This past week, I went to my very first recruiting event at Sheridan College. Against everyone’s advice, I didn’t spend time researching the companies who were going to be there. I didn’t update my resume, I didn’t design eye-catching business cards, and I didn’t take the time to make sure that my blazer was wrinkle-free. But these are all small details. Last Wednesday, I learned that the most important thing about recruiting events is not how you look or what you bring, but how you present yourself to potential employers. So in this blog post, I’m going to let you in on the dos and don’ts of recruiting events. Consider this post a Career Development advice column from someone who really, really knows what they are doing. If you haven’t already guessed, I learned most of these the hard way.
- Don’t pretend you know what a company does when you really don’t. I thought I could get away with saying “I have certainly seen some of the advertisements your agency produces, but I have yet to discover what philosophies and corporate practices make the company so successful and unique”. To this, the recruiter said “well we’re actually exclusively a research and measurement company, so that makes us pretty unique…compared to advertising agencies”. It’s pretty hard to recover from that one.
- Don’t let people know you aren’t qualified for a position. There was one recruiter who was looking for someone with a background in software development to create the website. I responded “what a coincidence! I also need someone like that to help set up my LinkedIn profile, which I can’t figure out”. He didn’t laugh.
- Don’t stand around and wait for a table to clear up. Be aggressive, or there is a very real chance that you will be standing awkwardly in the middle of the room for hours.
- If there is swag on the table, grab it all up. Those pens are there for you! Don’t ever miss an opportunity to get free things.
- Before you approach a recruiter, think really hard: “have I met this guy already?” I cannot stress this point enough. It is really difficult to convince a person that you are interested in their company if you don’t remember talking about it 20 minutes before.
I hope this list has been helpful to you. I know that I have learned a lot. Now that I know what to expect, I can’t wait for my next recruiting event. Well, maybe I can wait a little bit… at least until all of this blows over.