gra-dult-hood n.

1. A stage in life between graduation and adulthood.
2. Gradulthood often involves jobs that don't fulfil a graduate's expectations.
3. A term coined during the recession.

Gradults 0-1 Recruitment Fairs

Fairs are supposed to be fun. What could be more fun than standing in a queue next to a 17-year-old girl who’s got a fag in one hand and the wrist of her three-year-old in the other? The ominous gangs of youths just add to the occasion - and as I always say: why go to a theme park when you can enjoy the unsafe, slightly menacing version instead? My disdain for fairs is such that the recruitment versions are probably my favourite of the two. This is akin to me saying I’d prefer to watch an episode of Strictly rather than Dancing on Ice. It’s a lesser of two evils scenario. Here is a brief list of why I’m not keen on recruitment fairs.

1. The initial caginess. Gradults gingerly tiptoeing round the stalls, anxious not to commit to any in particular and gently mocking those brought in to entice them. Until someone makes the first move it can be a very futile exercise in slow walking.

2. Free clutter. If I wanted a bulk load of free pens I’d go into the bookies with a rucksack. Or IKEA for that matter, after all a pencil without a rubber is basically a pen. My company brochure receiving-to-reading ratio is shocking and yet I insist on letting them decorate my room for weeks after. Usually in the plastic bag they were received in.

3. Instant classification. So much as bat an eyelid at the teaching stand and people will be asking how long you’ve been thinking about getting into education. Accepting a brochure is tantamount to signing a contract.

4. Same old companies. Why is it always the same old companies? I’ve seen many a stall for Europa Rental Car yet never seen or heard anything from them in real life. Aldi always have a big presence. As the countdown to my graduation plodded mercilessly on you couldn’t move for Aldi PR. Mouse mats, screensavers; all with the same promise of an Audi company car. I like to think the companies realised their names were similar and thought, maybe we should get together. More business partnerships should be based on alliteration. What’s more, it seemed to work. Suddenly everyone was interested in putting in the brutal hours trying to make Aldi the best budget supermarket it could be. I think the gradults in question were overlooking the fact that by taking the role they would have to spend extended periods of time in Aldi.

5. The glamorous curveball. Balding man representing accountancy firm. Check. Eccentric teacher representing local school. Check. Australian guy in shorts representing STA Travel. Check. All seems very familiar, very mundane. But wait what’s this? It’s the glamorous curveball. A classic example is Abercrombie and Fitch. They will be extremely popular at the recruitment fair, swathes of gradults excitedly clutching the free merchandise like they’ve just left a gig at the Apollo. But alas a role in HR is a role in HR. Unless I’m very much mistaken the shop floor models aren’t usually putting in the office hours.

Perhaps it’s just my own personal experience which is clouding my judgement of recruitment fairs. If I knew of anyone who had successfully prized a job out of the rows of brochures and free gifts then this post could have been very different. 

My Dad has just handed me a newspaper clipping advertising the ‘world’s biggest graduate recruitment awards’ event. I don’t know what the awards are but I’m pretty sure Ricky Gervais won’t be handing them out. Maybe this could be the one to change my views or maybe it’s just a hint my parents want me out.

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