The held Friday at drew a heft crowd that was invited to participate in the three-part program designed to land the job.
Organized by, and Debbie Smetana, director of human resources for the village, took their job seriously when it came to running a successful job fair. From 10 a.m.-2 p.m., job seekers streamed through doors to participate in the three-pronged features of the job fair:
- On-site interviews with 20-plus companies and organizations looking to hire
- One-on-one resume review sessions with human resources professionals
- Five breakout sessions to shed light on everything from hot jobs to interview skills.
Michele Jakubowski, executive coach at Kensington International, an Oak Brook-based talent management corporation, shared the secret of interview preparedness. First and foremost, she told a group of about 20 attendees to keep in mind that the interview is a two-way conversation between equals. It's a chance to get to know each other.
Think of it as a sales call.
Think of it, she said, as a sales call. "To effectively sell, you need to know your product which in this case is you."The guru of professional human resources best practices, Jakubowski advised the group to research the organization. Know what's currently happing in the industry.
First impressions count.
While she provided hints such as bringing extra resumes, a list of references and dressing conservatively, she mentioned the importance of appearing poised and confident. Using a PowerPoint presentation, Jakubowski explained that "first impressions count and are hard to turn around once they are made."
Tone of voice and body language convey meaning.
Genuine enthusiasm is easy to spot when the body language and tone of voice collaborate to send a positive, non-verbal vibe, she added. A few basic tips that are particularly relevant call for demonstrating that "you are most capable for the job," addressing the needs of the interviewer and appearing modestly confident.
Use pertinent action words.
She suggests the use of action words such as, "I championed" the sales project. Jakubowski stressed that it's improper to bring up salary or benefits at the first interview, but she highlight the need to actually "ask for the job."
The interviewer wants to get to know you.
The interviewer, she said, has a set agenda that's intended to assess the applicant's competence, likability, leadership skills and more. That's gleaned through a variety of ways, including personality insights that invite an applicant to tell a story about career accomplishments. An interviewer would naturally follow with these questions: "Why did you leave your last position? What are your strengths?" Resources are many when it comes to interview techniques and basic questions, she added. A word to the wise for job candidates is making sure that "you have stories to tell" that demonstrate "your strengths."
Never ask about salary or benefits.
However, Jakubowski offered insider tips on negotiating salary. Her advice: "Don't ask about salary. Let them bring it up." Make sure to research the salary range for the position in order to respond appropriately. Another response to an interviewer's question about salary is "to answer the question with a question. What's the salary range?"
As for how to follow-up with the interview, always send a thank you note. "It's your choice" whether the thank you note is sent as an email or a personal note. It's not a bad idea to send both formats she said. "If you haven't heard anything for two weeks, her advice is to call.
What do I ask in a follow-up call?
"I just want to check on the status of the position and let you know how excited I am at the opportunity. I look forward to the next step in the process."
Other job coach sessions at the ShareFest Job Fair included tips from Layton Cooper, of, who talked about job searching on the Internet and more; Paula Mulder, of ., who talked about careers in healthcare; Laura Price, of Three Rivers Manufacturing, who addressed careers in manufacturing, and Mary Gajcak, of the Work Force Investment Group of Will County, who shed light on ways to get the most out of a job fair.
One-on-One Resume Reviews
Human resources professionals, including Mary Dyer, of , Kate Hall, executive director of , and Debbie Smetana, HR director for the village, volunteered their services. All total, 50 reviews were completed.
Smetana said she is committed to following up with individuals that she talked to. "I told them to send me their resume after they made the changes. Then I can look them over," she added.
Next year, "we want to have more volunteers for resume reviews."
Participant reaction was positive.
For one Joliet resident, the companies represented had jobs that she was interested in. And Robert Fleming, of Chicago Ridge, gave the event high marks. "It was excellent. All the speakers were well-versed in their topic, and they demonstrated a sense of caring."