As the world starts returning to normal post-COVID, more and more virtual activities are returning to their in-person form. Job fairs were a regular occurrence pre-2020, and now more employers are getting back to the in-person style of meeting and screening candidates.
For some, this might be their first foray with an in-person job fair, while others might just need a few pointers about what to expect and how to prepare for these events again.
As with any interview, researching the company ahead of time shows an employer you’re serious about the position and have taken an interest in their business. Jennifer Westra is the team lead with Agilec Innisfil and recommends job seekers always prepare by doing a little intel.
“If you know that a company is going to be there and you really want to work for that company, research that company,” Westra said. “It helps to know their mission, their values, or the service or product that they have. If you have that information, it shows that you care. If you didn’t already know about the product, you took the time to learn about it.”
No matter the industry, dressing for success is key. Business casual attire is always a safe bet, even if it’s a blue-collar job in construction or manufacturing. Although job fairs aren’t as formal as a setting, keep in mind you could become the face of the company.
Job fair interviews vary slightly from traditional interviews because they’re shorter, and you could be in a group interview with a few candidates. Employers sometimes use this scenario to see how you’d mesh with customers, clients or co-workers.
In some sectors, there may be a practical component to a job fair interview as well. By asking you to do a task on the spot, employers can determine fairly quickly if you’re capable of filling the position.
Since employers are filtering through a lot of candidates in a short time, their questions are typically more forthright and coax a direct answer from job seekers. Westra says knowing how to answer these two questions is key to nailing your interview.
“They’ll usually meet you one on one and ask typical questions like why you want to be in that job and why you think you’re the right fit,” Westra said. “Those are the two main things to nail down before they go to the job fair. You’re pretty much guaranteed going to be asked those questions.”
Coming prepared with an “elevator pitch” about yourself is a quick way to capture an employer’s attention. Some people might feel uncomfortable talking about themselves, but this is your opportunity to advocate for yourself and convince this employer why you should get the job.
“You do have within reason a little bit of bragging rights because the employer needs to know you have what it takes to do that job,” Westra said. “If you don’t say it, it might just go unnoticed. You do have to mention the things that you don’t want them to miss, because nobody else is going to.”
Agilec Innisfil hosts an in-person job fair on Tuesday, March 21 from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm at the Innisfil Recreational Complex, 7315 Yonge Street, Innisfil.
A wide variety of employers will be on hand, and this is your opportunity to connect with local hiring opportunities.
Going back to your first in-person job fair can be a little daunting, but if you need some interview prep, just connect with a local Agilec job coach at their Innisfil branch. Find out more at Agilec.ca.