Career Blog > Questions to Ask at a Career Fair and How to Prepare for One

Updated : 03/29/2022

If you are a serious job hunter, then you are already preparing to attend all of the job fairs that are coming up in your area. Here’s a rule to use when determining which events to attend: go to every job fair that is within the radius you are willing to take on as your work commute. The way you prepare for professional events can help you make the most of your career fair experience and determine whether or not you land interviews when the fairs are over. This career fair advice will help you maximize your presence at each event and land the job you want.

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11 Questions to Ask at a Career Fair

Here are some questions you could ask at your next career fair:

1. Can you provide me with additional information about this job role?

Before you attend the job fair, take a good look at the companies who will be represented at the event. Make a list of the companies that fit your intended industry. Do some research to see what roles they are trying to fill and determine whether they meet your needs. This allows you to devote time with specific recruiters and ask questions about the role and possibly learn more than what is said in the official job description. This is not a time to be shy. Instead show your communication skills by keeping the conversation going and indicating whether you are seriously interested in working for this company and want to proceed with an application.

2. Can you describe a typical day in this role?

By asking this question, you are showing the recruiter that you have already done your homework and you know that this company is right for you. You are not just asking a random question. You want to know what a typical day would be like. Will you be faced with tight deadlines and overwhelming daily overtime? Will you be expected to travel on business regularly? It’s better you know ahead of time whether you have what it takes to face each workday.

3. Would I be faced with any challenges in this job role?

Sometimes, a new hire is expected to join a team that is currently faced with an overwhelming amount of work and not enough employees. Or, perhaps the company is in the process of updating programs and equipment. Either way, as a potential employee, you have every right to know what you are getting yourself into by applying for the position. It also gives you the opportunity to show that you are not afraid of hard work and welcome the challenges. You can also discuss your list of skills that will be an asset to these challenges and the company as well.

4. Who would I be reporting to at your company?

If you find yourself in a valuable conversation with a recruiter that is progressing towards an offer for a job interview, you may ask about the team or manager that you’d be reporting to. This will reinforce whether you feel like you’d be an asset to the team. If you are not comfortable with this question, you can hold off and ask during the official interview. This question is better suited for a small company since the recruiter would know more about the team that is hiring.

5. What types of skills does your company value most in their employees?

This is a great question that can lead to a successful conversation with a recruiter. The recruiter would mention a list of skills and when done speaking, you can interject with how you attain those specific skills. Obviously, you would not be asking a random company but instead a company that you researched prior to the job fair. You would already know that your specific skills match with a job position available at the company. Remember to give specific examples from your career or education to show that you genuinely possess those skills

6. What types of training does your company offer?

If you are looking for an entry level position, it’s important to you to find company that will offer you special training. This could be on-the-job training, attending seminars or offering educational courses. Asking a recruiter at a job fair shows that you are willing to make a long term job commitment and take advantage of all training opportunities. Should the answer not be to your satisfaction, you would know instantly that this is not the right company for you to begin your career.

7. Will this job offer me growth opportunities?

Whether you are just starting out in your career or you have been working for a while, you should be interested in a company that offers growth opportunities. No one wants to get hired with a company that does not promote from within. Confirm with the recruiter that the job role you’ve applied for, will offer you growth at some point. In some industries, job titles typically progress from a junior role to a senior role and onto management roles. If you are not in an industry with defined progression of titles, you have every right to ask a potential employer about your career growth.

8. Can you tell me about the company culture?

Every company has a culture that is unique. Sometimes a culture is industry based but oftentimes, it’s a result of management’s direction. It is a perfectly acceptable question to ask a job recruiter because culture plays a big part in your happiness and success with a company’s environment. Business culture can include the dress code, company hours, remote positions and more.

9. What is your favorite part of working for the company?

Part of being successful at a job fair is more than just you selling your accomplishments to land a job interview. It is also important to show your people skills by asking good questions and being a good listener. By asking this question, a recruiter will be more than happy to share their employee story with their company. The recruiter’s response may tell you more about the company than you can read about on their website. If you like what you are hearing, be sure the recruiter sees your enthusiasm for the company she is representing at the job fair.

10. How long is a typical hiring process?

Obviously, this would not be the first question you ask a recruiter at a job fair. It’s the question you ask when you have had a lengthy conversation and you know this company and a job role is right for you. Every company has a different hiring process. By knowing what is a reasonable hiring timeline, you can continue to seek other job roles at other companies. This also alleviates job seeker stress when you have no idea how long it will take during the interview stage.

11. How can I stay in touch after the job fair?

During the job fair, you will strike up a conversation with a recruiter that says the optimistic things you want to hear. As the conversation progresses, you get more excited at the possibility of working for that company. Before you walk away from the recruiter’s table, you want to be sure that you ask how to follow up. The easiest way to remember the recruiter’s name and get their contact information, is to ask for a business card. Keeping in touch with the recruiter is critical to the progression after applying for a job with this company, landing an interview and being offered a position. It’s also great to follow up with a recruiter if there are no open positions currently because you may see an open role in the future.

How to Prepare for a Career Fair

Have Professional Attire Ready

The majority of job fairs happen between March and September and they can often be scheduled back-to-back. You may even have to find a way to attend one or more job fairs on the same day. That means that you need to have professional attire ready for each event.

Do not rely on the same attire for each event — you can never be sure if your professional attire will be cleaned and pressed in time to go to back-to-back events. You should also bring extra clothing items with you on the days that you are going to more than one job fair just in case you need a change of clothing.

Research the Companies and What They Are Hiring For

Some job fairs will publish a list of companies that will be at the fair and some companies will not. If you can find out which companies will be at the job fairs, then research the companies to see what positions they are hiring for. This will give you the advanced information you need to prepare your resumes and cover letters, which in itself can be great career fair advice because it helps you determine what each employer wants and who to talk to first.

Have Customized Resumes and Cover Letters for Each Employer

Use the resources at ResumeHelp to create a professional resume that will appeal to any hiring manager. Additionally, customize your resume package for the employers who will be at the career event. If in your research you find that one of the companies is looking for a person with your specialty, then put together a resume and cover letter package that highlights that specialty. The more you can personalize your job fair information, the more attention your information will get.

Write and Practice Your Elevator Speech

In the business world, an elevator speech is a two or three-sentence introduction that is intended to raise interest in your qualifications. When you go to a job fair, your elevator speech is what you will say to the company representatives when they ask about your qualifications. Your elevator speech needs to include the most impressive information about you that you can offer and it needs to get to the point right away.

This career fair advice can go a long way toward helping you make the most of each event you attend so that you have a better chance of connecting with the right employer and landing the job you want. Always prepare for each career fair experience and be ready to impress the hiring managers there. If you do, you will be able to go to the career fairs with confidence and get the opportunities that you deserve.

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