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Job Fair Tips: How to prepare for that big interview

By Kip Carlson

You usually have to go out looking for a job.

This time, the jobs are coming to you.

On Tuesday, Feb., the Student Center in Bldg. 2 will be filled with two dozen or so employers interested in hiring Chemeketa students and graduates.

Employers will be on hand from 9 a.m. until noon, looking to fill both part-time jobs and career-track positions.

Fairs such as this are a chance for you to get face-to-face with employers, make a good impression, and perhaps even secure a job on the spot.

Fairgoers who make the most of this opportunity will be the ones who prepare in the days leading up to the event: finding out what employers will be there, what their organizations do, what type of jobs they have available, and what they want in employees.

Successful fairgoers also will be ready with questions that show an interest in the employers’ organization and the jobs they may be hiring for.

Here are some tips for getting ready, and questions you may want to ask:

Think about what you want to achieve: Are you looking for a job right now, or are you just seeing what might be available if you start seeking a position in a few months?

Think about what you can learn about the employers: You may be enrolled in a program that will qualify you for a job with one of the employers when you graduate. What can you find out about them that will help when you apply for a job with them?

Think about what you have to offer: Gear your conversation toward your skills and experiences that would be useful to the employer, not what the job can do for you.

Think about what information you want to get, and why: Do you want to find out about jobs that are open now? Jobs that may be open in the future? What the employer is looking for when screening or interviewing candidates?

Think about what you will wear: Dress as though you were going to a job interview with the employers you are interested in. A good rule is to dress a half-step above what would be worn by an employee doing the job you are seeking.

Think about what you will bring: Resumes, a pen/pencil, a notepad, and business cards if you have them.

Think about what you can ask: Employers want you to be inquisitive about their organization and the jobs it offers.

Some questions you can ask:

What do I need to know about your organization’s application process?

I went online and filled out your organization’s application. Can you tell me what else I might do to help me get a foot in the door?

Are there some specific skills, work experiences, or educational background that can make me more competitive for a position in your organization?

Does your company hire continually or just at certain times of year?

How would you describe the culture at your organization?

What is the job environment likely to be?

Are there ongoing training opportunities in your organization?

What are the prospects and requirements for promotion to positions with more responsibility in your organization?

What made you choose this organization? Why did you stay?

What is the most rewarding thing about working for your organization?

Remember that the college’s Career Services staff is available year-round to help with resumes, cover letters, job applications, mock interviews, and job search strategies. Those who are looking for jobs can find available off-campus positions on Chemeketa CareerLink.

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