their business, you will be able to book next steps to begin the interview process. Your goal at job fairs should be to make good first impressions, while also collecting emails and booking that first initial job screening. So even if an employer says to apply online, ask for their email and let them know that you’ll be following up with them. Better yet, if you’re able to schedule a follow up conversation on the spot, you can be confident you’re in strong position to start the interview process. Ask for their availability and ask to book a time to chat about a role where you can add value. Try to narrow down specifically what you can do for them. Its critical to be able to say specifically where you see yourself adding value rather than saying you can wear multiple hats. If they need support for the sales team, talk about how your sales experience would make you a great candidate.
As a general mindset, you should go in with a sales attitude. Identify-Qualify-Discovery-Close. Identify the companies with whom you want to work. Qualify the opportunity in the sense that you want to ask those specific companies what openings they have now or better yet, ask where they need help to grow their business. Furthermore, ask about specific qualities they think are necessary to successfully executive the responsibilities of the open role or to address the challenges they need to overcome to grow. Discovery-ask plenty of questions to further understand the needs of the company and gaps that must be filled for growth in their business. If getting their product into more dispensaries is their critical business objective, ask questions around how they are getting into dispensaries now, how many people they have working towards that goal, what areas they’re targeting, and if there are any areas they are unable to target due to a lack of resources. Hopefully it’s clear that you want to ask more questions and do more listening than talking. Finally, the close would be booking time with them to interview for a need/role you have uncovered in the discovery process. Putting it all together, if it works out perfectly, as an example- you know that some topical cream company is going to be present at the event. You first qualify it (where do they need help), if it’s something you can add value to then you begin discovery. If their challenges or open role is not relevant to your skills, you can still network, but don’t worry about how you can help them (at least in the short term).
So lets say that topical cream company needs sales support and you can sell. Then ask a ton of questions finding out why they need more sales support; what business drivers are creating that demand, what areas geographically need focus, what types of people do they want to hire, etc. Finally, once you have all that info, you can say to a recruiter/hiring manager, “based on all this that you’ve told me, my experience doing X and my success with Y, I would make me a strong addition to your team. Let’s schedule time to talk later this week or early next week, what works best for you?” If you go in prepared, you can come out confident in the time you invested in attending the event.