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Brantford hosts inaugural in-person job fair

City of BrantfordBrantford hosts inaugural in-person job fair

City of Brantford held their first ever in-person job fair at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Complex on Saturday, November 5, 2022.

City staff were on hand to chat with residents, accept resumes, recruit candidates and provide insight into the different departments within the municipality.

“Coming out of the pandemic, we started to brainstorm different ways in which we could recruit because like other organizations and other industries, we were finding it difficult to recruit qualified candidates. We felt like we needed to do something new and innovative, and we also thought this would be a great opportunity to interact with people in the community,” said Maria Visocchi, Director of Communications, Community Engagement and Customer Service for the City of Brantford.

A resident speaks with a member of the City of Brantford’s Fleet and Transit Department during the job fair on Saturday, November 5.

Besides recruitment and interacting with residents, Visocchi said there were other benefits to hosting an in-person job fair.

“At the very least, even if you weren’t interested in a specific position, just being in this amazing facility, with people coming and going, it allowed them (residents) to see kind of the breadth and depth of city services because a lot of times people don’t think about that. They may take for granted that somebody picks up their recycling and their solid waste and they take for granted that their roads are snow plowed, and sidewalks are cleared and the water is safe to drink,” Visocchi explained. “All of that has to do with city staff and maintaining parks, trees, and forestry. There really is a wide variety of positions that are available at the City but it was also part education campaign and an information session for residents.”

Rebecca Szczepanowski, Climate Change Officer for the City of Brantford, poses for a photo during the job fair on Saturday, November 5.

Over 20 departments were on hand during the event, including Customer Service, Information Technology, Brantford Fire Department, Brantford Transit and Human Resources.

“The departments that were actually in the process of recruiting or would be recruiting imminently were the ones that were here at the job fair. We have a number of positions that we’re basically always recruiting for because they’re always in need of staff and Branford transit is one of those departments that is always looking for transit drivers. The fire department is another one of those where there is constant recruitment,” said Visocchi. “These departments were making connections and it’s not like there are job openings all the time but, every couple of months, they may need staff members.”

A residents gathers some information from Dwayne Armstrong, Deputy Fire Chief for the City of Brantford, during the job fair on Saturday, November 5.

Visocchi said it is always good to have a reserve of resumes and be able to put a face to the name on a given resume.

“It’s always good to actually remember that you saw that person and met that person. You’re not just going through a bunch of digital files that Human Resources has given you, you can associate the face with that name. Kudos to the people that showed up here because they took time out of their Saturday to come and meet with hiring managers that I think would make a difference in their chances,” she said. “I was at the customer service table and we’re going to be recruiting in January. We have at least two people that we met today who left their resumes that we would interview so we feel like that that was a productive use of our time.”

Kris Olsen, member of the Information Technology department, answers a question from a resident during the job fair on Saturday, November 5.

Over 250 residents attended the event, which Visocchi said was a very successful turnout for the first ever job fair hosted by the municipality.

“I was very happy with the turnout because it was our first one so it was hard to gauge. I think it helped that it was a beautiful day, not cold or rainy, and no snow yet. So people were out and about and knew about this. We’ve been promoting it for a month and I don’t know how much of the traffic was people who were here for other reasons but most of the people that I saw, came prepared to ask questions of us,” Visocchi said.

Mike Abraham of the Infrastructure Planning department provides a resident with some information during the job fair on Saturday, November 5.

With the success of the job fair, the municipality is considering doing similar events in the future.

“We were brainstorming about the job fair and if we take this on the road or what are we going to do with this great show that we’ve put together. We thought it might be an interesting idea to actually bring it to Laurier campus and Conestoga campus and focus on positions that would be appropriate for students that are graduating, or for some of our summer student positions,” Visocchi said. “I can also say with confidence that we would explore the idea of making the job fair an annual or semi-annual event in the future.”

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