Career fairs are one of the best ways to introduce yourself to potential employers when you’re fresh out of school and looking to break into the workforce.
And you’ll likely be practicing how you want to answer any questions companies might have for you. However, it’s just as important to think about what questions to ask at a career fair.
A recruiter isn’t just looking for someone who can rattle off answers to their questions. If they’re going to hire someone for a job, they want that person to be interested in their business and what they do. So, asking the right questions is actually one of the most important parts of the interview process.
Plus, you want to make sure whoever you work for will be a good fit and will help you achieve your career goals. So asking good questions at these events can help you know if the employer is right for you.
Below are the 13 best questions to ask at a career fair…
This one may seem obvious, but it’s not always abundantly clear what it is a company does. While you’ll likely do your research on a number of the companies that will be at the job fair, you’ll likely run into a few you’ve never heard about before.
There’s nothing wrong with walking up to them and asking about their business and what they do. Recruiters at job fairs are usually happy to tell you all about their company. Before you work for any company you want to have a good grasp of what they’re all about.
If you can find a business that works in a field you’re interested in and aligns with your values you’re far more likely to enjoy the job and perform well in the role. So, this is definitely one of the first questions you should be asking at career fairs.
Next, you’ll want to find out what roles they’re hiring for, or what type of person they’re looking to find.
This will help you determine if they have a suitable role or needs, and which of their jobs or groups might be well-suited for you. But if you don’t know what they have to offer, it’s hard to know whether it’s a good fit or not.
If you’ve decided you’re interested in working for a company a good next question is to ask them what type of educational background they’re looking for.
This question is best utilized when you’ve already researched the jobs they have available and know you have the right qualifications. That way when they answer with what they’re looking for you can follow up with all the ways you meet the recruiters’ requirements.
This is a similar question to the previous one, but an equally important one to ask at job fairs. Depending on the position you’re applying for recruiters may be looking for potential employees with practical skills and work experience outside of school.
Again, this is best utilized if you already know that you meet their qualifications. By asking this question you open the door to explain all the ways you’re a great fit for the job.
This question is another great way to demonstrate your knowledge and interest in a company. Do your research on the companies that will be attending the career fair and select a few that you’re particularly interested in. Then delve into their business and industry to see if there are any trends or issues that might impact them moving forward.
When you meet with their recruiter bring these issues up and see what they have to say, then give your thoughts as well. This is an excellent way to separate yourself from other potential candidates.
Before you officially apply for a job it’s a good idea to ask some questions about the role to determine whether it’s suited to your interests and skills. This is a good time to ask recruiters what your overall responsibilities would be or what a typical day or typical week might look like for you.
It will let you envision yourself in the role and help you decide whether it’s something you’re interested in. If the responsibilities of the job are in line with your qualifications then this is another good time to talk about how your experience applies to the role.
While it’s important to ask questions at a job fair that will allow you to display your knowledge and skills, you also want to do some digging to see if a specific company will be a good fit your you.
By asking an employee what they like most about working there you’ll get an inside look about what it’s like to work for them and some of the things that might make it enjoyable for you. Questions like this also help show that you’re interested in the business.
Over the last few years, businesses have become much more aware of how important a strong culture is in boosting the morale of their employees. Different cultures suit different people, so you want to make sure you choose a workplace and job that fits your temperament and personality.
Any recruiter at a job fair should be able to explain their company’s culture and its values. However, if they have trouble with this question it means they likely haven’t clearly defined their culture which might not be a good thing.
Some companies innovate while others are stuck in the past. Ideally, you want to work for an organization that’s on the cutting edge of what they do and is striving to be unique.
Asking a recruiter questions about how their company is different from others in their industry will tell you a lot about the organization and will at least give you a sense of whether this company is striving to be special or if they’re just a typical employer.
If you’re going to devote your time to a company then you want to know that it’s going to benefit your career in the long run. So, one of the best questions you can ask a recruiter is whether there are opportunities for advancement within the company.
Ideally, you want to find a company that is willing to help you grow your skills and eventually give you more responsibility so you can further your career.
This is somewhat along the same lines as the last question and another great one to ask at job fairs. Many companies offer education and training programs which are a huge benefit to employees. Not only will this help you advance your career, but it also shows that the organization is committed to helping its employees reach their full potential.
If they do offer any training programs ask additional questions to see if there’s anything they offer that might benefit you moving forward.
If you plan to apply for a job with a company it’s good to know what their hiring process is like. You’ll want to know when you can expect to hear back from them following the job fair and when interviews will be taking place.
This will let you know how long you have to prepare for a potential interview, but it will also let you know at what point you should move on if you haven’t heard from them.
If you’re legitimately interested in a job with a company make sure to ask the recruiter if you can leave them your resume. It’s also a good idea to ask them for a business card before you leave.
This will allow you to send the recruiter a follow-up email when you get home to thank them for taking the time to speak with you about their company and your career.
Thinking about the right questions to ask at a career fair is a great start, but there are other things you need to do in order to properly prepare.
When it comes to what to bring to a job fair, the most important thing is to make sure you have a well-formatted resume. You should also print off a number of copies since you’ll want to hand these out to any companies you’re interested in working for.
Next, review the list of employers that will be at the job fair. This will allow you to research the organizations you’re interested in and help you determine what kinds of questions they might ask you. You also want to make sure you’re dressed appropriately as you want to make a good first impression. Finally, get to the career fair early so you have lots of time to meet with everyone.
If you follow these tips and come prepared with the right questions, you’ll be sure to get the most out of your career fair experience so you can find a job faster!
Biron Clark is a former Executive Recruiter who has worked with hundreds of job seekers, reviewed thousands of resumes and LinkedIn profiles, and recruited for top venture-backed startups and Fortune 500 companies. He has been advising job seekers since 2012 to think differently in their job search and land high-paying, competitive positions.
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