Hundreds show up for job fair at market square

More than 300 job-seekers flood the city's market square on Thursday morning to attend the YMCA of Greater Saint John’s Newcomer Connections' job fair.

The event witnessed a registration count of 516 people out of which 275 signed up upon entry, according to the data from the Y's Newcomer Connections. There were counters setup for 28 companies looking for potential candidates for unfilled positions and 11 community organizations present to provide support for newcomers.

Erin Stewart, employment supervisor of YMCA Newcomer Connections, said the job fair saw the largest magnitude both in terms of attendees and employers.

Cassio Camargo, originally from Brazil, said he completed his Masters of Business Administration from the University of New Brunswick Saint John (UNBSJ) campus recently and attended the event searching for a permanent position in Saint John.

He said he has more than 10 years of work experience with 75 per cent of it being in international logistics and foreign trade thanks to his MBA where he focused on professional sales. Thursday Camargo was looking for jobs in sectors including supply chain and procurement, business analyst, IT or sales.

"I am trying to be as open-minded as I can."

Camargo said he has spoken to employers, including the OSCO Construction Group and the "Big five banks that are here," he added that he dropped his resume at a few counters. He added that an event like this one gives employers a chance to have pre-interviews.

"Not only do I see them as a person, they see me as a person as well," he said noting that he showed up an hour early for the 11'o clock event.

Jiaojiao Meng, the HR generalist at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, said her team had already spoken to five people, just two minutes into the event. She said they are looking for potential candidates to fill five skilled positions and also put the word out for their upcoming summer openings.

She said the company has participated in several community job fairs in the past and has "successfully hired people who were referred by our community agencies like YMCA." She said meeting candidates in person helps her team to remember the names and the positions they are interested in, and "we try our best to give them a response."

"I would always say that an in-person hiring fair is very efficient," Meng said, adding that it helps them suggest candidates with positions that may suit their background or recommend them other options.

Another MBA graduate from UNBSJ, Wenzhu He, who is originally from China, said she attended the job fair looking for positions in marketing and communications. She added that she was also open to intercultural communication as well.

She said she has three master degrees, has lived and worked in five different countries, including Thailand and Australia and was a former magazine journalist, in charge of media and communications and also a teacher of language and culture. She was one of the early arrivals and said she arrived at the job fair at 10:30 a.m.

He said, although she was unable to find a job in her field, she hasn't completed speaking to all the employers and will continue to look at more options at the fair.

"I believe it's worth coming here, and also the best result would be finding a job here, but even if not it's always good to have a chance networking with people."

Stewart said the event was run in partnership with the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work and the Saint John Newcomers Centre with the theme being "accessibility and inclusion."

She called the event "a success," looking at the number of employers, pre-registrations and the crowd just about 10 minutes into it.

"We have just started and we already have a lot of people ... There is a lot of hustle and bustle in the room right now."

Rhythm Rathi, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal