In the past, job fairs like the one held Wednesday in Rep. Jackie Speier's Peninsula district would have normally featured mostly seasonal or part-time jobs, but that's fast changing as the economy sees the beginning of the recovery of jobs lost during the recession.
In San Mateo, more than 1,200 applicants showed up Wednesday. It was by far, the largest of 10 job fairs that Congresswoman Speier has sponsored. More than 1,200 people showed up to meet a record-setting 60 recruiters and it appears to be a reflection of a strong rebound in Bay Area hiring.
"You still need to have a really sharp skill set to find the best job, your goal, your dream job. But I do think there is employment out there and that's turning. That's changing," said Rep. Speier's Deputy District Director Katie Ferrick.
The region added about 9,600 jobs a month last year according to a new report by the Bay Area Council. That puts us at 3.3 million jobs, matching the workforce in 2008 before the recession, and falling just 300,000 jobs short of the 3.6 million jobs at the height of the dot-com boom in 2001.
"It's always nice when you can have an event like this where you can come and meet someone face-to-face, hand them your resume, and have a little conversation," said job applicant Beth Villa.
Face-to-face recruiting fell out of favor during the recession when recruiters were flooded with applications. That could change as the job market transforms from a recruiter's market to a job seeker's market.
"We're not quite there yet. I'd say that we're on the cusp. I do believe if we continue to grow here in the Silicon Valley area like we have been, I do think the scales will turn and I think that employers will find themselves having to rethink about how they attract and retain quality talent," Wayne Rainey , a recruiter.
Employers are even turning to posting jobs on smartphones. "They can look for jobs not only when they're at home, but when they're at a bus stop or if they're at a laundry mat or in between chores. They can really quickly see what jobs are available and then get their resume to the top of the pile," said Proven CEO Pablo Fuentes.