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Job Fair (y Tales)

My local news station had a story about a job fair sponsored by the city this weekend.

It seems like a great proposition.

Get a bunch of great companies who need new employees together with a large number of people who are looking for work. Put them all together in one location and watch the hiring begin!

Unfortunately, it does not work that way.

Let's ask some questions.

Why go to a job fair anymore?
The internet is a job fair. There are companies hiring. There are jobs posted online on company websites, recruiter's sites and ad boards.

and so..

Why go downtown to a job fair anymore?
Why spend the gas or mass transit costs in order to stand in line for a few hours when I can stay at home and use the internet and telephone to accomplish so much more?

but before we go...

Who will be there? How about telling me before I waste my time coming downtown?
Every exhibitor listing I have seen for a job fair looks something like this:
A handful of city jobs (bus driver, trash collection, etc), trade schools, etc.


Where are the "real" jobs?

Where are those professional jobs paying a decent salary? Where are those high tech jobs? Where are those career jobs? Where are the money jobs in finance, sales, marketing, banking, and operations?

Job fair participants are never pleased with the turnout and opportunities at job fairs, yet cities and non-profit groups host them monthly hoping something will change.

Can the job fair concept be changed to make it more successful?

Probably not.

Job fairs revolve around the old concept of centralized control and distribution which the Internet has completely done away with. Centralized systems, and their advocates, like the idea of shoveling large numbers of people and opportunities to and fro with the intention that "Surely something good will come from this".

Because of massive information deconstruction and dissemination, people no longer need central authorities to supervise opportunities, meetings, encounters and networks.

What is sad are the people who have so few resources left they are encouraged to go stand in line for an opportunity to learn about a possible job which they may or may not be qualified for.

Sounds more like those pictures during the Great Depression.

Don't waste your time with random, non-focused job fairs. Hold a Me Fair instead.

Now, before the hate mail flies, let me temper this with a few working examples of how SOME job fairs do work.

- Job fairs which target a particular industry or need. For instance, a recent fair specifically for law enforcement positions both local and overseas was well exhibited and attended. The attendees were screened and had experience in a specific industry and the exhibitors knew this.

- Job fairs at college campuses for specific majors. For instance geared towards companies looking to hire entry level grads in a specific industry.

Hopefully, we can all work happily ever after.

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