Job Fairs Benefit Recruiters and Candidates

Job fairs also serve to promote dealer brands (single stores and dealer groups) within the community, and to nurture relationships with post-secondary schools.

By Susan Gubasta

New car dealerships utilize many online resources to recruit workers for their businesses.

One of the most popular ‘offline’ resources is job fairs.

Job fairs are a reliable resource for dealers looking to recruit for a range of positions, from sales, service and marketing to accounting, administration and human resources.

There are many advantage of attending job fairs, for dealers and for job seekers. For one, face-to-face contact between a recruiter and a candidate conveys information that is not always apparent from a resume or an online profile.

These attributes – commonly known as soft skills – include how candidates conduct themselves in public, how they dress, and how they interact with others. I know from my own experiences in hiring that candidates often appear much differently in person than they do on paper.

This observation works both ways. Sometimes a candidate’s resume will be less than impressive, but in person, he/she demonstrates a great aptitude for learning and a winning attitude. The old adage, ‘Hire to attitude, train for skills’ rings true at my dealership.

Conversely, another candidate’s resume may be exemplary, but in person, he/she may demonstrate an inability to interact with others, appear unmotivated or suffer from low self-esteem.

Some job fairs have gained popularity from regular dealer attendance. For example, four years ago, the Conestoga College Motive Power Job Fair (Guelph Campus) attracted few dealers, but today over 40 dealers attend the show and are benefitting from those experiences.

Job fairs have proven to be an invaluable resource for participating dealers. They allow human resource reps to connect with candidates and to evaluate quickly whether someone is a viable candidate for their organization.

Job fairs also serve to promote dealer brands (single stores and dealer groups) within the community, and to nurture relationships with post-secondary schools.

Job fairs offers dealers an opportunity to show that they are equal opportunity employers, too. Since more women are entering the retail automobile industry, some job fairs (i.e., Jill of all Trades at Conestoga College) have focused on introducing women to the trades and engineering careers.

On the student side, job fairs can be a revelation. Students are often unaware of the wide range of career opportunities that are available in the retail auto industry, and when they find out about them, they are interested and want to learn more.

When our human resource staff attend job fairs, they frequently meet students who have never considered a career in the retail automotive sector.

Many dealerships across Ontario (including my Toyota store) can cite examples of attending job fairs and recruiting talented, ambitious young students. Once these students land a job at a dealership, they work in their chosen profession, and they learn about other auto-related disciplines that may be of interest down the road.

Some Job fairs have even become tech-savvy. I know of post-secondary schools that have introduced mobile apps that feature floor plans, participating employers and other information so students can plan their visit.

There are even virtual job fairs, where students interact with participating businesses using text and chat features. Virtual job fairs are a novelty, but they illustrate how creative schools have become in trying to appeal to Millennials.

Each fall, the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association attends most of the job fairs hosted by post-secondary schools in Ontario that offer automotive courses.

If you are interested in attending a job fair that represents the retail automobile industry, many of these events can be found across the province this fall.

Attending a job fair just might open your eyes to career possibilities that you never imagined, in an industry that is dynamic and progressive.

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