Trade-fair ‘Einstieg’ 2018: apprentices recruit apprentices


Every year HELM runs a booth at various job fairs for high-school students in order to recruit the best young talent and give them a first impression of the Company. As the first-year apprentices are always entrusted with this job-fair role, this time it was our turn!

At the beginning of the year we were scheduled to attend the first job fair at which we would have the possibility to introduce ourselves as representatives of the exhibitor rather than as visitors – the ‘Einstieg’ job fair on the Hamburg Trade Fair premises.

Well, a job fair means much more than simply standing at the booth and engaging visitors in conversation – a fair like this takes a lot of preparation. On the one hand, equipment such as folders with flyers, pencils and HELM noteblocks needed to be organised and sorted, and on the other hand we apprentices and dual students also needed to prepare ourselves for the job fair.

HELM AG was part of the joint AGA Company Association booth, at which several wholesale and foreign-trade firms in the Hamburg area were also participating. Along with other apprentices from the Association companies we received a morning’s training covering topics such as how best to behave at a trade fair, how to approach fair visitors, and how to catch and respond to their interest through skilled questioning. To train this we acted out particular situations in short role-plays, which we then performed to the other training participants in small groups. Based on the ‘spectators’ feedback we were able to improve our performance and were thus well prepared for the job fair.

Although the fair was scheduled to start at nine our alarm clocks rang a lot earlier, as a film-shoot at our booth was scheduled for seven-thirty. Thanks to a virtual ‘city tour’ with interviewed apprentices this film also made it possible to visit every company booth online.

After this the first job-fair visitors began to appear, and in just a few minutes the enormous hall was full of students who had come to the fair with their classmates to orientate themselves vocationally. Everything was on offer at the fair – from vocational training, through university degree courses, to a voluntary social year.

At last it was time

To begin with the students weren’t confident enough to talk to us, but they gradually began to approach us and gather information. Some of them had no idea who or what HELM AG was, while some of them already knew the Company through their parents, through internships, or through applications they had already submitted.

We apprentices thoroughly enjoyed talking to the students and explaining to them what HELM AG has to offer. After numerous convincing discussions the first day of the job fair drew to a close. We enjoyed a relaxed round of drinks sponsored by the AGA, and then we apprentices went to a restaurant to round off the evening appropriately.

The following morning we had breakfast at the booth at nine, and waited for the first visitors to arrive. The main difference between the first and second days was that the visitors approached us alone, or often came to the fair with a parent. We noticed that the students who had targeted our booth already had a certain idea regarding their desired professional career and business sector.

Although it was often the parents who started the conversation, in our preparatory training we had learned always to place the student in the focus of the discussion. This is naturally quite difficult if the student is rather shy and reserved and the parents are highly interested. However, this wasn’t always the case, and we were able to engage the students in many detailed and valuable discussions.

All in all the job fair was very successful. The sheer effort and great deal of time involved are definitely lasting impressions that we gathered at the fair – and who knows? Perhaps in the future we’ll meet one of the fair visitors again whom we ‘recruited’, as a new apprentice or dual student at HELM AG!

Philipp Gramkow 
(1st year student in Business Administration and Foreign Trade)