Recruiting events are usually large occasions and can be overwhelming if you are not properly prepared. To be successful at such an event, it’s important to prepare ahead of time. Here are a few tips from the WCC about navigating recruitment events. (Be sure to check out Part I.)
Sometimes recruiters won’t accept paper résumés
This doesn’t mean they’re not interested in you; instead, they are adhering to compliance policies and online recruiting procedures. Ask for a business card, and follow up with recruiters after the fair to let them know that you have applied, or plan to apply, online.
First impressions are very important
At recruiting events, employers are not trying to figure out how to screen you in.
Recruiters are looking for things that will screen you out. Your energy level, handshake, dress, and résumé can make you a success or failure in seconds.
Think of talking to the recruiter as an audition
What can you say and do in the first minute of conversation that will make him or her want to grant you an interview? Make sure to smile, have a firm handshake, and look recruiters in the eye.
Keep your energy high, be assertive, and ask engaging questions—especially ones that demonstrate your knowledge of the company.
Ask questions that reflect your research
Do not ask what the company does, what kinds of jobs they have, or what they can do for you. The recruiter will expect you to have done your research and to know these basic facts.
Dress as if you were going to an interview
A common mistake at recruiting events is to dress too casually. Both men and women should wear suits. If you have questions about professional attire, speak with a career advisor.
And last but not least, don’t eat, chew gum, use heavy fragrance, or smoke during a recruiting event.
Collect business cards from recruiters
Also be sure to jot notes about them and the company on the back of the card. Use these cards to send personalized thank-you notes after the event.
Write a thank-you note to every recruiter you speak to at the event; save contact information for future networking opportunities and to develop a target list of employers.
If you’re not looking for full-time employment at the time of the event, let the recruiter know.
Recruiting events are valuable—even for students who are not pursuing full-time jobs or internships. They’re a good way to meet recruiters and make early networking contacts. The senior-year job search begins in your freshman year—students who start building networks and identifying potential employers early are the most successful at getting internships and job offers later.