Job fairs - are they worth going to?

I accompanied a friend to a job fair last week. The last time I went to a job fair was over 20 years ago and I went to see if they had changed at all in 20 years. Before we went I looked at the job fair's website and it said to dress up as if you were going to an interview. We both dressed very nicely for the event.

When we got to the parking lot we had to drive around for about 10 minutes just to find a place to park. It was raining and windy so we also had to keep our hair nice for inside the event.

Inside the auditorium (it was at a community college campus) it was packed with people. There were at least 100 small tables set up and behind each one someone representing that business or help desk. There was a section set aside for interviews and places for people to fill out application forms.

After going around the entire area we both found out that there were maybe 20 job openings in the entire place. Most of the tables were for city, state or other government agencies, all of them had their budgets on hold so they were not hiring until at least May or June 2009. I finally asked one of the city workers why they were even at the job fair. Her reply was "because we already paid for the table".

One company had a line for one job opening. The line had at least 30 or more people in it and when we left the line was still growing.

I was totally disappointed at the whole ordeal. If all those companies and government agencies were not hiring they should have had at least a sign at their tables that stated "NO JOB OPENINGS", instead of letting people ask them every 2 minutes.

There were at least 6 non-profit agencies looking for volunteers for various jobs. Those places were not even getting people to stop and read their signs.

I came away from the event with a great sense of let down for my friend as well as 6 pens (from various companies) and a chip clip (from a dried fruit snack company). Are job fairs worth the trip to them? You be the judge. I can honestly say I won't be attending any more.

No comments: