The Reconnaissance Job Fair Strategy
By Mike Bowman   

The job seekers who are most successful at job fairs are those who go in with a strategy, and the best strategies take into consideration all of the details a job seeker will face at the event. For example, your appearance, your resume, your handshake, your elevator speech, and the amount of homework you did are all part of an overall job fair strategy you should construct before attending the hiring event and approaching employers.

How you approach each individual recruiter at any job fair is also critically important. (Yes, HOW you approach a hiring manager at a job fair is even more important than your resume.) Like everyone else, recruiters are going to make a snap judgment about you within 3 seconds of meeting you and decide whether or not to give you a chance. This is why you want to immediately build a positive, enthusiastic rapport with each employer you meet. In order to help you accomplish this, use the following strategy to give you an advantage.

As you may already know it makes sense to do some reconnaissance at the job fair, prior to approaching any of the employers in attendance. When you arrive at the job fair, take some time to casually walk around the venue. Carry a note pad and take notes about what and who you see. Observe every employer at the job fair. You want to note things that will help you prepare to successfully approach the hiring manager, particularly those representing the companies you are most interested in.

What appears to be important to each individual recruiter? When speaking to a particular employer, what does your competition sound like, and how does the employer react to different job seeker personalities? Does the recruiter seem very formal or more relaxed? Be looking for cues that will allow you to tailor your approach. In essence you are taking it all in so that you can make any last minute tweaks to your approach strategy. Matching your mannerisms to theirs will allow you to more quickly build rapport with the hiring manager.

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