How to Prepare Questions for the Winter Career Fair, With Examples

Tips for developing questions that will help you learn more about employers.

Guidance Provided By: The Handshake Team

Attending DePaul’s upcoming virtual Winter Career Fair (Feb 24) on Handshake will help you get an internship or job as employers focus on hiring students virtually. Virtual career fairs sessions are a great opportunity for you to connect with and learn more about the organizations hiring DePaul students. But how can you stand out to employers and make a great impression? One way is by showing up prepared and having thoughtful questions to ask. Here are some tips for prepping questions, and some examples to help get you started.

Learn about the employer

The first step is to do some research on the employer. Start by reading through their Handshake page, where you’ll get an overview of the organization, see student reviews, and check out the open jobs and internships. Then go through their company website and do an online search for recent news articles, press releases and other relevant information. 

Spending some time before the session to learn more will pay off because it shows the employer your interest in their organization and in getting a job. It’ll also keep you from asking something that is easily found on their Handshake page or website. If you go the extra mile and demonstrate that you’re informed, the employer ambassador will definitely be impressed!

Create a list of questions

Now that you have more information, you can start writing your list of questions. Take time to think about what interests you the most about this employer. What do you want to learn more about? What qualities are important to you in a potential employer? What will help you decide if they are a good fit for you? 

Make a list of your priorities and then fill in questions for each. It’s a good idea to have several questions for each session, in case some are answered by the employer before you have a chance to ask them.

When to ask a question

There are group and one-on-one sessions during virtual career fairs. If you’re attending a group session, make sure to wait for the host to announce that it’s time for questions. Depending on the session, you may have an opportunity to ask your question on video or type it into the chat. One-on-one sessions are an open conversation with the employer, so you should feel free to ask questions as you go. 

Examples of questions

Here are a few examples of questions you can ask during virtual sessions. These are inspiration to help you get started. It’s important to tailor your questions depending on the type of session and your unique interests. 

General employer questions

  • How would you describe the culture of the organization?
  • What is the office environment like? Is it formal or more casual?
  • How does leadership promote diversity and inclusion within the organization? 
  • What support, initiatives, and/or training around diversity and inclusion are available to employees (i.e. employee resource groups, mentorship programs, leadership development)?
  • Are there professional development opportunities?
  • Does the organization encourage employees to pursue advanced degrees? 

Questions about a specific team or job

  • What does success look like in this role? On this team?
  • How would you describe this team? The manager?
  • What are the opportunities for growth in this role? On this team?
  • Do managers encourage innovation and creativity? 
  • How do managers measure success for employees/interns?

Questions for one-on-one sessions

  • What do you like most about working for [employer]?
  • Do you participate in employee resource/social groups?
  • What other teams do you work closely with?
  • What is the best part of your job?
For more tips, check out our guide to attending virtual career fairs.

Attending The Winter Virtual Career Fair? Here Are 10 Tips You Need to Know

Your guide to preparing for virtual career fairs and making a great impression with recruiters.

Guidance Provided By: The Handshake Team

Attending a virtual career fair on Handshake will give you an edge in landing that next job or internship. Employers who attend the fair want to hire DePaul students—and they’ll host virtual sessions to find the students they want to interview. With our virtual Winter Career Fair 2021 on the horizon (Feb 24), here are some tips for putting your best foot forward—before, during and after the virtual fair.

Preparing for a virtual fair

1. Update your Handshake profile. The first step in preparing for virtual fairs is to make sure your Handshake profile is complete and up-to-date. Your Handshake profile helps you get personalized recommendations for upcoming virtual events. Plus, employers use profile fields to find students to invite to their sessions. Don’t let an incomplete or out-of-date profile keep you from getting discovered by recruiters.

  • Check that the basics are accurate: graduation date, school year, major, GPA and work authorization
  • Select the job types, locations and roles that interest you, so recruiters know which jobs and internships are a good fit for you.
  • Add your courses, skills, and any previous work experience.

2. Find out which employers are attending. View the virtual fair details page to see the full list of employers who are hosting sessions. From there, you can click through to each employer’s Handshake page to learn more about them and read reviews from other students. Be sure to sign up early for sessions with the employers you like so you’re guaranteed a spot.

3. Research the employers you’ll meet. When you sign up to attend an employer’s virtual fair session, research beyond their Handshake profile. Check out their company website and search online for recent news articles and other relevant information. This will help you think of questions to ask during sessions, and make conversation during one-on-one sessions you may have.

4. Prepare a few talking points. The employers that you meet with want to learn more about you! So think of an “elevator pitch” about yourself—a short overview about your background, studies, and career goals. Practice with a friend or family member so you’re ready when it’s time to introduce yourself to a recruiter.

On the day of the virtual fair

5. Dress professionally. Even though you won’t be meeting employers in person, you’ll want to ditch the sweats for the career fair. Dressing up a bit will make a good first impression with recruiters and employees. Plus, wearing your favorite polished outfit will help boost your confidence in time for the event! 

6. Find a quiet spot and a neutral background. Try to limit potential distractions for yourself and for the recruiters. Plan where you will be sitting during the event ahead of time—make sure it’s quiet and there is a plain background behind you. Keep the recruiter’s eye focused on you. 

During your virtual sessions

7. Arrive on time. It’s very important to show up at your selected session start time. Being on time shows the recruiter or employee ambassador that you’re dependable and respectful of their time as well.

8. Maintain eye contact and practice active listening. Consider smiling and nodding occasionally as you would during an in-person conversation. Limit any distractions around you so that you’re not tempted to look away from your computer screen.

9. Ask questions. Bring a list of prepared questions for each session. Having several questions ready will help you in case one or more of the questions are answered early by the employer. Have a pen and paper with you so you can jot down new questions that you think of during the conversation.

The day after the fair

10. View and apply to open jobs or internships. Keep the momentum going from your meetings with employers. Check out their page on Handshake to see current jobs and internships. Recruiters are logging into Handshake daily to find students for open jobs—so it’s the best place to apply! If you’re not ready to apply yet, save the jobs you like so you’ll get notifications to apply before the deadlines. Find tips for applying to jobs on Handshake here.

Virtual Career Fairs: What You Need to Know

If you are seeking a new job or internship, check out a Virtual Career Fair! Virtual Career Fairs such as the upcoming DePaul Spring Career Fair provide an opportunity for students and employers to connect in an online environment about job and internship opportunities through video and text chat.

How Do I Prepare?


Research the Companies

Treat a Virtual Career Fair the same way as you would an in-person one, by researching the companies that will be in attendance beforehand. Pay attention to the work that they do, the opportunities available, and the mission statement of the organization. Develop questions for the recruiters based on your research in advance. 

Find a Quiet Space

Log in to a Virtual Career Fair from a quiet place where you’ll be able to stage a professional background. Don’t forget to tell your family and/or roommates that you’re attending a virtual fair, so they don’t accidentally interrupt you. This will help ensure that employers have their attention on you rather than your surroundings.

Tech Double Check

Make sure to test your internet connection prior to attending a Virtual Career Fair by opening up Handshake and CareerEco. We’d recommend using your laptop or computer rather than your phone to avoid tech issues. 

  • Pro-tip: Don’t forget to check the Browser you are using, ensuring that you have Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox installed on your computer. These are the ONLY browsers that will support the chat functions in CareerEco. 

Make (Virtual) Eye Contact

When your focus is elsewhere on the screen during a virtual career fair, it can be seen as unprofessional. Make sure that you keep your eyes on the employer to show your interest and excitement.

FAQs for the DePaul Virtual Spring Career Fair



When is the DePaul Virtual Spring Career Fair
?

Wednesday, May 13th 2020, 3:00pm –  6:00pm CDT
Register at: careereco.com/events/depaul
*please use the same email address you used to register for Handshake*

What steps should I take to prepare?

  1. Create your CareerEco Account. Visit careereco.com/events/depaul to create and confirm your account. Then, complete your profile and sign up for the fair. 
  2. Prepare your documents. Career Advisors are available to help you with your resume. Click here to Schedule an appointment to have yours reviewed before the fair. 
  3. Check your Browser. Ensure you have Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox installed on your computer. These are the ONLY browsers that will support the chat functions in CareerEco. *Use a desktop or laptop for this event* 
  4. Review how CareerEco works: We encourage you to watch the entire CareerEco tutorial to best understand how the career fair will work.

    • Employer Messages: Employers can send you messages in the system, so be sure to check in frequently to make sure you aren’t missing anything. 
    • Review Chat Hours: Employers will have different schedules of availability during the virtual career fair. Know when the employers you are interested in will be available so you don’t miss the opportunity to chat with them.
  5. Dress Professionally: Although this is a virtual fair, employers can request a video chat, so dress just like you would if you were going for an in-person interview. Looking professional helps you get in the right frame of mind to talk with employers and exude confidence in the process.

How do I find job postings?

Once you are registered, log into CareerEco and click the Job Board tab. Job postings will be available from each company with instructions on how to apply. 

How do the chat rooms work?

The virtual fair will be a series of chat rooms.  Each employer will have a chat room (just as each employer has a booth/table at an in-person career fair).  View job postings and general company information in each chat room, and chat with employers in a group.  You can also chat 1:1 with employers via text, audio or video.  

What is a private chat?

Recruiters can invite individuals to a private chat room. There will be a notification next to the recruiters name, participants will be able to accept the chat once opened. Only the recruiter will be able to initiate the private chat room. 

How can I make the most of this virtual fair?

Prepare, research, and be resume ready! Research the companies either on Handshake or CareerEco to see available job postings, express interest before the fair on CareerEco by clicking the blue checkmark next to the company’s name. Prepare to talk about your skills and work experiences. 

How do I stand out at a virtual career fair?

Upload your resume to CareerEco when you set up your account. Companies may begin screening resumes prior to the event and also invite you to visit their specific chat sessions and/or schedule video interviews before, during, or after the event hours.

5 Career Fair Prep Tips

By: Lorne Bobren, Technology & Design Career Community Advisor

The DePaul Career Center hosts several job fairs each year. The companies who attend are eager to learn about your qualifications and why you may be a good fit for their company. Whether you are looking for a full-time job or an internship, here are some tips on how to best prepare for the next fair:

1. Create an action plan

Job fairs at DePaul can have as many as 40-60 companies attend. It’s unrealistic to think you’ll connect with all companies attending, so the best approach is to review the company list on Handshake and make a list of 3-5 target employers. These companies should be your primary focus while attending the fair.

2. Research

One of the worst things you can do at a fair is ask a company, “What positions are you hiring for?” This information is easy to find on Handshake and the company’s website. Once you’ve created your target list of employers, you should review the company’s website, mission, social media, and job openings. This information will let you naturally converse with companies at the fair rather than asking questions that are found online. Show the recruiter you did your homework and that you’re genuinely interested in the company.

3. Have your resume reviewed

Having a polished resume prior to the fair is essential. Some companies may host on-campus interviews a few days after the fair or look to bring in candidates for onsite interviews a few days after the fair. The best way to ensure you’re prepared is by visiting the Career Center prior to the fair to have your resume reviewed.

4. Develop a 30 second pitch

You’ll have limited time to speak with recruiters at job fairs, so it’s best to develop a quick pitch that summarizes your skills and interest in the company. The purpose of an elevator pitch is to create a brief, impactful message that touches on the following key points:

  1. You! Your most important characteristics and interests
  2. What you can offer to the employer and workforce
  3. Your goal in connecting with the individual or company you’re pitching

Think about what qualities you possess that will leave an impression and bundles your strengths, what you can offer, and your intentions.

5. Connect with alumni mentors

DePaul’s ASK network is a great way to calm nerves and relax prior to the attending the fair. Alumni mentors are available before and during the fair to help with crafting your elevator pitch, resume reviews, and tips on how to approach employers.

 

Careers fairs may seem a bit intimidating, but creating an action plan and following through that plan is the best way to enhance your experience!