Students Connect with Companies, Recruiters Find Qualified Talent Pool at Career Expo
Oct. 6, 2014
Verizon campus recruiter Stephen Najemian knows he will find prospective employees among students and alumni of The University of Texas at Dallas.
“UT Dallas breeds a lot of strong engineering talent. We always have a solid volume of candidates come through,” said Najemian, on a break during the Fall Career Expo Days, Sept. 25-26.
“It makes sense for us to have you on the short list of college fairs we attend,” he said.
The expo has grown so popular with national, regional and local corporate recruiters that vendor space now sells out months ahead of the event. This year, most companies sent multiple recruiters to review résumés and talk with students and alumni. Some companies reserved a double booth; others sent recruiters on both days, based on their hiring needs.
Organizers reconfigured the setup in the Activity Center gym this year to squeeze in enough booths for 159 companies — the most ever — but 65 companies were still on a waiting list when the doors opened, said Lisa Garza, director of the Career Center.
“Employer registrations are filling up much quicker,” Garza said. “This time we were full an entire two months in advance, which is faster than ever.”
More than 3,300 UT Dallas students and alumni turned out for the expo. That number has grown dramatically in recent years. In fall 2012, about 1,900 students attended what was then a one-day event.
Garza credited the increased interest to a growth in numbers of students as well as the fact that UT Dallas students are serious about academics and finding a job.
Srinath Iyengar, a master’s student in mechanical engineering, said it was his second time at Career Expo Days.
“It’s a good way to start talking with employers even before you have a formal interview,” he said. “And you can follow up with social media after you get a recruiter’s business card.”
Neuroscience junior Chantal Adegoke was so eager to talk to health care companies that she arrived at 8:45 a.m. to claim the first spot in line. Doors didn’t open until 11 a.m.
“It’s my first time at the expo and they told me to get here early,” she said. “I went over my résumé and reviewed the company information so I would know what to ask. I am a little nervous.”
If experience holds true, she will likely walk out with a solid lead on a job. A fall 2013 Career Center survey showed that about 85 percent of UT Dallas graduates had landed jobs or were enrolled in continuing education.
The University’s reputation for academic excellence makes it a top draw, recruiters said. Students in the highly sought-after STEM fields, such as computer science, electrical engineering, information technology management and mathematics, typically make up the largest percentage of attendees.
Katie Sullivan, a recruiter for State Farm Insurance, said the company filled its available internships with UT Dallas students a week before the expo, when recruiters came to the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science’s Intern Fair on Sept. 19.
State Farm recruiters have targeted UT Dallas as a resource to help staff its new information technology center, she said. The company is building a 1.5 million-square-foot campus in Richardson.
But the recruiters were also looking to fill positions in Atlanta, Phoenix and at corporate headquarters in Bloomington, Illinois.
“We’ve had a fantastic response at any event we’ve been to at UT Dallas,” Sullivan said. “The students here have a lot of the skills and competencies we’re looking for.”
The Spring Career Expo will be Feb. 12-13.