Firdaus Tarmizi

Job Fair Rant

In Musings on November 14, 2011 at 3:24 pm
1.  I spent half day both Saturday and Sunday last week in PISA, Penang, for the 10th Penang Career and Postgraduate Expo.  B. Braun had a booth there, and it was the second time I joined a career fair as an exhibitor.  Here are some pics of some of the more interesting booths from the expo.

You'd be surprised how much they have to fork up for one of these booths.


But what I wanted to talk about is related to the people who goes to job fairs.  Although my stint as an exhibitor is so far only for two events, I have recognised the pattern, and I think I would be able to give out some basic advice to job seekers.  And since this is a rant, I would focus more on the problematic things I experienced.

2.  Firstly,  don’t simply come to me and ask ” what vacancies do you have?”.  I would always answer by “well, what are you looking for?”.  Isn’t it better to say “Hi, I am a graduate in proctology, do you have any opening for that?” (opening, ha ha), so that I know you know what you want.  Some would come and ask, “what positions do you have?”, which is a more perplexing question because although I know they meant only the open positions available, I am always tempted to answer “Positions?  We have all sorts of positions in the company, but it will be a long list.  Do you have the time to listen to me list them all?”.  In short, those question makes me think that you are just fishing for anything in the sea.  Maybe you can be specific on what you are looking for?


Part of the team - Zul, Faizal, Nazwal and meself. Yes we are all hunks in BMI hahaha

3.  Some candidates would come with their parents to the job fair.  That’s fine in itself, but some of them would have the parents  ask all the questions.  There was this one guy who  just stood there, unsmiling, behind his mom, while the lady bombarded me with this question and that.  And each time I tried to redirect my counter-questions and answers to the guy, the mom would jump in on his behalf.  I know for a fact he was not mute because as soon as they were done, they chatted straightaway while walking away to repeat the same stunt at another company’s booth.
 4.  Connected to # 3, smile-lah when you talk to me.  Isn’t that a basic thing?  You looked like you were forced to be there.  For some reason, this was usually the problem with some of the prettier girls.  Perhaps me being all smiley and polite scared them a bit?
Well, I did look a bit creepy here in this photo.


5.  Lastly, a few people came and berated me with:  “Why-lah, I have sent my applications many times already bla bla bla.  Why you don’t call me for interview?”.  I sincerely find it hard to answer that question without being patronizing, along the line of “Umm maybe because you are not shortlisted for an interview?”.

6.  Also, perhaps it’s better not to come to me and say “I want to apply for a job in your company.  Ummm, what does this company do?”.

7.  In summary, it wouldn’t hurt to do a bit of homework, and research on the company you are applying to, instead of giving your resume all willy-nilly, and hoping one would catch. The employers would take a closer look at you if you can actually impress on them that you are there to the job fair specifically to apply to their company.  Although it might be a lie, you would surely stand out from the pack.


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