Whether you're unemployed, just out of college or wanting to change careers, it's hard to know where to start. Job fairs offer one way, putting you face to face with hiring employers. But do they really work? We followed three job seekers at one of the largest job fairs in the state to find out.
The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission's 41st semi-annual spring job fair was held at the Chevy Bricktown Events Center in downtown Oklahoma City.
"We have scheduled 106 employers that are attending," said Lisa Graven with the OESC. "One of the things that we require is that they have official job openings."
Those jobs vary, from city, federal and state jobs to opportunities in the energy, medical and hospitality industries.
"I'm very good at multi-tasking. I'm a fast learner," said Tonesha Yearby of Oklahoma City. "I'm looking for longevity more than anything but something maybe customer service clerical, maybe an office setting."
Yearby was the first job seeker we followed. She told us she's had good luck with job fair, even getting hired on the spot once.
"Most of my applications I've done online, so it's better to have that one-on-one, you know, with a live person," she said.
Graven says the most important aspects of landing a job is networking.
"Our goal is just to connect the employer with the appropriate job seeker to make a really strong job match for both parties," Graven said.
The second person we followed was Don Simonson. He's been unemployed for about a month and a half when the tissue manufacturing plant where he worked shut down. He made the rounds.
"I've talked with probably I'd say two or three good leads that might be an opportunity," Simonson said. "A lot of entry level. I'm not unwilling to start at a new spot, but $12, $13 an hour is a little bit of a push for me, I was hoping for more than that."
The third person we caught up with was Jack Robinson. He's a certified crane operator and was hired on the spot by Oil States Energy Services.
"Jack was the first candidate we looked at today," said Michael Seebold, a district manager with Oil States Energy Services. "We want to try and jump on guys that have a lot of experience in our background, and we want to keep them and retain them. Most of the time when we come, we normally walk out with one or two good candidates."
Robinson had his interview on site and was given his official offer letter before he left.
"It feels great," said Robinson. "It's a company I've worked alongside a lot, and I wanted to work with them now."
As for Yearby and Simonson, while they made some contacts, they didn't leave with a job.
"I feel hopeful," said Yearby. "I'll probably go home and maybe submit some more applications and follow up with those that allow follow-ups and just continue to search."
"There are definitely some opportunities I can follow through with, so I feel good about that," said Simonson.
Around 1,200 job seekers attended the job fair.
"There's a variety of ways to seek employment and a job fair is just one way," Graven said. "We really want to get Oklahomans employed, that's our goal."
The OESC holds the job fairs twice a year in Oklahoma City and Tulsa.