Why Am I Being Told to Apply Online at A Career Fair?

If a recruiter at a career fair accepts your resume but still asks you to apply online, relax. It’s not a brush off; in fact, it’s just the opposite. Applying online is now standard operating procedure for most companies.

###Respect the Process###

Certain steps must be taken before you can be considered for an official conversation about a position that interests you. For most positions, a candidate’s information must be placed into an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), a software application that enables the electronic handling of recruitment needs. These systems collect and sort thousands of resumes.

Once you’ve applied online you can move forward with the company’s internal hiring process. If you refuse to apply online, you remove yourself from all consideration.

###ATS Fun Facts###

Most companies utilize applicant tracking systems. Surveys have found that 98% of Fortune 500 companies use ATS. Roughly two-thirds of large companies and 35% of small organizations also rely on recruitment software. Completing an online application brings job seekers into a company’s tracking system, which is what how HR departments use to capture metrics, measure data, and comply with EEOC requirements. Some companies also use them to see if candidates pass certain assessments before they can be considered for an interview.

Some applicant tracking systems automatically compare your resume to the job description and rank it accordingly. Recruiters also filter resumes in an ATS by searching for key skills and titles. That’s why it’s important to tailor each resume so that it matches the job requirements, making sure that keywords found in the description are showcased near the top.

An employer may be hiring for several jobs at a time and could receive hundreds of resumes for any given opening. Applicant tracking systems keep all these resumes in one place, helping recruiters and hiring managers stay organized and compliant.

###Should I Bother Going to A Career Fair?###

Yes! We may be in the digital age, but personal connection still matters. Recruiters will still want to evaluate your social skills and how well you communicate. For career fair success, do your research and apply online before the event. Then when you speak with recruiters, tell them you already applied for xyz position and explain why you think you would be a good fit. Coming to a booth prepared will help you stand out.