Things are changing, and they are changing fast. Practices that were common place for hundreds of years have recently been almost completely wiped out by new technologies. When was the last time you sent a paper letter to a friend? I know I haven’t sent one in years. Email is way too effective and convenient for me to even consider using paper mail. I can send it from wherever I am, whenever I want and get an instant confirmation that my mail has been received. When was the last time you used a paper phonebook to look up a telephone number? Personally, I can’t even remember that long ago.
I have noticed a theme amongst my fellow generation y-ers. We want to be able to do what we want, when we want, where we want. Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and all of the super popular social networking sites have that in common. They can be accessed anytime, anywhere by anyone. So it seems rather silly to me that companies use career fairs to reach this group when trying to hire them. The thought process must have been something like this: (This isn’t meant to offend anyone, its just meant to shed light on some of the major problems associated with the approach some companies are taking to campus recruiting)
Employee #1 says: “Gen Y students and new grads are early adapters of online networking. They prefer to be able to access content at any place, time or location. They are extremely busy with studies in their final year of school.”
Employee #2 says: “OK, now that we know that let’s do the exact opposite when trying to reach them. Let’s create a career fair at a fixed time and location and hopefully they will come.
Employee #3 says: “Great idea, let’s spend thousands of dollars doing it all over the country”
Some students definitely still go to career fairs, and they will continue to do so. It is a minority, so already we have eliminated a substantial portion of students who would have potentially liked to work for you. Most students probably were too busy, didn’t know about it, were too lazy, couldn’t get there, etc. Of the students who do go, a smaller percentage will actually visit your booth. An even smaller percentage will be interested enough to apply. And an even smaller percentage will actually be qualified. So at the end of the day, you may have spent a substantial amount of time and money to reach an extremely limited pool of potential employees, in one geographic location. Oy.
The solution to this problem seems a little too simple…create an online space where students go to find out about employment opportunities, career advice, and really everything a career fair can provide and more. If they want to find out more about what it’s like to work for Kraft or Molson at 3 a.m. then let them. If they want to apply for their first meaningful role while they are stuck in traffic, why shouldn’t they. That’s what we have been trying to accomplish with TalentEgg. Before we came along, there wasn’t a place that was the place for students and new grads. There wasn’t an easy way to find your first job as a new graduate. We thought there should be and now there is.
December 3, 2009 at 3:33 pm
An alternative to traditional career fairs is the recent development of Virtual Career Fairs – where career seekers and employers can connect through an online portal. MiHR, the national sector council for the Canadian Mining Industry is launching the first Virtual Career Fair geared at connecting recent graduates and students with the Canadian mining industry in early 2010. Check out the link for information on how to register.