Career Fair from the Recruiter’s Perspective

For those of you that are not aware, we are hosting a webinar on Monday, September 19 at 6 PM.  You can sign up here.  Today’s article is a sneak peak into the topics of discussion for the webinar.

As an undergrad, the career fair is intimidating.  You have other people judging you based on your appearance, history, and GPA.  You are competing with your peers for a job and, if you don’t get one you will not have any money - scary, right?  But take a step back at the things that are intimidating about the career fair.  Is it really that intimidating?  Corporate State University does not think so.  We deconstruct the career fair into a two different parts.

Talking to Recruiters

You will do this countless times at the career fair, so get used to it.  This is your opportunity to strike up a conversation and get them interested in you.  The key to talking to recruiters is to be yourself and relax.  If you cannot do either of these things, how is a recruiter supposed to get a true read on you as an individual?

Why are undergrads intimidated by talking to recruiters?  They, as mentioned in the intro, feel recruiters are judging them.  Yes, recruiters are judging you, but they are just other people you are talking to.  Don’t put recruiters on a pedestal and make that scare you/perform worse in your discussion.  Being kind and respectful to recruiters is essential, but don’t let their position of power intimidate you.  Often times the recruiters are recent graduates who have similar interests and experiences.  Work, in the short time you have, to find common ground and talk about that.

Lastly, if you want to get the attention of a recruiter, share an interesting fact or something that makes you uniquely you.  Recruiters talk to hundreds of students, so how are they supposed to remember each one?  By sharing something truly interesting or unique, you are setting yourself apart.  Keep in mind an interesting fact does not need to be outlandish or rare (ie. completed a marathon).  Keep it simple.  Something like being captain of the club soccer team or competing in Battle Bots is a great thing to share - especially if that fact is relatable to the field you are pursuing.

Competing Against Peers

This is known going into the career fair - there are hundreds or thousands of students at your school that will be going for an internship or job with the same company as you.  How you deal with this is important.

Be kind and respectful of your peers throughout the process.  If you are waiting in line to chat with a specific recruiter, strike up a conversation with another peer in line.  Recruiters notice this type of interaction and it will reflect positively.  Conversely, you want to avoid being rude to your peers, such as glaring at them for taking too long with a recruiter or yelling for cutting in line.  Always be respectful, as this is a trait required in Corporate America.

There is nothing you can do about your peers’ performance.  Do not get hung up on the fact that one of your peers has so much more experience than you.  You still need to go talk to the companies high on your list.  Just because someone has more experience does not mean they are the right culture fit.  Since you only have control over yourself, do not let peers deter you from focusing on your goal.

Be sure to check out the webinar on Monday, September 19 at 6 PM.  We’ll go into much more detail and provide more tools to have a successful career fair.

Thought Starters

  • How do you prepare for the career fair?
  • What has been a successful way to strike up a conversation with a recruiter?