One buzzing room, countless ambitious job seekers, and startup spirit all over the place – this was the atmosphere at the fall 2014 NYC Startup Job Fair at the IAC Headquarters in New York’s Chelsea area. The fair pairs entrepreneurs with both new graduates and experienced professionals.
Right in the middle of the event was New York International with our own booth. And what can we say? This fair exceeded our expectations by far. During the almost five hours, we had the chance to talk to many highly educated NYC talents who were eager to learn more about our company, our mission, and—of course—our current job offerings.
At events like this, it is important for applicants to stand out of the crowd in order to successfully land a job. To boost their chances in the future, and to make sure that companies also get the most out of a fair like this, we want to share our main takeaways.
Do your Homework: Find out which companies are going to participate in the fair ahead of time. Often, organizers provide this information on their website prior to the event. Choose those companies that are of interest to you and try to get an overview of what they are doing and what jobs they are offering by browsing their website and social media channels. Already knowing what the company is about before starting a conversation with the representing employees gives you an advantage over those candidates who are undoubtedly interested but not familiar with their potential future employer.
Pitch yourself: Job fairs are a give-and-take situation. Companies are happy to tell you about their team, their product, and their overall goals. But for the most part, the ball is in your court! So shine out with your personal elevator pitch. As you are prepared with knowledge of the company (“do your homework”), tell the company representative a little bit about your background and what makes you the best fit for the open position.
Ask questions: Directing specific questions about the company during your talk, is the next important advice you should keep in mind. It proves that you are truly interested in this particular company and helps the HR representatives remember your name later on.
Make a lasting impression: Thank-you e-mails are a polite and at the same time smart way to keep the company representative thinking about you when deciding whom he or she would like to invite for a job interview.
It’s the concept that counts: For companies on the other hand, it’s important not to get lost in too much branding and promotion. It might seem helpful at first to have a fancy fair booth with huge screens, raffles, candies, or giveaway branded ballpoints. But in the end, those attending the job fair are seeking a serious job. So while promotion is important, rather make sure everyone you talk to sees and feels your personal enthusiasm about the company you are working with—this will be more convincing on a personal level that your company might be the right fit for them.
Broaden your horizons: The startup scene is constantly evolving and it lives on trends. Thus, it’s important as a startup to see what the companies around you are doing. How are they developing? Which industries are prospering? An easy way to find out all this is to have a look at who is hiring at the moment. So, attending fairs such as the NYC Startup Fair will definitely help you answer those questions and know your business environment better.