Do Job Fairs Hire on the Spot?
Published: Apr 9th, 2023
Are you hoping to get hired quickly at a job fair?
You walk into a job fair near where you live, or log in to a virtual job fair. You chat with a few employers who seem like a good fit. A couple of the talks feel like love at first sight. Then one of them says, “How soon can you start?”
Does that actually happen? Do job fairs hire on the spot?
A job fair, or career fair, is a large HR event featuring lots of different employers. They’re designed for employers and recruiters to offer information about their companies to potential employees. That makes them a valuable tool during your job search.
Job fairs can help you bypass the “internet black hole,” where you submit 200 resumes, apply for hundreds of positions, and then hear… crickets.
They do that by putting you face-to-face with employers who need to hire people with your talents right now.
It’s even possible to get hired on the spot at a job fair: just read on to learn how.
1. What is the best color to wear for a virtual interview?
Do job fairs hire on the spot?
Employers definitely hire on the spot at job fairs. In fact, that’s their goal. When an employer joins a job fair, they want to dodge the “pile-of-resumes-and-weeks-of-interviews” hassle. They want to dive right into hiring the best candidates. It’s an open secret that hiring managers hire dozens of applicants at every JobFairX job fair.
Even if you don’t get hired instantly at a job fair, your chances are high to move to the next step in the hiring process. That’s because talking face-to-face with an employer short-circuits the artificial “are you good at writing resumes” judgement. Employers can see and talk to you, and get a better understanding of your abilities.
Are job fairs a waste of time?
Don’t believe everything you read on Reddit. Millions of job seekers get hired every year at job fairs, either on-the-spot or shortly after. You have a higher chance of getting hired from a job fair than an online advertisement. That’s because job fairs put you front-and-center with the managers who make hiring decisions.
Put another way, a job fair is a way to jump straight to those otherwise hard-to-get interviews.
If you ask some of your peers whether job fairs hire on the spot, they may believe they don’t. In fact, they might even tell you job fairs are a waste of time. But bear in mind that friends and redditors may not have approached job fairs professionally or seriously — especially the ones who’ll talk about it.
That’s because the people who talk about job fairs online are the ones who didn’t get hired. The ones who got hired are too busy working!
What if you’re nervous about going to a career fair?
If you feel nervous about going to a job fair for the first time, you’re not alone. It’s both frightening and challenging to know what to do at a job fair or how to work a career fair. There’s a lot you can do to calm your nerves — starting with solid preparation. We’ll show you how below.
What to expect from a job fair
At a job fair, each employer has a table or a booth. At virtual job fairs, employers chat with candidates on an online platform, kind of like a Zoom call. The employer’s goal is to hire applicants. If they walk away with 3 to 10 hires, they consider the job fair a success.
Before we look into your chances of getting hired immediately at a job fair, let’s look at what happens at these events. We’ll also look at the difference between job fairs and hiring events, and other common job fair questions.
What happens at a job fair?
At a job fair, employers, students, and job seekers meet. They talk briefly and exchange information about themselves, their skill sets, and the job openings. Job fairs host multiple companies looking for new employees. Online job fairs offer a convenient alternative. They’re attractive to employers because of that added convenience.
What’s the difference between a job fair and a hiring event?
Often, the terms “job fair” and “hiring event” mean the same thing. But “hiring event” or “hiring conference” often refers to an invitation-only event. A hiring event may connect applicants with recruiters from a single company. Or it may bundle multiple companies together in a job-fair setup.
How to maximize your chances of getting hired at a job fair
Just knowing that job fairs hire on the spot won’t necessarily get you hired at one. But take heart — there are definite steps that can boost your chances. Here are five practical tips to increase your odds of getting hired at a job fair:
1. Register for the event
Always register for job fairs. When you register instead of showing up spontaneously, you’ll get useful information in advance. Employers usually receive a list of attendees, so they can use your registration details to find out more about you. That can whet their appetite and give them context to remember you by.
2. Create an elevator pitch for the interview
An elevator pitch or job pitch is a short introduction (30 seconds) explaining who you are, your skills, and why employers should be interested. Practice speaking confidently and concisely about yourself ahead of the job fair. To help, think of three short stories about times you’ve excelled at using your key work skills.
3. Bring business knowledge to the job fair
Before attending the job fair, check out the list of companies that will attend. This will give you a clue about the company booths (or online companies) to visit. Plus, by doing some research, you’ll raise your confidence level, and eliminate awkward pauses during the job fair.
4. Dress professionally
Even if jeans and a hoodie were your standard “uniform” at school, they’re not appropriate for a job fair. Even in a virtual job fair, dress professionally from top-to-bottom. (They may never see your shoes or pants, but you’ll feel more confident if you know they’re there.)
Wear business attire, i.e. a button-down shirt and business pants for men, and a shirt or blouse plus business pants or a smart skirt for women. You don’t need a full suit, though if you’re male, you should normally add a tie. Make sure everything is clean and fits you properly.
5. Bring multiple resumes to the job fair
Employers may look over your resume before an on-the-spot interview, or they may take it with them and contact you at a later date. Around 8–12 copies is about right. Before printing them, proofread carefully, and check that your resume is laid out clearly. For a virtual job fair, the employer will have a digital copy of your resume on hand.
What to expect during the hiring process
By now, you know job fairs do hire on the spot. But in many cases, a job fair will be the first step in the hiring process. When that happens, you can expect second-round interviews or other assessments before you’re offered the position.
What are the four steps of the hiring process?
This is broadly what you can expect from the interview process:
Step 1: Exploratory interviews
The first type of interview amounts to an informal chat. You’ll still want to present yourself in a professional manner. The types of conversations you have at a job fair will often fall into this category.
Step 2: Screening interviews
This second type of interview is often carried out by external recruiters. They’ll talk to you to check your qualifications, skills, and experience. At a job fair, this kind of chat may be combined with the exploratory interview.
Step 3: Preliminary interview (or first-round interview)
Once an employer decides you might be a good fit for their role, it’s time for a formal interview. This is usually called a preliminary interview or first-round interview. These can take place on Zoom, on the phone, or of course at a job fair.
Step 4: On-site interview (or second-round Interview)
If you’ve impressed the employer so far, it’s time for them to interview you in more depth. This will generally take place on-site. For entry-level roles, this kind of interview may not be needed. In that case, you’ll be hired based on your first interview.
Why is the hiring process so slow?
The hiring process can seem frustratingly slow at times. Even when you make it to the interview stage, there may be a long gap between first-round and second-round interviews.
Employers aren’t always in a hurry to fill a role. They may have lots of other priorities. Or they may need to consult several decision makers before moving forward. Try to be patient — and keep applying for more jobs in the meantime.
Going to job fairs is a great way to speed up the hiring process. You may well be hired on the spot at a job fair. Even if you don’t, you’ll have made a great personal connection with several prospective employers.
So — do job fairs hire on the spot? Can you get hired at a career fair? Yes, you can. To make it happen, follow the tips above on what to do at job fairs. You might just find the job of your dreams.