Career Fair Questions Recruiters Hate
Headed to a hiring event? Keep this in mind: as you talk with recruiters, not only are they discussing opportunities, they are also evaluating your listening skills and social skills. Asking smart, thoughtful questions will establish you as a serious candidate who is ready to contribute to their organization.
One question recruiters NEVER want to hear at a career fair is: “What have you got for me?” Your job is to convince a recruiter of the value you can bring to an organization with your training, leadership, and intangible skills.
“In the military, we are taught what we bring to the fight,” said one aerospace recruiter. “Tell me what you bring to the bottom line. I want to know how your strengths can make my company stronger. Also, try to tell me how you can use your background and bring a fresh set of eyes to my company.”
The “Don’t” List
“What does your company do?”
Instead: Show that you’ve done some homework by saying, “Your careers page says you’re looking for a warehouse supervisor. Can you tell me about that position?”
“I don’t know anything about you, but I need a job as a mechanic.”
Instead: Explain your background and ask if there are any openings for your skill set.
“I don’t really know what I want to do. I’m pretty open to anything.” This kind of question indicates that you have not given any thought to your post-military career.
Instead: Find a way to weave in your leadership experience. You may not have the direct skills required for a position, but those can be taught. Companies are craving leaders at all levels and are willing to mold them.
In addition, a career fair is not the time for a job seeker to initiate a conversation about pay, benefits or vacation time.
The “Do” List
"What skills do you look for most in a candidate for X position? What is a typical day like?”
"Why do you like working for XYZ company?"
“What is the best part of your job?”
“Can you tell me a little bit about the culture at XYZ Company? What are its core values?”
“What can you tell me about the application and interview process?”
"May I contact you with further questions? Do you have a business card?"
Before you make your approach, it’s best to have a few talking points in mind. If you’re coming up short, think about these questions to get your wheels turning:
• Did you train anyone?
• Did you lead or manage anyone?
• Did you oversee processes, equipment, inventory?
Before you attend a career fair, remember that recruitment and onboarding is expensive. Preparation will help you go the extra mile in demonstrating what makes you a valuable hire.
By Chris Newsome