Diversity job fairs are a waste of time. Oh, Did I mention diversity job fairs are a waste of time? The pre job fairs advertisement reads similar to this – “Great opportunity to meet with top employers hiring now for jobs in your area. Dozens of local area employers will be attending and are eagerly seeking to meet diverse individuals such as you. Please bring copies of your resume and dress to impress.” Ok.. that’s the rap or something similar more or less. I tell you it is sad to see lines of men and women, primarily brown and black individuals but not solely, standing in the rain, snow or blistering sun to meet “eager employers”.
Diversity Job Fairs are a fraud
I wish I could think of some positive aspect of how individuals benefit from attending diversity job fairs. I cannot. People who attend diversity job fairs are desperate for getting an insider benefit by being able to meet employers face to face. Remember the diversity job fairs advertisement said to dress to impress. The advertisement implies you will meet with a person authorized to hire.
Not! Been there – Done that
Diversity.com sponsored diversity job fairs in the late ‘90s prior to launching our website. I was unemployed a few times when I lived in Tampa. I formed Diversity.com and began offering diversity job fairs. It wasn’t long before I realized hosting diversity job fairs required lots and lots of hard work. Diversity.com ( hosting company ) had to do all recruiting of interested employers in addition to finalizing advertisements with news outlets and the facility where the event was being held. There was much praying too. Nothing worse than having employers expecting an overflow of attendees only to have the weather work against you. Oh. I can still hear the name calling and screams for refunds!
Lots of hard work but well worth the effort financially. Back then, we charged employers a variable rate based on conference table or booth size, the number of company representatives attending and, at times, a prorated fee of the total cost for providing job seekers coffee and rolls. A minimum cost to an employer with a small table and one representative in attendance was $5,500 to participate at a one and half day event. Don’t know what hosting diversity job fairs charge today but I am sure it is still lucrative otherwise you would not see so many advertised.
Those who know – know.
If you have attended an diversity job fairs you probably have memory of the following:
1: The event is usually well attended by people starry eyed with the hope of meeting some key company contacts. The company representative(s) who greet them may not actually be company employees. Some company’s send third party recruiting agencies instead. It’s cheaper than sending employees. If the person is an employee it is most likely the most recent hired HR associate who knows little about hiring requirements.
2: Company representatives are swarmed by people gripping resumes and yelling out questions such as “are you hiring warehouse staff”, “I work in IT are you hiring IT people” and “are you the person doing the hiring? The last question brings the event into focus quickly since the answer – nearly 100% – of the time is answer is no. Please apply online.
3: The job seeker who successfully speaks to the representative is typically told –“Yes, we are hiring. Please go to our website and enter an application” . At this point, the job seeker says to themselves – wait a minute .. I hired a baby sitter, brought gas for my car or subway tokens, got all dressed up in a suit. Some women spent house money going to the beauty salon the day before to insure they looked their best. All this to be told in the end – apply online.
4: If the company representative fails to tell you they are not taking resumes and you push your resume on to them it is a safe bet your resume never makes it to their office. Paper resumes have to be keyed into the company’s Applicant Tracking System which takes time and effort. Fat chance someone at the company’s HR department is responsible for that task.
5: Employers pay thousands of dollars to be present at diversity job fairs for reasons of their own. There are employers who attend looking for people to work in jobs that churn people in and out. Jobs in hospitality, retail, construction, food and beverage or other industries such as landscaping. Industries who need a constant pipeline of potential employees. Companies who sell proprietary goods such as food, vitamins, perfume and other home goods are there promoting independent sales jobs. Their are others there to sell job seekers their services such as resume writing,interview training and online job hunting.I imagine some job seekers are hired and that’s a good thing.
6:If you are someone with an undergraduate degree or graduate degree –stay home. Highly unlikely you we meet a company representative with a sincere interest in your credentials. If you do meet someone, they too are likely to ask you to apply online. There is a reason representatives are reluctant to accept resumes. One reason is having to key it in the system back at the office and another the job seeker is likely to follow up with phone calls.
7: You may have heard –“diversity job fairs are a great place to find unadvertised jobs. Don’t believe it.
8: Truly unadvertised openings are in managers’ heads. Even HR doesn’t know about them yet. So skip the places where HR clerks hang out (job fairs). Instead, go where the hiring managers and their employees go: professional conferences, trade shows, and training courses. Get ahead of your competitors rather than stand behind them.