Here are 10 pitfalls to be aware of before you attend.
1) It’s a like speed-dating, but for a job instead of a date
Let’s face it, both the job-hunter, and the Human Resources recruiters, don’t really want to be there. However, the recruiter is there, because it’s their job, to be there. The job hunter really would rather well, be home, or better yet, working!
In any case the hunter, and huntee are both dressed to the nines, shake hands, and put on an awkward smile. There’s also a quick intro statement to get the other party interested, as you have pretty much 2 minutes to make an impression.
2) The lines are really long
I waited two and a half hours to see some recruiters at the last job fair I attended. Imagine that—waiting two and a half hours to speak to someone for just two minutes? Usually, when you wait on a line that long, there’s some kind of big pay-off at the other end. In this case, your reward is it’s to have an awkward conversation where you have to sell yourself to a recruiter who has heard the same spiel over and over from every Tom, Dick, and Harry before you. The recruiter is also typically bored, tired, and as exhausted as you are.
3) Other job-hunters on the long lines
Yes, you’re on this really long line, so you might as well build your professional network and make friends, right? This is when you start meeting people who have been looking for a job much longer than yourself. Although this temporary support group can be nice, it doesn’t bode well for your mental state and confidence. You start re-thinking why you’re even in that line of work in the first place.
4) The sheer size of the crowd attending the fair
When you take a step back, and look at the long lines wrapping around the tables, with professionals of all ages, races, and genders, it becomes overwhelming, and a bit daunting. You’ve been job hunting all alone on your cushy couch in your pajamas all this time, and now that you’re out of jobless home-bubble, you realize, “Damn, there are a lot of people out of work– and they’re all fighting for the same jobs and attention I am!”
Again, another confidence breaker.
5) You may have had to pay to be there
Many job fairs are free to attend, although there are some where you have to pay for the privilege of being there. As if you aren’t broke enough, you have to pay to stand in this room with hundreds of other miserable unemployed people like yourself.
6) There’s no food
This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you’re standing on a long line for hours on end, you will start to get hungry or thirsty. But guess what? There’s no food, and no time to get any. The competition in the room is so thick, that your only thought is to run to the next recruiter’s line that seems to be shorter than a 2-hour wait. Times like this, you wish the $10 you shelled out to be there doesn’t cover o’erderves or refreshments.
7) Dodging former colleagues is impossible
If you were laid off, chances are former colleagues you thought you’d never see again, are also at the same job fair. You couldn’t escape them then, and you can’t escape them now. t’s inevitable they will come over to chat. Since you are chained to your spot on that long line, you are stuck there listening to every little detail of their job search (and remember, all the while, you’re hungry, thirsty, and have been on your feet all day, by the way).
8) Lazy recruiters
After all that waiting, you finally make it to the front of the line. You gather your composure, pep-talk yourself to gain more confidence, give that strong opening statement, and shake their hand with a smile.
It all comes to a screeching halt when the recruiter says to you, “We’re not taking resumes right now, we recommend all interested applicants apply on our website.” UGH! If you wanted to apply on their website you would have stayed home in your pajamas, on your cushy couch!
9) Recruiters who are a no-show
The organization sponsoring the job fair probably advertised the companies who will be in attendance. Thing is, some of them won’t even bother to show up. I’ve even noticed recruiters leaving job fairs early, even though there are tons of people eager to speak to them.
10) The end game
The whole point of this charade is to make a connection and land a job right?
Do you know anyone who was actually successful at being hired by a recruiter they met at a job fair?
Me, neither, but job seekers will still attend job fairs and put ourselves through the miserable situation, in the hopes, that someday, we will.