Students Connect with Companies, Recruiters Find Qualified Talent Pool at Career Expo
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.
Student-Veterans Network with Corporate ExecutivesGlobal business senior Chevis Boyd, a Navy veteran, spoke with a recruiter.
UT Dallas student-veterans were given the spotlight at the third annual VETworking Fair and Mixer, held Sept. 24 in the Naveen Jindal School of Management.
About 45 student-veterans at UT Dallas signed up to network with corporate executives from 20 companies and hear about veteran hiring initiatives. Some brought their spouses, who were also invited to the event.
Chevis Boyd, a global business senior who was a petty officer in the U.S. Navy, appreciated the opportunity to connect with several recruiters.
“I think the biggest thing is that it’s nice to see the Veteran Services Center making sure there’s an atmosphere where we can interact with employers,” Boyd said. “This is one of the reasons I’m glad I came to UTD.”
Sponsored by Texas Instruments, the event was coordinated by the Career Center, the Career Management Center and the Veteran Services Center.Greg Neubecker
Shannon Freeze-Flory, worldwide recruiting leader at Texas Instruments, said the corporation recognizes the value of military veterans as potential employees.
“Texas Instruments is dedicated to supporting and recruiting veterans, and we are honored to participate in the UT Dallas VETworking Fair,” Freeze-Flory said. “We understand the importance of connecting student-veterans with our recruiting teams, as veterans often bring leadership skills and experience crucial to roles we hire for.”
Tom Kim, assistant dean of the School of Management and a former Navy lieutenant commander, said military veterans have leadership and teamwork skills along with a proven work ethic that employers find desirable.
Corporate recruiters from Raytheon even spent the afternoon helping to review student veterans’ résumés and offer networking strategy tips before the fair opened, Kim said.
Recruiter Greg Neubecker, a vice president for new product development and marketing at Capital One and a former Navy lieutenant, said he was glad to see UT Dallas being so supportive of military veterans.
“I’ve been passionate about helping veterans since I got out. It was not an easy transition for me, so I love that UT Dallas is being so proactive about it,” Neubecker said.
“Military veterans are hardworking, they’re intelligent, they’re driven and they’re used to working in teams. That just translates to so many jobs.”
Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].