The Importance of Creating the Right Conversation
Earlier this month, Florida State University held its annual career fair– Seminole Futures. Seminole Futures is open to all FSU students in search of full-time jobs or internships, or who are looking to network and improve their professional skills. This year, over 100 companies participated in search of potential employees or interns.
Overall, the event was executed successfully and provided valuable information. I learned about different positions companies were looking to fill, how every company has its own culture, and (if nothing else) that there is hope for me finding a job post-graduation! But one of the most critical things I took away from the career fair was the importance of successfully engaging with customers, and what can happen when a business fails to do so. Unfortunately, I learned this by speaking with a few recruiters who were less than skilled at speaking to their customers (the students) and appealing to their interests.
Most of the recruiters I spoke to were happy to start a conversation; they wanted to know about me as much as I wanted to know about them. They were great. However, there were also a few not so great ones. Ultimately, the way the employers spoke with students either piqued my interest in their company or made me move on to the next booth.
A major deal-breaker for me was speaking with recruiters who “interacted” with students by completely monopolizing the conversation. Instead of taking the time to introduce themselves, they’d gather about five students into a group, spend 20 minutes telling stories about their personal experiences with the company and then send us on our way.
At a job fair, employers are essentially selling their company, and even if they aren’t interested in hiring a particular student, they should strive to portray their company in the best light to get a more elite group of applicants. It seemed like these recruiters were not experienced in talking with students so instead, they spoke at them.
I understand there isn’t a blueprint or script when it comes to speaking with students at a career fair. There are many different ways a recruiter can interact based on their personal style of communicating – but a sheer lack of interest in the students you’re speaking with not only defeats the purpose of your presence at the event, but presents a negative representation of your company.
While the importance of being able to successfully communicate would seem like an obvious and inherent skill for a recruiter to have, attending this career fair taught me that it is absolutely not. And it reminded me what can happen when a business fails to engage with its customers. In any business, asking meaningful questions and being an active listener is a critical part of building customer relationships. Whether you’re communicating face-to-face, on the phone or through blog and social media posts – it is critical that you create the right conversation. If not, you just might find your customers walking to the next booth.
How do you create the right conversation with your customers? Let us know in the comments below!
Jennifer Herman is a Content Marketing Intern at Fiore Communications. You can connect with her and see what she’s up to by following her on Twitter.