I was hired in 1996 to a managed care company from a job fair the company itself held one day. I managed to stay employed with that company for 8 1/2 years and had a lot of different jobs while there.
On the other hand, I participated in the interviewing at a job fair that same company had a few years after I was hired. That experience was less than positive. At least for that particular fair, so many unqualified people showed up. Of those who met the minimum requirements, many of them either had very poor interview skills (I could tell the answers were rehearsed or the applicant was way too informal with me) or were inappropriately dressed and/or unprepared for a job interview. I do not even remember if anyone was hired that day or not.
Today's job fair experience was a mixed bag. To avoid what I figured would be parking lots filled to overflowing and/or parking fees somewhere between $10 and $20, I took light rail into Los Angeles. Sadly, it took nearly 30 minutes to find an available parking spot at the rail stop closest to my home (I drove to three different "park and ride" parking lots until I found one with open parking stalls).
I spent just 15 minutes at this fair today. Here's why: While the job posting site hosting the fair had rented out a large ballroom-sized space, there were only 16 booths set up. Out of those 16, five were either job publications or universities who were trying to bring job applicants into their school -- not to hire folks as administrators or professors.
I also did not see were any employers who were either a) taking resumes at the fair or b) doing on-the-spot interviews or c) doing a) or b) in lieu of accepting resumes on their websites.
All was not lost today, though. I had to get cleaned up, shaved and dressed up (where one or more of these is usually optional most days. Ah, the joy of unemployment!). I also have a list of the employers who were at the fair today. I can now go to these companies' web site to apply for jobs.
Also, I grabbed a brochure for a group with which I stand a really good chance of employment, albeit on a temp basis and for not as much pay as I would have by staying on unemployment.
I also got out of the house for 3 1/2 hours and did a fair amount of walking while going to/from the light rail to the job fair location.
Another job fair is scheduled for February 11 and this one will be much closer to home, so it should be worth the much shorter drive. After that, I just cannot see continuing to go to job fairs if it appears to have no advantage in attending versus keeping my job search on-line.
Still more good news: instead of an IOU from the state of CA in light of their recently "cash broke" status, I did receive an actual unemployment check for the full amount in yesterday's mail.
Potential employers: My hope is that you noticed how effortlessly I found so much positive in a day that, on it's surface, did not bear much fruit. Just write a Comment about this post and I will more than happily get back in contact with you about an interview.