If you’ve just moved to a new city, or are looking for a new challenge, you might be thinking about attending a job fair. You have probably also noticed it’s very difficult to get past the ‘CV screen’ stage when applying for jobs, and job fairs can be a great way to personally meet the recruitment team, and stand out amongst hundreds of applicants.

But standing out might not be as easy as you think. As a recruiter myself, I have attended countless job fairs and it can be difficult to know who standout candidates are when speaking to hundreds of people. So how do you make yourself that superstar candidate? Here are a few key things that you can do before, during and after a job fair to make sure that you are remembered and (hopefully!) hired:

 

Before

Preparation, preparation, preparation!

Before attending the job fair, you need to do research on which companies will also be attending, what their current vacancies are, and what their company culture is. Every job fair event will send out a list of companies who will be attending – try to take advantage of this and do your homework. At Booking.com, we love to talk to candidates who come in knowing what we’re about, and have a specific job goal in mind.

Key items to research and prepare:

1. Company culture
2. Current vacancies
3. Any recent press coverage/media releases (we’ll talk more about this later)
4. Your CV (bring multiple copies)

Important: Recruiters interpret preparation as motivation. The more you know about the company and role, the more convinced we are that you’re the right match for us.

 

During

Be prepared to share (the right stuff).

Meeting a company at a job fair is all about exchanging information and seeing if there is a mutual match. So, you’ll want to share the right kind of information – so that the team is interested in you – and ask the right questions, so you get the right information back (because, after all, the company needs to be a match for you too.)

What you need to make clear to the team:

1. Why you want to work for their company in particular (tip: one of the main reasons we reject candidates in the initial stages of interviews is lack of motivation)
2. Why you want this role (or at least department) in particular
3. That you have done your research

Here are some examples of what this looks like in real terms:

Unprepared candidate: “What are you hiring for right now?”
Superstar candidate: “I see you’re growing your Dutch Account Manager team, and I would love to apply; who can I talk to about this?”

Unprepared candidate: “What is your company culture like?”
Superstar candidate: “I love your open and international environment, can you tell me more about what your experience has been like working at Booking.com?”

Unprepared candidate: “What are the future goals of Booking.com?”
Superstar candidate: “I recently read an article that said Booking.com is planning on doubling the accommodations on your site – how are you planning to do this?”

Basically, to be a superstar, you need to be motivated, thorough and prepared.

But remember, this is an information exchange – your ultimate goal at a job fair is to receive the contact details of the actual recruiter in charge of the job/department you are interested in. You should also keep the contact details of anyone you spoke to at the fair. This is your way in, your foot in-the-door to directly communicating with the company you want to work for.

 

After

Just because the job fair is over, doesn’t mean your work is done!

The next 3 steps:

1. If you haven’t already, apply for the job you want online. We know sometimes it feels like you’re sending your CV into a black hole, but this is very important so that the recruitment team has all of your details and can follow up

2. Send a ‘thank you’ and follow up email to the team you met, and any relevant recruitment team

3. Remember: you should have received all relevant contact details at the fair, so make sure you follow up in a friendly and professional way, and reiterate your interest in the company, and the position you’re after

4. Connect on LinkedIn! Any additional connections you can make with the team to show your interest are going to be a good idea

 

So there you have it. Try to incorporate as many of these tips as you can next time you visit a job fair (especially if we’re there) and hopefully we’ll see you in one of our 204 Booking.com offices soon!

To see some of our upcoming job fairs, click here