Hundreds of job seekers bucked the digital trend and met face-to-face with 32 potential employers at the Interior Savings Centre on Monday.
There was so much interest in the Open Door Group's hiring fair that 100 people were lined up outside the Sports Action Lounge before the doors opened, said facilitator Kevin Watt.
Within the first hour 400 people made a personal connection with an employer, gathered information about a job and shook hands with a potential employer, Watt told The Daily News.
"And it hasn't slowed down since," he said.
The fair, which was free to businesses and job hunters, offered a variety of employment options. Although Tim Hortons and Starbucks were represented, they hire from a different demographic, so there was a variety of work up for grabs, Watt said.
"That's the big part of a job fair. There's a great deal of companies in here you would never get to meet face to face because their process is through online applications," he said.
Networking is still important, said Watt. Someone who meets an employer will likely be remembered when a follow-up phone call is made, and that can make a difference come hiring time.
That's why Darya Moryakova, a social development manager for the Skeetchestn Indian Band, brought 20 band members who are on social assistance to look for work. She hoped half would walk away with a good shot at employment.
"This is a wonderful opportunity to have these many employers gathered in one spot with options to explore," said Moryakova.
She said the Skeetchestn band is remote, which makes it difficult for members to look for work. And some don't have the education needed to get a job.
"There are barriers to employment," said Moryakova.
Be it Mibroc Group, Home Depot, the RCMP, iCompass, Arrow Transport or Ajax proponent KGHM, there were long lines of people waiting to talk to a representative.
Aaron Vinepal, human resources manager at Home Depot, said about 60 people were interested in three available jobs that pay between $11 and $13 an hour.
He appreciated the opportunity to meet potential employees in person, saying it put a face to a future application.
"That's one of the good benefits to (job fairs)," he said, adding companies adopted online job applications because they are easy to manage.
Watt said the city's unemployment rate is 4.7 per cent, which speaks to the diversity of the economy.