Professionalism frequently takes a back seat to sass and sarcasm on the internet, but the online recruitment fair is a whole different ballgame. To help you prepare for attending these online meet and greets, we went to an admissions insider at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine for some tips.
Read on to hear what Dr. Emil Chuck, Director of Admissions, suggests you keep in mind as you prepare to attend an online recruitment fair.
Do your homework.
Research the schools that will be there, the programs they offer, and prepare some questions ahead of time. “To say the least, the unprepared will stand out more and make a more lasting (usually negative) impression,” says Dr. Chuck.
Bonus Tip: Type your questions out in a document that you spell and grammar check. That way you can easily copy and paste when the time is right without having to worry about typos and grammatical errors.
Your elevator speech is perfect for your introduction. Remember that you want something short and easy to read as no one wants to read a novel.”You could even have your speech typed up and prepared in advance; just paste it into the chat when you are ready to engage with admissions staff,” suggests Dr. Chuck.
Bonus Tip: Use your complete name, the one you’d put on your application, both in your introduction and as your screenname — no avatars here!
Make the most of your time.
Just as you would have a game plan to hit certain booths at a traditional recruitment fair, you’ll want a similar plan for an online fair. Dr. Chuck’s suggestion: “Develop a schedule to spend 10 minutes with a recruiter online and then move on. Give yourself more time to read any previous questions submitted so you don’t appear uninformed to the recruiter who has been answering questions constantly.”
Bonus Tip: Be sure to give others an opportunity to ask questions as well. You don’t want to hog all of a recruiter’s time so planning out a set amount of time to spend with each representative is a good idea.
That’s right — even if you’re the only person physically in the room! This piece of advice may sound peculiar since we are talking about online chatroom interactions instead of face-to-face conversations. “I assure you, in all my past interactions with online text conversations, the individuals I later meet who tend to smile naturally in person were more relaxed, asked better follow-up questions and were much more engaged in online chat conversations than the participants who do not,” shared Dr. Chuck. “Being happy that you are talking with someone who is there to help you prepare for the application process makes the representatives feel appreciated.”
Bonus Tip: You may want to smile as if you’re having a face-to-face conversation, but don’t wait to type your question. Unlike live face-to-face group interactions, a chatroom allows for questions from multiple participants at the same time.
Now What? Follow Up!
So, you’ve done it. You’ve attended your first online recruitment fair. You’ve met and networked with admissions officers and learned a little more about the schools you’re considering attending. What’s your next step? Following up! The art of the thank you letter may be dying, but it is incredibly relevant here. Send an email to the recruiter who spent time chatting with you online and use this as an opportunity to ask an additional question that may have come up after the fair.
The old adage was right: You never get a second chance to make a first impression. This is so pertinent in today’s digital world. Put your best foot forward when attending any type of recruitment fair and you’ll be on the right track towards a successful career.
Thanks to Emil Chuck, Ph.D., Director of Admissions at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, for contributing pieces of this article to a post previously published on ExploreHealthCareers.org.