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Promoting Community Employment Options: The Media Engagement Strategy

By Horace Blake

In any local community, the key to citizen engagement is the ability to collaborate with a variety of stakeholders through available information whether it is internet technology or possibly through traditional methods such as radio, television, local magazines and newspapers. Many communities have different employers such as the public sector, private sector and a variety of nonprofit and non-government agencies. Knowing what type of opportunities these sources have to offer can be an on-going challenge for those seeking employment.

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In order to serve and engage the citizens of the community, the local municipality is keen to collaborate with many of these employers by hosting a community job fair in the spring and fall of each year. It is suggested to bring a good supply of resumes to distribute or if asked for one to accompany an application. However, it is more important to know what jobs are available and the eligibility requirements since many employers are reluctant to take a resume or offer a job application to someone if they do not meet the minimum requirements or qualifications.

A job fair is not an easy venue to accomplish. One of the most important strategies to utilize is getting as many employers on board to accommodate as many community job seekers with varied skill sets. The job fair should be equally beneficial to both the employers and the job applicants be considered successful. The strategy is for the employers to plan the day carefully for best outcomes and should address or include:

  • A sufficient number of employees or volunteers to manage the tables and the traffic flow at the job fair.
  • All the job openings should be carefully listed for each organization on a visible and easy to read board.
  • A clear and concise description of each job opportunity should be made available as handouts.
  • A private area is compulsory and should be considered for immediate interviews and considerations.
  • Technology hook up should be available to the employers for ongoing access. Additionally employers who subscribe to job site application terminals should make provisions for this type of accommodation onsite.
  • A careful schedule of the day’s events should be outlined such as starting time, lunch break and closing.

The perspective job applicants should also embark on a good strategy to get the most out of this job fair such as:

  • Getting to the job fair early, preferable during the morning.
  • Having a good supply of resumes and references available to give to the perspective employers.
  • Paying attention to dress/attire to enhance appearance that is suitable for the occasion.
  • Being prepared to participate in the application process as well as being interviewed on the spot.
  • Making a list and planning what employers to spend the most time with for maximizing personal outcome.
  • Being mindful of getting the correct names and contacts of those employers that interest you the job seeker.

Getting ready for the job fair should place the promoters in a responsible role for getting the word out to the community. In this case, advertising appropriately through the classifieds. To meet the demand of those who are tech savvy, advertising should take place through the portals of LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google. Other methods such as a mass email blast should be on the to-do-list. Many municipalities employ very elaborate interactive web pages that could be accessed from anywhere for those seeking to be continuously informed. Other citizens would experience learning about the job fair through traditional methods such as word of mouth, social institutions, billboards and broadcast news programs. The idea of fundamentally embracing new media is a great but used with caution as some demographic groups might not be at the level of utilizing technology and could be left out of fully participating. Therefore, a concerted effort should be securely in place to mitigate any such notion that there are those job seekers who will be left out simply because they do not have email accounts or home access to the internet.

As a human resource professional, there should be no room for reluctance to utilize any variety of new media in recruiting as these methods are experiencing unprecedented growth along with its constant updates. Deploying and unlocking a universe of new media enhances the recruiting process by providing access with a wider range in terms of distance and convenience for the list of community stakeholders. New media is best demonstrated in a social recruitment strategy. Jeffrey Giesener pointed out in his article, “Skeptical About Social Recruitment,” that it is interesting to hear so much skepticism  about social recruiting  and concern over showing leadership a positive and tractable return on investment (ROI) for those who use for example LinkedIn.

In conclusion, the savviest agreement is that any human resources manager or generalist should not limit themselves to new media that has a charge attached to their service, where their main purpose is to eliminate the many thousands of unqualified or potentially disinterested candidates rather than providing a solid ROI option for the employers.



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