Thousands flock to 4th annual Hiring Fair in LA

March 27, 2015
Over 7,000 participants were expected to attend the 2015 4th Hiring Fair Friday in Los Angeles. (Brian Han/Korea Times)

Over 7,000 participants were expected to attend the 2015 4th Hiring Fair Friday in Los Angeles. (Brian Han/Korea Times)

By Brian Han

The 4th annual Hiring Fair brought together thousands of job seekers and close to a hundred employers at the L.A. Convention Center on Friday.

The event was co-hosted by the Korean American Economic Development Center, Korean Trade Center (KOTRA) and Job Korea USA and featured notable state politicians including California State Assemblywoman Young Kim.

“In 2014 we had just over 5,000 participants in the hiring fair and this year we expect to see about 7,000,” said Justin Park, one of the main organizers and an investment consultant at KOTRA.

Although a hiring fair with a lot of traffic can seem impressive, it doesn’t really mean much if the event doesn’t translate into jobs so Park and the other organizers are trying to change that with a more analytical approach this time around.

“For the first time we plan on calculating how many people actually end up getting jobs from participating in this job fair,” he said. “With all the things we’re measuring, it’ll help us to make the event better and better each year.”

Marcus Lee, a senior at University of California, Irvine has been coming to the fair for three years now and has noticed a difference.

“Everything just looks a lot more professional and organized this year,” he said. “The first year I came it was definitely helpful to get my feet wet, but I ended up not getting any offers. My second year I found an internship since I had a better idea of what I was doing and now since I’m graduating I’m hoping to find full time work with the FBI, military forces or something along those lines.”

California’s unemployment rate peaked back in 2010 at 12.2 percent as a direct result of the 2007 financial crisis, but has since then decreased to 7.1 percent as of January 2015 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Park Hee-su, 19, speaks with representatives of Asiana Airlines. "It's always been a dream of mine to work for an airline," she said. "I love to travel so I think I could be a good fit." (Brian Han/Korea Times)

Park Hee-su, 19, speaks with representatives of Asiana Airlines. “It’s always been a dream of mine to work for an airline,” she said. “I love to travel so I think I could be a good fit.” (Brian Han/Korea Times)

A common belief is that job seekers are at a disadvantage and that employers have the upper hand in the current market.

“A lot of companies say they are hiring for entry-level positions, but at the same time require three to five years of experience,” Rebecca Kim, 24, said. “It just doesn’t make sense. So now I feel like I have to apply to jobs that I’m overqualified for. So yes, to answer the question, I think we’re at a disadvantage.”

Kim is currently working part-time at a fashion company, but hoped to find a few full-time opportunities at the event.

Some employers are noticing the same trends.

“Candidates are plentiful,” said Director of Marketing and Promotions of ESPN LA Tommy Lam. “Getting overqualified applicants is something we come across. It’s becoming more common to get someone who has been working for five years in a field and is trying to get an entry-level job.”

Others tend to disagree with this outlook.

“It’s definitely a candidate’s market,” said Heather Toro, Director of Corporate Recruiting at Caruso Affiliated — developers of The Grove and Americana retail centers. “It’s always challenging to find strong talent, so if you’re a good candidate, you should have a lot of options.”

The conclusion is that like many things, the situation is not black and white. The trends can vary depending on the industry.

“If you’re in a field like computer programming, we’re all fighting for the same talent, but for all the basic entry-level positions, the employers still have a lot of control,” said L.A. Unified School District recruiter Kevin Dich.

 

Officer Jin-ha Kim of the LAPD speaks with two women during the 2015 4th Hiring Fair. (Brian Han/Korea Times)

Officer Jin-ha Kim of the LAPD speaks with two women during the 2015 4th Hiring Fair. (Brian Han/Korea Times)

The Los Angeles Police Department stood out from the rest because unlike most companies who were hiring for a few open spots, the LAPD was looking to recoup 300 new officers for 2015.

“This isn’t an issue we’ve had before,” said Officer Jin-ha Kim. “It’s starting now. The baby boomers, the ones who are older are starting to retire. We’d like to hire more Asian officers because at the moment they are significantly underrepresented on the force. 15 percent of our district is Asian and only seven percent of our force reflect that same demographic.”

With so many job openings and a $57,420 starting base salary plus benefits, the offer seems fairly enticing for job seekers like Rebecca Kim who are tired of their experiences with the current job market.

One Comment

  1. flor guardado

    April 7, 2015 at 1:16 AM

    i am looking two manicurist with license and experience to work in Hollywood and i would like to know how to get information to hired somebody from your fair. thank you

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