campus event recruiting

The 2019 NACE Conference + Expo: A Gen Z Perspective

The 2019 NACE Conference + Expo: A Gen Z Perspective

One of the highlights of my current sales internship at GR8 People was attending NACE19 earlier this month. Working alongside my colleagues at our booth and speaking with college recruiters from across the country about how to improve their campus recruiting outcomes provided a meaningful learning experience, and I loved every minute of it.

Beyond meeting new people, it was interesting to understand what’s on the minds of college recruiters and the professionals who run university career centers. The challenges and opportunities discussed among attendees are wide-ranging and complex. But one of the most common themes I heard over the course of the conference is the need to get more students to attend campus career fairs and hiring events. As a student at Gettysburg College, and one who has already taken advantage of career services, I believe it’s a subject I can shed some light on.

It’s not the event itself, it’s what happens—or doesn’t—after.

It appears many recruiters and career center directors believe that today’s students, in my case the oldest members of Gen Z, have no interest in attending campus events. Yet that hasn’t been my experience, nor that of my friends. I’ve learned a lot from the events I’ve attended thus far, about both the participating companies and the types of jobs that might be of interest when I graduate. The biggest problem from our perspective is that we rarely hear anything after we connect with a recruiter at an event or apply online as instructed—it’s the same “black hole” that experienced job seekers complain about regularly.

This lack of communication leaves students wondering what we did wrong and questioning if attending events is worth our time, especially when we can learn just as much ourselves through online research. When we invest time in an event and in learning more about your company and what you have to offer, we just want to know one way or the other, even if it means being told we’re not the right fit.

Connect with us where we’re at.

To be fair, I realize that many recruiters are frustrated by what they perceive to be a lack of response on our end. Usually, this is because we don’t check our email regularly. It’s really that simple. If you want to get a response quickly, then text us. Self-service options are ideal, too, especially the ability to schedule an on campus interview. What surprised me most when I began working at GR8 People, as well as when I was at NACE19, is that these technologies and tools are readily available. If a company is truly concerned with its ability to attract new grads, then its first step should be to acquire the tools that will support its success.

We want to make the best possible career decisions.

Technology is an essential part of the campus hiring process, but equally important is showing me how my interests and abilities are a fit with the role I’m interviewing for. Providing a detailed job description and talking me through exactly what I’ll be doing and what I can expect on a day-to-day basis is a good start. I want to learn about the company culture and its management, though I usually want to see what current employees have to say, so that means reading online reviews.

Pay is a big factor, and I’m also seeking opportunities for ongoing training and advancement. The bottom line is that after four years of college, not to mention 12 years of schooling, making the right career decision is critical to me and to my friends, and we will be looking to you for help here, too.

See you on campus.

When the time comes to find a full-time job after graduation, I expect to use several resources. LinkedIn is one as its already been useful for researching jobs that relate to what I’m interested in and to set up internships. Indeed and Glassdoor are additional resources I plan to tap into, and I like that they often include average salary ranges for job postings. But I also plan to attend campus hiring events, and I hope to see you there.


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