So in part 1 of the pilot career fair blog I talked about how to prepare yourself before the career fair. Well, once all of the preparation is complete, you need to start thinking about what to do and what to expect once you get there.
Attending presentations is a must. There should be a schedule of presentations to be given. Typically each attending airline will give about a 30 minute presentation on their company and what they have to offer. It is basically a selling tool to get you, the applicant, interested in that company. It is not always possible to see the presentation before you talk to a recruiter. If you are at all interested in a company do your best to attend. Also, typically, the fair coordinator will give a brief presentation about upcoming fairs, state of the industry, and good tips on how to interact with recruiters.
Entering the Career Fair Room
When you go into the big room filled with airlines, take time to walk around the room and get familiar with the people that are in there. If you are at all nervous, this will give you time to become familiar with the environment and in turn be a little more comfortable.
Since you have made and prioritized your list of airlines you would like to talk to, my suggestion is to start with the company at the bottom of your list and work your way up. Be careful when doing this and make sure you leave yourself enough time to make it to the top of your list. Talking to the airlines you prioritized in reverse order will help you to get a rhythm going and become more comfortable conversing with the recruiters.
Meeting the Recruiter
Just like you, recruiters go to these fairs for a reason, to find qualified pilots to bring in for an interview. Approach a recruiter as you would any other business situation where you are meeting someone new. There is really no set way as to how you should approach a recruiter, but there are some guidelines that will just make it easier.
“As a personal preference, I like to avoid that awkward moment after a pilot introduces them-self and waits for me to ask for their resume. Before you are going to talk to the recruiter, go ahead and have your resume ready. If you personalized the resume to the company, make sure you get out the correct one. As I said before, treat it as you are just meeting someone new in a business situation and you both know what you are there for. Start by introducing your self and allow the recruiter to do the same then a standard phrase of “nice to meet you ‘Recruiter’s name'”. This will get the ball rolling and allow you to follow up with handing your resume over to the recruiter for a closer look. At this point, you can tell them that you are seeking a position with their company and ask that they look over your resume. Typically a recruiter will go through the resume looking for minimum qualifications such as flight time, education, work history, and whatever else.
You should have already done your research on the company and should know what application service they use. You should also have already filled out whatever forms needed online by that company. If that is the case, then as the recruiter looks through the resume you can mention that you have filled out an application via their service. As a recruiter, I will normally make notes on the resume of things that stand out and whether or not the person has applied through the preferred method. This helps me when I get back to the office to quickly see who is ready to be reviewed in full and called for an interview. If I have finished going through resumes of people who have already applied and you have yet to apply, there is a good chance your resume may get lost.
All in all, there is no one right way on how to approach and talk to a recruiter. The above are just guidelines to help you at least have a game plan. When all else fails, just be professional and be yourself. Answer questions a recruiter may have honestly and openly. Never purposely omit information the recruiter is asking for. It is better to explain anything on your application in person when you have the chance rather than let the recruiter make up his own mind as to why you may have issues on your application.
I hope I was able to help you with preparing and attending a job fair. If you have questions or are seeking advice about this topic please post in the comment section.