By Caitlin Gailey, Director of Staff Relations
Even the most prepared communicators will find a career fair daunting. The pressure to make a good first impression with 30 seconds or less is immense and can leave many wondering what recruiters really are thinking. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to sit down with a college recruiter of a Fortune 500 company to ask her honest questions about the recruiting process. She not only shared with me the typical do’s and don’ts of a career fair, but also provided me with great insight into the mind of a recruiter.
Time Does Matter
One of the first questions I asked was does it matter what time you arrive. While she said it doesn’t truly affect the impression you leave, earlier is always better. For many recruiters they are standing and talking from beginning to end, with very few breaks in-between. The entirety of the day can be exhausting and if you want to stay in a recruiters mind the earlier is better. They are more likely to engage in a longer conversation and remember you.
Have Good Manners
Before jumping into your pitch it’s important to remember that recruiters are people too. The Fortune 500 recruiter said one of the easiest ways to make a great first impression is to ask about their day. It not only is a less uncomfortable way to lead into a conversation about it shows compassion on your part. It’s something that will show your true character and in many cases impress the recruiter you’re speaking with.
Cut It Short
There is such a thing as a pitch or a conversation that has gone too long. Recruiters are aware when someone is trying to stretch out a conversation; in fact sometimes it can be quite obvious. It’s important to leave a great impression but also to know when the conversation has come to a natural end. Recruiters are there to get to know you and to assess your fit for a company, but that doesn’t mean you have the right to monopolize their time.
Don’t Be Nervous
This is easier said than done. However recruiters can tell when you are uncomfortable or unsure about what you are talking about. Instead of dwelling on nerves put your best foot forward and represent yourself and all your hard work. Recruiters find confidence to be reassuring and something that makes you stand out.
Resume And Pitch Matter
Recruiters are aware that people have different strengths, so many don’t put all their focus into your pitch or your resume. While some people may be more comfortable speaking others may better illustrate their accomplishments on paper. With that being said it’s important to properly prepare your resume and pitch for prospective employers. Even if your strength is in one particular area recruiters can notice effort and that’s what matters.