Since last week I've been back at university for my fourth and final year. Today involved traipsing around the Careers Fair where a few dozen employers have set up stands and sent representatives who will talk to you about their company's graduate scheme and hopefully will give you free stuff. (Unfortunately, I walked away without a single free pen! Shameful.)
It is a mutually beneficial arrangement. Students get inspiration and information about prospective employers (and free stuff, as aforementioned, but see above re: lack of pens), and employers catch the attention of students and try to convince them that they should apply to their company (and get rid of all the free stuff which they would otherwise presumably have to cart back somewhere).
I stopped at the stall of EDS, a large "IT solutions" consultancy, and waited while the representative finished talking to an interested student. He seemed a bit salesman-esque, but courteous and helpful. The guy walked off and the representative turned his attention to me.
Now, what do you think might have been an appropriate form of address for him to use at a graduate careers fair such as this?
If you chose "Can I help you, my love?" you'd be incorrect, but would have come up with the same answer as he did.
From there we went onto him boggling at the fact that I'm doing a Masters degree in Computer Science, asking whether that meant I'd want a technical role and checking whether I actually liked computers and wanted to work with them. (Kevin pointed out later that it's a valid point – after all, cancer scientists don't like cancer...)
Once he'd worked out that I was serious he called over a manager to talk to me, which was a smart move on his part since the manager was actually... what's the word? ah yes, professional.
I decided not to apply in the end, partly since the manager I spoke to recommended not applying until June at the earliest, and I'd like to get employment sorted before then. But they did give me a free phone charger, so hurrah for that.
Microsoft had a stall populated entirely by attractive women in their 20s and early 30s (there, I imagine, to show the Other Side of Microsoft), and yet were still looking incredibly grateful for anyone who could bring themselved to stop at their stand :-) Mind you, the woman whom I spoke to seemed more interested in delivering her pitch to me rather than letting me ask questions of her – I think I managed about three and then gave up.
IBM seemed to have the most personable representative that I talked to overall (though I did go on an IBM open day last year, so I knew quite a lot already about their graduate scheme), and as a further plus they gave me a yellow squishie asterisk. Yay corporate freebies!