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5 things not to do at a job fair

(At least if you want a job with Wildbit.)

In the 15 years Wildbit has been in existence, we have never participated in a job fair. Yesterday that changed. As the Philly team grows we really see the value in getting involved in the rapidly growing Philly tech community. So naturally when we were approached by Philly to participate in their annual Net/Work job fair this year, we went for it.

A little known fact, Wildbit is always hiring. That’s right, always! We pride ourselves on our company culture, and finding the right fit isn’t always easy, that’s why we are always ready to hire the right person at any time. But it just so happens that we really are on the lookout for two specific positions: a Quality Assurance Engineer and someone to join our Customer Success team. You can read more about these positions on the jobs page.

Overall the experience was great, Philly put on a well executed event, and we are looking forward to participating in their upcoming Philly Tech Week in April. There were some cringe worthy moments for sure, which is why I’m going to tell you the top 5 things not to do at a Job Fair.

1. Don’t make me pitch you

My entire day yesterday consisted of 45-second elevator pitches, one after the other to people who were supposedly interested in a position at my company, but had no idea who we were or what we did. Philly did a wonderful job of promoting this event. They had the names of all the participating companies listed well before the event, leaving job seekers ample time to research the companies participating.

The people that impressed me the most were the ones who took time to research Wildbit, our products, and the positions we had open. They confidently approached, told me about their skills and experience, that they liked specific things about our company or products and why they would be a good fit, even if the position they were looking for wasn’t open. It was impressive, and memorable.

2. Don’t bring resumes

I know this may sound totally crazy, but it’s true. Don’t bring resumes. If you follow my advice from above, then a resume is not necessary. You would already know that the company you are interested in would be a perfect fit for you, because you researched them. Now is your time to ask detailed questions and tell me why you are passionate about Wildbit, and why you think we would be a good fit. Not to mention in the tech world, at least at Wildbit, we avoid paper at all costs. We are a digital company and expect our employees to be as well. Just remember to follow-up: apply online, send out an email, or both.

If you still have to bring resumes, just don’t hand them out like candy.

3. Don’t zone out while I’m talking

Several times yesterday, people stopped at our booth, asked me a question, and immediately zoned out as soon as I started talking. This is just rude and uncool. If you're not interested in our company there is no need for you to stop at our booth. I’m not saying that to be mean or harsh, but your time is valuable, as is mine. You should be focusing your attention on the companies that you want to work for the most; there is no need to waste time with small talk. And if I start talking and you just realize we aren’t a good fit, wait till I finish my answer to the question you asked, say thank you for your time and walk away.

4. Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself, and what skills you have

We made it through the elevator pitch of my company, but now I 'd love to hear about you. What experience do you have that specifically qualifies you for the company I just finished describing. If you were really interested you would be prepared to give me a long list of your skills and former experience that makes you the perfect candidate. I'm not talking about regurgitating your resume bullets and buzz words, but rather a real conversation, because not only do I want to hear about your experience, I want to get to know the real you, not your resume version. Please don’t just hand me your resume and ask me to look it over and tell you if I have any positions that match your qualifications (this actually happened a few times). To me this is a huge no, no!

5. Don’t be the guy that rolled out of bed

In the developer world, and at Wildbit, a t-shirt and jeans is the standard work uniform, so for me that is perfectly acceptable to wear to a tech job fair. You should dress for the job you want. BUT that doesn’t mean you can roll out of bed. Hygiene is of the upmost importance. We are in a tight, stuffy space for hours on end. We talk to countless people in close proximity and being the smelly person, no matter how great your skills are, probably won’t get you an interview. The takeaway here it to respect yourself, and your appearance, just like you would your job.

In all seriousness we met some really great people, both job seekers and Philly community members. As our first job fair I would say it was a success. Ilya and JP kept the mood light with tons of jokes and laughs, and the free beer happy hour was a nice bonus. The one DO I’d like to give is this: If you are passionate about working for a specific company, start building a relationship with them, research the team, products, and company. If we don’t have a specific position open or posted, send us an email anyway. Tell us why you are passionate about our products or company, and what you think you can bring to the table, and of course include your resume.


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