One Recruiter’s View of a Career Fair
by Kelsey Herrinton (Guest Blogger)
Have you ever experienced the same event from opposite perspectives? Maybe you’ve seen a play and then starred in one, or maybe you’ve eaten at a restaurant and then became a waiter at the same place. If you have experienced an eye-opening phenomenon like this, then you know exactly how Adam Wenger felt in January when he attended MSU’s Diversity Career Fair as a recruiter.
Adam graduated from Michigan State in 2005 with a B.S. in Computer Science. While he was there, he went to many-a-career fair and, just like the rest of us, searched for the perfect job. Adam admits now that he didn’t always know what to say or do while he was chatting up a company at their booth…but it didn’t stop him from trying.
At one of those career fairs, Adam talked to a recruiter from TechSmith Corporation. A few years after he graduated, he interviewed with TechSmith, got the job and hasn’t looked back since.
Because TechSmith is a local company, based in Okemos, they are able to attend career fairs at MSU and search for their next big program-coding super star (or sales, marketing and IT super stars…the list goes on). This year, they asked Adam to help with the search and I had the chance to interview him about the experience.
As someone who has been to MSU career fairs as a student and a recruiter, Adam gained some great insight, which he shared with me.
The good news is that recruiters do actually remember the people they speak to! Even though they might speak to hundreds of prospective employees in one night, you can make yourself stand out. You can be remembered for being awesome, but, the bad news is that you could be remembered for being lame.
To make sure you won’t be remembered as a dud, Adam suggests that you do not approach the booth with a generalized question. When someone comes up and asks, “What can you tell me about TechSmith?” it is obvious that they don’t have a real interest in the company, or even know what the company does. It shows poor preparation. Adam says, “There is only a short amount of time to talk to each person, if you come with a general question, I might not say what you want to hear.” i.e. If you’re interested in a marketing position, ask about the marketing department. Adam is a software engineer and if you don’t direct your questions toward marketing, he’s likely to only talk to you about coding.
To be remembered as a hirable candidate, Adam suggests that you come with a few specific questions, that way you can really learn about the company, and the recruiters can learn about you. Specific questions will get a conversation started between you and the recruiter. That conversation will plant a seed in their brain, they’ll remember all of the intelligent questions you asked, and you will have formed a connection.
A great way to prepare for a career fair is to research companies before you even walk through the doors. For most career fairs, you can find a list of participants and a map of booth locations online. Adam believes that knowing the atmosphere and design of a company will help you know if it’s a good match for you. Try to find a company that will compliment your talents and fit your personality. If you choose to approach companies based off of those criteria, it will be obvious to the recruiters that you are prepared, excited and interested in that company. You are more likely to click with the recruiters at the booth of the career fair and in an interview.
And there you have it, career fairs from an alumnus/recruiter’s point of view! Take Adam’s tips to heart and rock the next career fair you attend. Go green!
Kelsey Herrinton is a senior at Michigan State University and will be receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising this May. She is currently working as a Marketing Writer Intern for TechSmith Corporation and gets to work on tons of fun projects, like guest writing for this super-awesome blog. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in strategic planning. If you are so inclined, you can read her very own blog, http://kelseysobservations.blogspot.com, or contact her via LinkedIn, http://www.linkedin.com/in/kelseyherrinton.
TechSmith provides more than 30 countries with screen capture and recording software for individual and professional use. Founded in 1987 by William Hamilton, who remains the company’s president today, TechSmith has seven products that do anything from take screen captures, to screen recording and managing consumer content. Find out more at: www.techsmith.com
Tweet with them at: http://twitter.com/techsmith or follow them on Linkedin or Facebook.
Want more advice about Career Fairs? Check out these posts: