How to Talk to Recruiters at a Career Fair

A career fair is an event for employers and recruiters to meet with prospective job seekers, many of whom are students or new college/university graduates. At a career fair, you get to meet with employers and recruiters in an informal setting, and learn more about internship and job opportunities offered by their companies.

It is a goldmine of networking opportunities. However, as a student or new graduate, you may be overwhelmed and nervous, and not sure how to start a conversation with these recruiters.

The good news is that you are not alone! Here’s a quick guide on how to talk to recruiters:

1. Introduce yourself

A good way to break the ice is by introducing yourself to a recruiter. Start with a firm handshake and tell them your name, what you are studying, and year in school. Tell them you are glad to have the opportunity to talk with them about your career interests, and how your experience might fit in with their companies.

2. Get down to the nitty gritty

Now that the recruiter knows a bit about you, it is time to get down to the nitty gritty. Tell them what you know about their company and why you are interested in working there. Of course, you have to be prepared and learn about these companies before you set foot at a career fair. Look up information on company websites and their social media channels so that you have some knowledge before hand. 

Once you have demonstrated to a recruiter that you have done your homework, talk about your academic and work experiences in more detail. You should highlight your skills and make it clear about what you are interested in and why. Most recruiters don’t carry the conversation initially so you will have to play an active role in marketing yourself. Tell them what you are interested in and not what you think they want to hear. In other words, be confident and be yourself.

3. Keep in touch

When it’s time to wrap up your conversation, don’t forget to thank the recruiters for their time. If you have any final questions, ask them now. In addition, ask them how you should move forward with the application process and what the best way for you to stay in touch with them is. Some of them will refer you to their company websites if they have an online application process while others may ask for a paper copy of your resume so bring a few copies. If you have your own business card, don’t forget to hand some out.

4. Be confident

No matter what happens during your conversations, be confident. First impressions always count and it is a great thing to show that you believe in yourself and what you can achieve!

Realise the employer is not up your street? Here’s how to politely end that conversation.

By Casey Fleischmann