COOLIDGE — Along with prom and graduation, this time of year also brings career fairs to students’ busy schedules. However, the Central Arizona Valley Institute of Technology decided to disrupt the routine nature of such events by flipping the script.
In April, the vocational school hosted a “reverse job fair.” Instead of students approaching employers at their respective booths, they themselves were set up around campus and employers approached them for introductions and potential interviews. This took away the confusion of students doing this for the first time and put the onus of introduction on the more experienced interviewers.
CAVIT provided those interviewers with a book of profiles of the students they would be encountering that day, so they could figure out how to best use their time to find the right candidates for a job. They would then go to their respective industry areas and talk to those students.
There were 51 people there to talk with 147 kids, though some of those interviewers were business people simply looking to give resume and other job-seeking advice to the students.
A survey was conducted asking the employers which students they would want to hire if they had the chance, whether that student was in their industry or not. One student came away with four people saying they would hire him.
The survey also showed that 100 percent of those who came to interview the students said the event was worth their time, while 91 percent said they found at least one person they would be willing to hire.
And indeed, some of the students have already been hired by companies. A bulk of those came from the cosmetology field and are now working at hairstyle shops while they obtain their licenses. Also, two massage therapists have a job set up at salons, and two veterinary assistant students and three dental assistant students found work. Staff was particularly excited about a dental student getting picked by Banner Health.
Staff also discussed some areas of improvement for future reverse job fairs. A big concern was not having any medical assistant interviewers present, which left those students feeling left out. But the organizers also want to look at giving students more privacy, and getting alumni who do not have a job involved in the fair.
“I think it’s a great idea, especially for industry people,” said CAVIT board member Alma Farrell. “It gives them the opportunity to have so many students in a two- or three-hour span, instead of having to wait in your office for them to come in.”