How to Be Successful at a Job Fair or Open House

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How to Be Successful at a Job Fair or Open House

Have you ever walked into a massive job fair and thought “Now what?” before aimlessly roaming around for three hours?

You’re not alone; it can be intimidating. However, the way to overcome this is by preparing beforehand and being yourself on the day. Here are four steps to follow to ensure you get the most out of the next job fair you attend:

1. Failing to plan is planning to fail

Start planning several days in advance by finding out which employers will attend; make a shortlist of the ones you really like, and research those companies thoroughly.

So, where’s the best place to do your research?

Well, it’s actually on Hosco!

You can use our network to discover thousands of hospitality companies, from 5* hotels to Michelin-starred restaurants. We offer in-depth employer profiles which allow you to get to know the corporate culture, values, and hiring practices of world-class employers like Compass, Jumeirah Group, AccorHotels, and many more. You can even watch interviews with their employees, from the CEO discussing overall strategy and vision, to department managers sharing their day-to-day responsibilities and challenges.

📱 Want to have the hospitality world at your fingertips? Download the Hosco app now and use it to help you at the job fairs!

2. Craft a crisp and eloquent elevator pitch

At large events, you won’t have much face-to-face time with potential employers, therefore, you need to make the most of it. You want them to remember your name and face, so start with a smile, handshake, and clear introduction. Then tell them something that makes you unique, for instance: a short anecdote, why you love the industry, what your service philosophy is, etc.

Finally, tell the recruiter what you admire about the company, why you'd be a perfect fit for their culture, and why your education, experience, and skills all make you an excellent candidate. Don’t be generic here: do your research on the company’s Hosco profile so you can mention something specific.

💡 Pro tip: Don’t talk to your #1 pick first—practice your elevator pitch on a few employers to build your confidence.

3. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression

Treat the fair as a pre-screening interview. Make sure you’re friendly with the company representative but don’t be too casual, as they’re imagining that this is how you’ll act if you were working for them. Just like any interview, be sure to have some questions lined up for them. You could ask about the hiring process or possible career paths, for example.

One way to avoid a bad first impression is to take breaks in between speaking to people and note down who’ve you’ve spoken to and what’s left for you to do. You don’t want to rush around the fair and appear unpresentable or unorganized to an employer.

💡 Pro tip: Don’t be disheartened if a job has been filled, removed, or the representative doesn’t know about it. Ask for contact information and follow up afterward.

4. Go out in style

As your chat comes to an end, be sure to ask for the recruiter or representative’s business card.

💡 Pro tip: If you really want to go the extra mile, you could print off and hand out your own business cards. It’ll make you stand out from every other candidate.

After the job fair or open house, make sure you send follow-up messages to thank the people you spoke to. You can use Hosco to directly reach out to these people or to the company itself. This pro-active approach can go very far in the long run.

If you’re attending an employer open house, you should also follow these four steps, but do even more research on the company. While you won’t need a map, you’ll need to know what the company dress code is, who will be there, what their titles are, and how to pronounce their names. This detailed preparation will pay off in the confidence you’ll have while speaking with potential employers.

Still nervous about the prospect of talking to so many recruiters at once? Remember that events like these are all about networking effectively. Check out these 5 networking tips and be ready to wow recruiters at the next event you attend!


🎁 Bonus: We’ve created this checklist that covers the basics to make sure that you’re 100% prepared for the big day.

Job fair and open house checklist

  • Pre-register for the fair if it's possible
  • Visit the job fair's website and download a map of the event
  • Wear smart yet comfortable clothes that are business appropriate

Unsure about what to wear? Discover the 4 levels of business attire, it even includes which socks you should wear!

  • Bring a small bag for your phone, purse/wallet, pen, paper, breath mints, etc
  • Make sure your CV is fully up to date and triple check it for typos
  • Take about 20-25 copies of your CV and store them in a folder

Want to add a unique touch to your CV? Put the name, date, and location of the job fair at the top of it. This way it’ll stand out when the recruiters sift through the CVs later on.