Planning your visit
Before going to the fair
Several companies attending The National Fair & Training Expo have more than one office in the Greater Toronto Area. Some have offices in other provinces and / or other countries. You are invited to attend, even though our event and your place of residence are in different geographical locations. Are you open to work and live in another city, another region, another province or another country? If so, this decision will take you to experience a new life in terms of professional, personal and family considerations.
Know what you want
Evaluate what you like and what you are looking for in a job. You must know what are your most relevant skills before meeting with recruiters.
Prepare your one-minute presentation
You only have one chance to make a first impression, so you better be ready for it. Prepare a presentation – your "sales pitch" – of about one minute to introduce yourself at your best. Think about your strengths, your career goals, the company that you approach and what you want to accomplish with them. When you meet the recruiters, introduce yourself and establish judicious relations between you and the employer's needs. And do it with confidence.
Bring several copies of your resumé. Generally, recruiters require your resumé, so make sure yours is current and outstanding! If you have multiple career goals, which is not uncommon today, it is recommended to prepare different versions of your resumé depending on your goals and on the type of business that interests you. Given the volume of resumé collected by recruiters at the fair, it might be justified to use, for example, colored paper to distinguish yourself, but avoid bright colors.
By meeting with recruiters directly, the letter is not essential since entering the employer's booth is itself a clear expression of your motivation. And you can do so much by meeting them face to face than giving a cover letter.
Attach one to three recommendation letters that you consider most relevant to the resumés you distribute to the recruiters (or you can ask the recruiters if they require your recommendation letters now or later). That way, employers will have your recommendation letters from the start and may refer to them in the evaluating process of your application. References often play a key role in validating the selection of a candidate.
Bring a briefcase with you to store copies of your resumé and letters of recommendation or any pieces of your portfolio. You will probably take literature distributed on site by the exhibitors. It will also be useful to take notes from your discussions with employers. Why don't use your iPod for your notes! Just be organized.
Your image plays a greater role at The National Job Fair & Training Expo then during a regular conversation. Many people are looking for the same jobs as you and the decisions of recruiters are often taken quickly, sometimes even after a quick look at your dress, whether this is justified or not. Remember that you only have a short time to make a good impression. Your outfit should be neat and clean, but must also respect your tastes to put you at ease. Just be yourself, not someone else!
Wear comfortable shoes
The time you will spend walking and waiting in line at booths will quickly remind you that the floors of exhibition halls are made of concrete, even if we take care to lay down carpets for your compfort. So remember to wear comfortable shoes and, more important, avoid wearing new shoes.
10 recommendations once you are at the fair
Our 10 recommendations to candidates committed to maximizing the benefits of their visit at The National Job Fair & Training Expo.
Familiarize yourself with the site
Begin by walking the aisles of the fair to get a first impression, then revisit the Floor Plan you have probably reviewed before your visit. Locate exhibitors that interest you on the list of exhibitors that can be found in the copy of the Show Guide you received at the Visitor Admissin Desk before entering the Exhibit Hall. Leave room for the unexpected during your visit. An exhibitor that you would perhaps not originally selected could have something interesting to offer you. Strategic planning and good timing can make a huge difference in your visit.
Keep your eyes open and ears
Take the time to observe. By listening to the answers of the candidates before you, you can identify some specific needs of this company. Yo will be better prepared to ask the right questions and your responses will better align the criteria of the employer, thus increasing your chances of reaching the second level of the recruitment process.
There was plenty of action at the site. Stay positive at all times. While The National Job Fair & Training Expo is doing its best to serve the interests of everyone in the labor market, individuals have their own personal expectations. If things do not always go the way we would like, it is best to stay positive. A positive attitude does not guarantee your success, but it gives you a head start and if a negative attitude will lead you somewhere, it will be most likely to failure. A good attitude comprises respect for others, be ready to act and to react, keep an open mind, self control, verbal expression, acceptance, etc. When you keep it all positive, you will succeed much easier.
When entering The National Job Fair & Training Expo, leave negativity at the door. Keep smiling. Enthusiasm is in. Constructive opinions are in. Enthusiasm is ranked very well in a working environment. It is also one of the most important things an employer expect from a new employee.
Be opportunistic, show initiative
Know that you can not expect better opportunities to apply for a job because an employer can not ever be more receptive than at an event in which he participates for recruiting. Take advantage of this opportunity to meet these employers in person. Unlike sending your resumé by email, mail or fax, you will have the chance to stand out from other candidates, either through your personality, how you speak or the image you project to others. This is the place and time to show initiative. Very rarely do dream jobs come knocking on your door. So take charge and make things happen!
The event attracts many visitors. You may need to wait in line at several booths in order to meet representatives of some organizations. Remember that patience is a virtue and that virtue is popular with employers. And your colleaguestoo! in the context of the fair, your colleagues are somehow those around you in the Exhibit Hall.
Networking is important in many aspects of life, but it is particularly an important strategy in the job search process. When you wait in line, talk to other candidates. This way, you may discover other tips or find other opportunities. Who knows, you might meet someone that might change the course of your career! After all, visitors are all there for the same purpose. It is often said that the ones we know – and not necessarily what we know – makes the difference.
Request a business card
This is an old tip, but a worthwhile one. Once you have met with a recruiter and before leaving the stand, ask for a business card. If the recruiter doesn't have one, take note of the contact info.
Make contact one last time
Before leaving the stand of an employer, take time to thank the person for the time she spent with you. Ask the recruiter if you can contact him shortly after the event or tell him that you hope to get in contact with him shortly. If possible, it's a good idea to make a last (and brief) contact with organizations with whom you have developed a keen interest before you leave the event. The more the recuriters see you, the greater the chances are that they will remember you.
After the event, sending a thank-you note to recruiters is a good way to reiterate your interest for the job you seek. You can also call your recruiters of interest and ask them what is the next step. Knowing what will happen next is what you can control. This type of follow up will increase your chances to move to the next stage of the hiring process.
The air is dry in public buildings constructed of concrete. Since your visit at the fair will probably last a few hours, we recommend you drink at least a bottle of water to maintain good hydration. The fact is that dry air leads to dehydration so proper hydration is important to feel great. Bring one bottle with you (also available at the Food & Beverage Area in the Exhibit Hall).
Recruiters are watching you...
Before you even meet with recruiters exhibiting at The National Job Fair & Training Expo, take a moment for observation. There is much to learn from the body language:
- Recruiters who stand on the edge of their booth are more likely to be more approachable. In general, those who stand on the edge of their booth want more qualitative information about your background.
- Recruiters who work standing in their booth tend to be more proactive in their relationships with candidates.
- Recruiters who remain behind their counters are likely to be more quantitative and analytical on the initial approach with candidates before proceeding to the next stage of the hiring process.
- Recruiters who smile are more likely to use a conversation approach with candidates.
- Recruiters who do not smile are more likely to use a questions and answers approach. They also tend to be more structured and analytical.
- If you notice that recruiters talk to each other in their booth, ask if one is available to meet you or if they prefer you come back later.
Types of interview
It is important to understand what can be classified as the main three types of interview that may take place at The National Job Fair & Training Expo: the screening interview, the mini-interview and the full interview. You will likely want to be prepard for each type should you be invited to participate in an interview at the fair. Each type of interview provides its own technical approach and specific assessment methods.
The screening interview
This interview usually lasts two to three minutes. At this stage, the main interest of the recruiter is to get a first impression of you by observing and assessing your communicational skills and, of course, to get a copy of your resumé. It is time to introduce yourself (i.e. your one-minute presentation) and to highlight the relevant points of your resumé, those that best describe your career aspirations and best meet the needs of the employer. From there, the recruiter will decide whether to go the next step.
The sreening interview is conducted at the exhibitor's stand.
This interview usually lasts five to 10 minutes. Be prepared to provide details about your background. Here, you want to quickly establish that you are the person the employer is seeking. The recruiter usually wants more details on the information contained in your resumé. It is essential to be prepared and ready to discuss your information.
The mini-interview is usually done at the exhibitor's booth or in an adjacent and more private room provided for that purpose.
The full interview
The full interview usually lasts 20 to 30 minutes. It could last longer, but it will depend on the agenda of the employer at the fair. Tell yourself that if you get this type of interview at the fair, the employer is seriously considering your application. Your are closer to your goal to be hired, but remember that you didn't win anything yet. The employer will probably ask for more qualitative responses, so be prepared to provide complete and accurate information and to elaborate about your career plan.
The full interview is usually conducted either in a private room reserved for that purpose at the fair or in the office of the employer after the event.
Methods of interview
One on one interview
The most common form of interview at The National Job Fair & Training Expo is the one on one interview between a candidate and a recruiter. Remember to take advantage of the body language (dynamic position, firm handshake, frank and direct look, arms uncrossed, etc.), to pay attention and to maintain eye contact. After the event, you are likely to get further interviews, which may take different forms and may depend on the type of job.
In a phone interview, it is easier to find information around you and to organize your notes. The recruiter will make an impression on the tone of your voice so body language can still help you. The recruiter will feel the smile on your face and your expression through your voice. Exhibitors whose office is located outside the Greater Toronto Area are more likely to use the telephone interview. If the job relies on the use of the phone, the recruiter will most likely choose this method of interview.
Panel interview (more than one recruiter)
A candidate who gets an interview with two or more recruiters at the same time faces a different interaction that requires a lot of concentration, but tell yourself that if you are in this kind of situation, the employer is very interested in your candaidture. Recruiters are often there to see specific aspects of your skills or your professional experiences. When someone asks a question, make sure you direct your response to that person. Keeping eye contact with other recruiters is a good approach.
Multiple interviews (at different times)
Multiple interviews is a process that serves mostly to eliminate candidates through the hiring process. It is a process that can last several weeks, but tell yourself that if you move on through the process, the closer you are to get the job. Over interviews, the recruiter(s) will normally discuss various aspects of your experience or will want to know more about a specific qualification that is required for the position. The more you advance in the process, the more deeper are the interviews.
This form of interview is particularly interesting for employers whose position requires extensive or expensive travel expenses from the candidate who, ultimately, might have to relocate for the job. Manage the video interview like any other method of interview. Since the Internet and new technologies (such as Skype) made the video interview very accessible, some recruiters will likely choose the video interview even if you and the employer live in the same geographical location, particularly in the first stages of the hiring process. Don't forget to clean your home office or the room you are to use for the video interview before opening the camera on your computer!
Preparing for interview
An interview is a two-way exchange for information gathering. The recruiter is seeking information about you while you try to know if the position is the one you are seeking for. Proper preparation will allow you to express yourself well, to express your ideas clearly and to be concise and direct. The preparation requires some practice and coaching. You can get some last minute advice from interview specialists (thare are many at the fair among the organizations exhibiting in the Career Services Pavilion). The better you are prepared – which starts before your visit – the more will be your confidence and the more successful you will be in potential interviews.
- Do a self exam to identify your general skills and specific abilities. There are plenty of books on the subject in all good bookstores. You can also find relevant information on the subject on the Internet.
- Go to your local public library to find appropriate tools and resources available.
- Familiarize yourself with the job description and requirements. You must feel that the position meet your skills, experience, interests and career goals.
- Do your research. Know everything you must know about the position and the employer.
- Unless otherwise indicated by the company, contact the hiring manager or human resources consultant to learn more about the position being offered and the type of interview you should expect if your application is preselected.
- Prepare in advance your answers to questions you may be asked about your education and work experiences.
- Familiarize yourself with your answers so you can speak with precision and spontaneity during the interview.
- Practice your answers out loud before an interview, either to yourself or a family member, a friend or a colleague.
- Make sure your portfolio is updated with examples of projects you have made such as relevant reports, presentations or samples.
- Write some questions you are likely to ask the recruiter during the interview.
Questions for the interviewer
It is important to ask the right questions at the right time during an interview. Y ou have only a few minutes with the recruiter. Here are some good questions to consider asking:
- Can you identify the challenges in this position and the opportunities it provides?
- Does your company offer opportunities to develop my skills for this position?
- What are the most important qualifications and experience you are seeking from candidates to fill this position?
- Could you give me a brief description of the work environment within your company?
Interview tips and tricks
- Analyze your skills, qualities and achievements.
- Let the interviewer set the tone for the interview.
- Be brief when you answer questions.
- Do not give more details than what you are requested to.
- Be concise in describing your accomplishments and tell how they correspond to the position you are seeking.
- Be strategic in making sure that all your answers are oriented towards the needs of the position offered by the employer.
- Answer questions thoughtfully in a professional and friendly manner.
- Leave room for spontaneity and creativity.
- Ask for clarification if you do not understand a question.
- Ask your own questions.
- If necessary, ask for feedback on your answers.
- Prepare your follow up, ask what are next steps after your conversation with a recruiter.
- Take the name and telephone number of the recruiter before you leave for your follow up.
- Do not leave without a good handshake and thank the interviewer for spending time with you.
- If you deem appropriate, reconfirm your interest in the job before you leave.
Government of NewFoundland and Labrador- Public Service Commission
"We attended the fair in the fall of 2009. We had antiocipated a fair like others that we have attended and saw this as an opportunity to walk around and meet other exhibitors during slow times. To our surprise, we quickly realized this wasn't just another job fair. We were so busy that my colleague and I did not speak to each other until 3:30 p.m. In addition, we have had a position that has been opened for almost 2 years as we found no qualified applicants in our search. During the first day in attendance, we found TWO qualified applicants! We can safely term our first appearance at The National Job Fair & Training Expo a great success."
Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration - Global Experience Ontario
"Excellent coordination and organization. Daniel Levesque made sure our needs were met and always responded to our questions very effectively. We really appreciate his support."
Canadian Business College
"Fantastic! Organized with very friendly staff. Large booths make a very comfortable marketing environment... Well done! Keep up the excellent standards!"
The North West Company Ltd
"The North West Company would like to thank-you again for such a successful recruitment fair! It looks as though we have at least 75 candidates we will be contacting as a result of this event for Retail positions in Northern Canada. Our corporate HR team also brought in many resumes for IT positions. Thanks again Daniel for all of your hard work. We are looking forward to our continued relationship and more success in the fall!!!"
"I wanted to say thank you and I’m very happy RONA Ontario participated this year. Based on the over 200 resumes we received, I’m certain we’ll get some caliber candidates. I also wanted to commend you on your high level of Customer Service you have give RONA over the course of the last few months. Now understanding the magnitude of the job fair, your call back time and service is outstanding, and I look forward to having two booths next year!"
HONEY BEE MANUFACTURING (SASKATCHEWAN)
"After many years of involvement in major Trade Shows both in North America and Europe I would like to pass on a note of appreciation for the high level of organization exhibited by Daniel Levesque in the orchestration of The National Job Fair & Training Expo event in Toronto. For those of us who are exhibitors we always live under the constant pressure of our day to day business and often feel somewhat overwhelmed as we prepare for a Trade Show. It was comforting to have every step so well documented with timely reminders arriving as the event drew closer. The stress involved in preparation was greatly alleviated by the guidance provided. Thanks Daniel for the friendly, helpful and professional assistance. "
NIAGARA PENINSULA ABORIGINAL AREA MANAGEMENT BOARD (ONTARIO)
"You are one of the best Show Managers I have dealt with! This will be my first job fair at The National Job Fair and Training Expo and among all of the conferences etc. I have attended I absolutely love the informative emails. They provide us first-timers (and repeat attendees) to the National Job Fair and Training Expo with a detailed set of prepping guidelines. I'm very excited to be attending."