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Career Fair Booth Bunny

weather: cloudy
outside: 13°C
mood: okay

I was a figurative Booth Bunny yesterday for my company's booth at the Computing Careers Fair put on by the Computer Science Students' Society at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts. I was pretty excited to be attending this career fair because the CSSS Computing Careers Fair is my legacy. I was the Organizing Committee Chair of the very first one in 1996. =)

I also saw another person that was in my graduating class. He's also jobless and has gone back to UBC as a P/T Unclassified Student to do more undergrad CS courses.

I was talking at the top of my voice all farking morning. Fortunately, I was only there for the morning shift. You learn to develop a schpeil very quickly and you adapt that to every conversation.

I can't believe the number of people who actually have the audacity to ask "What's your company all about?" or "What does your company do?" at a career fair. Hullo?! You were given the information weeks ahead of time, you should have done the research. A lot of them did ask specific questions that are not mentioned on the company website, which impressed me a lot more.

One guy actually said, "Here's my resumé, but I don't know what I can do at your company". I could tell that he meant modesty and maybe a line like that works in Mainland China (where he's from, without a doubt), but that's not the kind of thing you say in North America. With hundreds of students and a line starting to form in front of me (there was only one other co-worker Booth Bunny'ing with me), I really didn't have the time to skool him on the intricacies of North American vs. Chinese culture. I would have talked to him a bit more if it weren't so busy.

Everyone was asking if we were hiring. *sigh* Alas, we are not. No one at the Career Fair really was. =P It's really really sad to see that, especially when back when I was doing the Career Fair, I personally interviewed each company and made sure they were hiring - that was one of the qualifications for participation, no one was just there for publicity and that was our trademark that made it different from every other job fair on campus and in town.

But I did encourage people to send in their resumés online. Stupid economy can't be bottomed out forever and even though the official word is that we're not hiring, if we see a good person, we'll snag'em because we want first dibs on good employees too.

But it went well. We were fed, we handed out a lot of logo things - Chocolate CDs, pens, bouncie balls, slinkies and t-shirts. It was really good experience for me to be on this side of the fence.

I'll be at the SFU Career Fair next week =D


Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
ntang
Sep. 26th, 2002 10:34 am (UTC)
Er... what? What's the point of a "job fair" where the companies aren't hiring? Isn't that more like a "waste of time fair"?

I've never heard of that before. Then again, I've never gone to a job fair either, but that's mainly just because I was never looking for a job while one was going on.
bride
Sep. 26th, 2002 11:05 am (UTC)
Re: Waste of Time Fair

Yeah, I know, I felt like a knob too. But even though we don't have fulltime positions available, we are taking Co-ops - most Universities have a cooperative work-study program (kinda like internships). And, as a company, you do want to have your name recognized in the community and among University students.
ntang
Sep. 26th, 2002 11:18 am (UTC)
Re:
Hmm, I guess. I'm not blaming you for it, it's just really weird. I think personally if I went to a job fair hungry for a job and was told you had no openings, I'd be annoyed and less likely to apply there later. Then again, fresh out of college I guess I would've lacked some of the aggressive job hunting attitudes I have now. ;)
bride
Sep. 26th, 2002 12:25 pm (UTC)
It depends... you would have a wider variety of choices because that SysAdmin work can be needed at any type of company. Banks, airports, financial consulting companies, the local telecomm company, etc. might need network admins.

But, if there aren't many companies that do what you want to do (say, Natural Language Processing), then you'd want to talk to all the good ones you can find and get your resumé noticed, whether they're hiring right at the moment or not.
soirdeparis
Sep. 26th, 2002 11:15 am (UTC)
oh modesty does not exactly work if you are trying to get a job. i mean- continually boasting does not wowrk well in your favor either- but saying "I'm not sure what I can do" is a big no. Why would you hire- or even interview- someone who seemed to be clueless as to 1) what he wanted out of thecompany and 2) what he wanted to contribute to the company.
bride
Sep. 26th, 2002 12:34 pm (UTC)
There's a difference in how the two different cultures show modesty.

Chinese (and Japanese) modesty feels very self-defeating. I do this, but only in Chinese (where that's the only way it sounds okay) and only in jest. But you translate the same sentiment into English and it sounds a heck of a lot different.

someone who seemed to be clueless as to 1) what he wanted out of thecompany and 2) what he wanted to contribute to the company.

Totally agreed. Finding a job is all about finding out what a potential employer needs and communicating to them how you are the one to fill the need. It's a business deal. And there's no room for self-defeating words in a business deal.
(Deleted comment)
xinit
Sep. 26th, 2002 12:51 pm (UTC)
It's depressing to me to see so many people studying to enter a field that's pretty much over-subscribed right now. I know so many people who are currently jobless or leaving the computing industry for good, that the future prospects don't sound very good for someone entering year one...

I suppose that so long as they're studying Real Programming (tm) as opposed to C# and VB, there will always be a market, as those individuals are the new Blue Collar worker... underpaid, over worked, and short lived.
bride
Sep. 26th, 2002 03:31 pm (UTC)
the future prospects don't sound very good for someone entering year one...

I don't think the future prospects in the computing industry are much different than any other field ... like Finance, Medicine, Law, Civil/Electrical/etc. Engineering. And just like the traditional industries, there are opportunities for truly qualified, motivated, well educated professionals in hi-tech.

Prospects don't sound very good for people who learned to make webpages from the "Learn HTML in 21 Days" book. It's unfortunate that it ever was good for those people because now, everyone thinks that's the way it should be and that any monkey ass with a certificate from an "Internet School" can get them a $60K salary to start.
bride
Sep. 26th, 2002 03:48 pm (UTC)
Re:
To me, that shows either laziness or stupidity.

Absolutely.

Even back in the heyday of having several job offers before graduation, we at Campus Recruiting always told students to research the companies they were after.
xinit
Sep. 26th, 2002 12:46 pm (UTC)
It's almost like teasing them if you're at a Career Fair and not hiring, isn't it? I mean, it's that and free office supplies. Hey, I could handle some of those logoed items for the office here....
bride
Sep. 26th, 2002 03:16 pm (UTC)
Re:
It's almost like teasing them if you're at a Career Fair and not hiring, isn't it?

Career Fairs traditionally are a publicity opportunity for companies. There was never an obligation to actually have positions open. That expectation came with the anomaly in the mid-late 90's with the huge demand for technical staff.

Back then, the employee was the one making the demands in salary/benefits/perks/etc. University undergrads were getting job offers before they graduated. And Career Fair Coordinators had the choice of filtering out companies who were not hiring and still have more potential participants than exhibition space.

A successful job applicant can't just dump his/her resumé off in a collection box, go home and have 10 voice messages waiting with interview and/or job offers. There's more work that has to go into it... just like before.
juky
Sep. 26th, 2002 05:05 pm (UTC)
Jeff? Yeah.. he mentioned seeing you there. He also mentioned how the fair sucked cuz no one was hiring.. hahaha.. but yeah, he also made a comment on the length of your hair..
piyomomo
Sep. 26th, 2002 06:20 pm (UTC)
he mentioned all that but nothing about almost running over your girlfriend on the road?
that bastard.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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