Lawyer2B.com's roving graduate recruitment officer, CMS Cameron McKenna's Vicki Wisson, has hit the road as another law fair season gets under way. And as she explains law fairs aren't just about freebies and should definitely be a parent-free zone.
Yes, its that time of year again when myself and my fellow recruiters are packing our bags, boxing our brochures, checking our giveaways and learning how to construct an exhibition stand to embark on all the fun of the fair. Having been cooped up at our desks for the entire summer, or interviewing and assessing every day, were all excited at the prospect of leaving our desks behind as we hit the road. And after 3 years of Milkrounds a few things have finally dawned on me, that students at fairs fall into 4 basic categories.
So which one are you. Lets find out:
Question: When at a law fair and approaching a stall do you:
A Send a friend to distract the staff while you clear the table of all giveaways, making sure you grab and run (dont ever look back)?
B Smooth your suit and extract your list of 50 carefully prepared questions, complete with your CV and/or past application form for the staff to review?
C Let your mum.dad (delete as applicable) ask the firm questions while you hang back to watch the proceedings?
D Ask what the firm does, and if they have any vacancies in their accounts department?
If you chose A youre a Magpie. Magpies are attracted by anything shiny or sparkly, or simply anything thats not nailed down. (Mental note to recruiters: never leave your Blackberry on the table just in case.)
If you chose B youre a Suit, and quite frankly, a little scary. Clearly well clued up youre likely to end up chatting to a member of staff for a good half hour, ensuring a queue builds up behind you.
C makes you a Chick, as in not leaving the nest. You may laugh but I know youre out there.
And, finally, D is a Plank. Its worth asking yourself if youre at the right fair. Clearly labelled a law fair the clue is in the name please dont act surprised when I tell you this is what we do.
Obviously the above are extreme caricatures of what we see but the point is that there is a happy medium out there for the perfect Law Fair etiquette:
Yes, the giveaways are free, but a please and thank you wouldnt go amiss. Yes, being prepared is good, but come with an open mind and genuinely try to get to know us, not just read from a list of questions. (And, by the way its OK to wear casual clothes youre a student, we get it.) Conversely, yes, this is often your first point of contact with us, so do ask open questions to get to know us, but if you read the fair guide or visit the website youll find that this will give you a better understanding of what you want to know. Never start a conversation with you rejected me last year why? as this is not only aggressive, and therefore not endearing, but also how can the employers possibly know since they wont have your form in front of them? And finally, just one last request please leave the parents at home. This is your career and its you we want to talk to.
So all thats left for me to say is Happy Law Fair Visiting and Ill see you across the country. Ill be keeping you updated as to progress from the recruiters side over the next few months so more from me in a few weeks.