Hiring Events: What is your goal?

By Wanda Parker-Smith, University Recruiting Program Manager

hiring events

One way, to be successful at a job fair, is to go into the event with a goal. What is your goal? This is an important question. Is your goal for the hiring event to find a job; or is your goal to find a fulfilling career?

Employers meet a large number of potential candidates in a short period of time at hiring events. It’s easy to spot passionate people who are ready to begin their career, and it’s even easier to spot people who just want a job.

#AmtrakCareersTIP: You are not off to a good start if you begin your conversation with a company representative with the question, “what jobs do you have?” 

Recruiters are looking for candidates with a career focus. Explore career opportunities with a number of employers and focus on your qualifications and your future career goals.

Before the Career Fair:

  • Get a list of the companies that will be attending the career fair
  • Be open to looking at smaller companies – don’t focus your attention solely on well-known or large companies.
  • Identify the companies that are looking for candidates with your experience/degree. Research each company so you don’t waste your time meeting with companies that are not a good fit
  • Prepare questions to ask the employers.

Sample Questions:

  1. How many employees does your company have?
  2. How long does the hiring process take?
  3. How long have you been with the company?
  4. What percentage of applicants are eventually hired? What is the retention rate?
  5. How would you describe your organization’s culture? 
  6. Do you offer relocation?

During the Career Fair:

  • Map out your strategy. Look online to see where the company’s you are interested in are located onsite.
  • Dress appropriately, comb your hair and stand up straight!
  • Display good organizational skills. Many companies do not accept paper resumes these days but have a copy or two on hand just in case but don’t pull your resume wrinkled or folded out of your pocket or backpack. Invest in a nice professional bag or simply carry a plain folder with you.
  • Take notes and get names or business cards of the people you talk to.
  • Practice your introduction and remember your career goals. Ask your friends to help you practice your introduction before the event.
  • Make sure your handshake is firm and look the company representative in their eyes. Again, ask your friends to help you practice. No one likes a wimpy handshake!
  • Have your three or four sentences ready to go if you are asked, “Why did you visit Amtrak’s table today? Remember you are looking for a career not a just a job.
  • When you meet with the recruiter, spend your time wisely. Explain what you can do for Amtrak. Be concise and thorough explaining you feel you are qualified using real examples but don’t talk too much! Don’t rehash how long you’ve been out of work, how many resumes you’ve sent out and the number of interviews you’ve been on.
  • Follow instructions –if Amtrak is not taking resumes or conducting interviews on site, make sure you visit their website and apply online.
  • Take advantage of networking opportunities at the hiring events if available.

After the Career Fair:

  • Follow-up with the recruiter (via email, letter or phone call) to thank the recruiter for meeting with you.
  • Identify the hiring event where you met the recruiter and mention something to make the recruiter remember you (i.e., NJIT Spring Job Fair)
  • Express your interest in working for Amtrak and find out what are the next steps in the interviewing process (i.e., a face-to-face interview)

Hopefully, these tips have helped. Hiring events are great opportunities for you to visit with our team and to ask specific questions about our company. But don’t worry if you do not see a hiring event in your area, you can always search for and apply for your next career opportunity online at jobs.Amtrak.com.