Jacob Share, at Job Mob, wrote a post titled 25 Reasons Job Fairs Are Not a Waste of Time. He has some really good, valid points. My experience and conclusion was different.
A few years ago I got a call from someone at a local radio station asking if I would speak at their job fair. In my job search I learned job fairs weren’t appropriate for the type of job I was looking for, and chose not to spend my time there.
But I figured this would be a good opportunity. Aside from being able to speak three or four times, they would do all the advertising, posters, handouts, etc. And, he said they would mention JibberJobber multiple times on the various radio stations that was announcing the job fair. Since they were multiple popular radio station, he assured me there would be awesome exposure (easily hundreds of thousands of people would hear the name JibberJobber), and they were expecting thousands of people to come to the job fair.
Win, win, win, all the way around, right?
And then, the day came. I spent hours preparing my presentations. When I got there it seemed that about 1/2 of the booths were empty. The other 1/2 were entry-level positions, or not hiring at all (just collecting resumes). There were very few candidates during the day, and those who were there were not dressed like they wanted a job (t-shirts, or tank tops, shorts, flip-flops, etc.).
Of course, my presentations went well. Kind of.
Actually, no one really wanted to be there. The guy from the radio station who had me come out would walk around the job fair and beg, and pull people into my presentation. The most people I had in one was 8. And they all looked like high school kids in a boring class, watching the clock.
It was amazing.
I saw that job fairs brought a certain type of employer, and attracted a certain type of candidate. It was a joke. An utter disaster. A complete waste of time.
Oh, what about the radio spots, you ask? Aside from the fact that the DJ kept saying “JibberJabber,” instead of JibberJobber, it was completely useless. It was one of the experiences that helped me realize that traditional PR was not all it was cracked up to be.
Will I go to another job fair? I doubt it. If I do, I’ll go with very little expectations.