Manufacturing recruiters will be able in connect with new talent in a unique way at the Industrial Arts Institute’s job fair in Onaway on June 3. Students at the northern Michigan welding school are wrapping up their 19-week program and looking for jobs, so the staff at IAI have come up with a non-traditional format, allowing students to show what they’ve learned.
“In a normal career fair environment, recruiters set up tables and collect applications,” explained Tamara Ward, the school’s operations leader. “That’s not very productive for candidates or hiring managers. Students hand over their resumes, talk to an employer for a few minutes, and they don’t really know anything about each other when it’s done. We wanted to make a better match.”
At this event, students will set up tables featuring all the welds that earned them their qualifications and certifications. “If employers want to see stick welding in an overhead position, the student can show samples of open root and welds with backers that earned them those specific certifications,” Ward said.
Jessica Bulmann-Laisure, Director of Human Resources at Bulmann Dock & Lift in Boyne City, Michigan, finds the modifications helpful. “The talent expos allow employers to connect with difficult-to-find tradespeople and witness more than their talent, but also their personalities, strengths, and opportunities for improvements, all without having to set up an interview,” she said.
After viewing the welding samples a student has to offer, employers can request a live welding demonstration from the student, further confirming his or her qualifications for a particular position. IAI’s Talent Expo’s format is flexible in that it allows students to step away at the end of the event to take advantage of this additional one-on-one time.
“Getting the chance to see our students in action can really make a difference for prospective employers,” Ward said, “and that’s definitely a win for our students.” Industrial Arts Institute has been refining this Talent Expo format for a few years, a showcase event that’s helped drive their 90% post-graduate employment rate. “Instead of the 30 seconds of face time, they can efficiently assess candidates to see if they’re a fit for open positions,” Ward said. “The return on their investment of time and resources is good.”