My last week was BUSY and this time, I really mean it! One of the biggest highlights was being able to participate in a College and Career fair, hosted by one of our local colleges for high school juniors and seniors. This event allows over 10 schools in our area to come and talk to college recruiters from universities all over the southeast and also local companies.
My company is a locally owned franchise of a major food corporation, but even we are having issues with hiring in a town surrounded by technology. So I had a conversation with the supervisors, called on a few managers, and got prepared to speak with supposedly 6,000 students in our local area, and tell them how joining our team would be one of their best life decisions.
The purpose of this fair was not only to introduce students to local colleges or careers but also help students improve their soft skills. They were given questions to ask us, like “How did our career path lead to our current position” or “What was your college major? Did you learn information that you use in your daily work?” Out of this big number of students, only 2 of the actually engaged in this type of conversation, most of them wanted free stuff and that’s ok too. This gave us the opportunity to bring students in and help them with those soft skills. I instructed my managers to go out, get from behind the table, and talk to the students. At some point, we were these students, unsure of our next decision. We had to put ourselves in their current shoes and I believe that also helped my managers become better with the students they already have in their store. Instead of just standing and waiting, we approached groups of students, passed out brochures with our information, gave them reasons to be interested in the fact that all of our positions don’t just deal with one area of the company. Because we are local, they can see that our company owners are all in the area, our franchisee started in one of the store positions and moved his way up to owning his first location and then 18/19 more, the human resource department is in the area, the accounting team, marketing, all of these parts of a company that may seem far away to some people, are here in their hometown, and accessible to them.
These events are so helpful to students who have no idea what their next steps are. Some will venture off to college in a few months, yes, but what about those students that don’t want to attend college or unfortunately don’t have the money to do so yet. We are offering them information that teaches them real world professions now at a young age. For my company, we are usually the first job that teenagers have, and being able to teach them those soft skills is one of the best parts of the job for the managers.
College and career fairs are so important to students, it’s not only a get out of school day, it helps them make decisions about where they want to be in the next 5-10 years. We always ask candidates this question in interviews, now, we’re giving them the tools to answer it.
Although Day 1 was a dozy, Day 2 left me in bed by 7 pm, that post is coming tomorrow.
Until Next time …