Our Office Manager, Rebecca, persuaded us to attend the graduate recruitment fare being run by Huddersfield University very recently as we had opened up our recruitment needs to graduate level entrants. It was the first time I had been to a fare like this since graduating myself during the dot-com years. In those days every employer in the nation was scrabbling around to hire anyone that could spell “code”, let alone actually write some. Times have changed and it’s important for students to make efforts to find a good job relevant to their degree these days, so I decided to reflect on my feelings from the day and pass on some advice as an employer spending the day speaking to potential hires…. through the rose tinted glasses of a software company director…..
- Don’t leave attending until after you have graduated. Most employers that take the time and effort to exhibit at events are looking at continuous recruitment rather than just filling immediate vacancies. Visiting before you graduate means you can start to gain insight into what is on offer, sign up to newsletters and practice your introduction. You may also be able to make long-term contacts that will be useful later in tour career.
- Convey the right image. There’s no need to wear a suit, but look at least clean and tidy. Eat before you go – don’t walk round chomping on a sandwich.
- Have copies of your CV and offer one to any companies that you would like to work for after chatting to representative and gauging if the company is there as an integral part of the recruitment process, rather than being there to advertise their organisation’s recruitment process.
- Collect cards and contact details from the companies that interest you. Ideally get the name and contact details of the person you spoke with. Find out their role within the company, and think about what this tells you about the recruitment policy of the company. Did they send a director, a developer, or the intern from human resources?
- Above all, attend the fair with some clear aims in mind, and then – be yourself.