The event started late, which normally wouldn’t be a huge deal. After all, they had actual food and coffee which immediately is better than most of my Job Fair/Meet Up experiences. And they had chairs! Cushy chairs. So I got to hang out and chat with one of the other women there.
But, on their event, they pressed heavily that they were starting at 7, so I left work earlier than I usually do. If I knew they were going to be late, I could have left at my regular time and still been a half hour early.
There was also an extra company there and extra Host booths, which meant there were actually 8 companies to meet with instead of 7. Which is better.
But there were two big issues with this event.
Not Enough Companies
Remember what I said last time? They said 15 – 20 conversations. There were 8 companies that all seemed to be looking for the same thing. I have no idea what that ‘thing’ was. When I asked a woman was a Network Engineer if she had any luck, all she said was, ‘UGH.’ So not networking and not application programming. Another woman said she had interest as an Android Engineer, except she’s a freelancer so they wrote her off too. I feel like if there were more companies, someone would actually be hiring for the things that we did.
Not Enough Time
There were 9 tables because the Host had one table in each line aka Host’s prerogative. Even then, the event was so overbooked that I only got halfway through the second line before the event was over. Thankfully, one of the tables was still willing to talk and felt especially relieved to not be bound by the 5-minute rule. She got to give her spiel to half a dozen people at a time, then speak to them about what they offered one-on-one. That honestly seemed like a better scenario. You answer one question in front of several people, and you don’t have to repeat it again. The recruiter at the end of the second line seemed so beaten and checked out by the experience that by the end he was just sending people to the company website and saying, ‘E-mail me your resume with the job you want, and I’ll forward it to the right hiring manager.’ That’s great and all, but that’s not what I’m here for. I’m here to find out why I should leave my job to work with you. If I wanted to throw my resume into a black hole, I’m perfectly capable of doing it myself. But he was alone and his company sponsored it so I felt like he got the short end of the stick.
My best experience happened outside of these talks. They call it networking, but considering I made few notable connections, it was more like a happy hour where a job fair broke out.* I got to hang out with female engineers and we got to bemoan our industry and the traffic and vent our frustrations. If I was smarter, I would have given my card to the ones I liked talking to the most. It’s a bit funny seeing as I’m actually garbage in Happy Hours and Office Parties where I know people. But when you’re stuck in line, you literally have nothing better to do than complain to the people around you.
Now, if you tell me it will be more like that? I would do that again. But the way it was pitched versus what we got, I might have avoided it all together.
* Paraphrase of the joke: I was watching a fight and a hockey game broke out.