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Job Fairs Are Great PR For Politicians But Ineffective Otherwise Part 2

A few months ago I wrote a post about a Job Fair sponsored by Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown titled Job Fairs Are Great PR For Politicians But Ineffective Otherwise. The Buffalo News recently ran a follow-up article regarding the City of Buffalo Job Fair.

While Mayor Brown hyped the fact that 1,500 “good-paying” jobs were available at the job fair, attended by 1,900 people, the Buffalo News was able to confirm that 17 people found jobs through the fair. The City disputes the Buffalo News numbers and says that 26 people found work through the job fair.

Brown took office as Mayor proclaiming that he would track and measure the performance of government departments through his CitiStat program. When the Buffalo News pointed out that only 17 people obtained jobs, Brown’s response was “I don’t think the numbers means anything,”, noting that the event was just another effort, in many, to assist people who are looking for employment.”

In my opinion government officials need to focus their time and energy on providing essential city services such as sanitation, police, fire etc. There is very little impact that city officials can have in regard to jobs and economic development. The Buffalo News, HUD and State Comptrollers Office have time after time documented how poorly managed and ineffective city efforts have been to address poverty in Buffalo, the third poorest city in the nation.

Job fairs are ineffective but they are great PR for politicians.


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William Lim

I think the key to job fair effectiveness is work by all stakeholders – organizers, employers, and job seekers – to properly match candidates’ skills with employers’ needs, as well as for organizers to clearly articulate a vision of the job fair. Is it merely meet and greet/table talk? Resume drop? Screening interviews only? (Contemplating at least one additional round of interviewing after the fair ends before jobs are offered.) Single-round interviews? Group interviews? On-the-spot hiring? And are employers drawn from a single industry or hiring for a narrow set of KSA’s? From what you have written about the Buffalo job fair, it seems that there was an unfortunate mismatch in expectations indicative more of poor organizing rather than a a total failure of the job fair as a concept. I think in general one should approach job fairs the same way one approaches online job sites. Sure, Monster or HotJobs might have the most listings, but IT people know to head to Dice and lawyers know to head to Law.com instead.