Job fairs are becoming a more common method of entry level recruiting and initial screening. For the corporate recruiter, they offer an opportunity to reach interviewing terminal velocity—the highest possible number of prospects in the shortest possible amount of time. For many students, job fairs provide a "freebie" opportunity to meet with multiple employers in the same day.
However, unless you do your homework, you will end up wasting your time at a job fair. Job fairs are the meat markets of the entry level job market, with employers sizing up candidates quickly, based on appearances, communication skills, and first impressions. Job fairs have a set of rules and protocols all their own. But if you understand how to effectively work within the system, you can easily double or triple your productivity and effectiveness.
Job fairs – job search nirvana? Only if you are prepared.
Often many of the attendees at job fairs are "window shoppers" who are just browsing to see what is available. While this approach may seem valid, take note that job fairs are not a "get-acquainted session" for you to meet prospective employers. They are first interviews where the plain vanilla candidates are stepped on and over by those who are targeted and prepared. Yes, even the two- to three-minute greeting and exchange of sound bites is a real interview. You are being evaluated, whether it is for thirty seconds or thirty minutes. You always need to be at your very best. If you are to succeed at the job fair of the new millennium, you have to take a very aggressive, yet structured approach.