Companies Lining Up for First Virtual Career Fair

Thursday, April 16, 2020
Students and company representatives at a Rose-Hulman career fair inside the sports and recreation center..

More than 110 companies and organizations have already registered to participate in Rose-Hulman’s first Spring Virtual Career Fair, exceeding the number who attended last year's in-person event.

Although they may be scattered across the country this spring, Rose-Hulman students seeking opportunities in science, engineering and mathematics career fields will gather in one virtual setting to meet prospective employers and graduate schools in the college’s first Virtual Career Fair on April 29, the date a similar in-person recruitment event was originally scheduled on campus.

That was before the coronavirus pandemic sent students off-campus to continue their spring studies online and disrupted the world’s economy.

However, despite the interruptions, there’s still plenty of career options for graduating seniors, according to Scott Tieken, director of Rose-Hulman’s Office of Career Services & Employer Relations.

Tieken points out more than 110 companies and organizations are already registered, including many graduate schools, and the list continues to grow. That’s more than the 72 companies that attended last year’s Spring Career Fair on campus.

Meanwhile, more than 6,600 employers are currently registered on the Handshake online talent recruitment platform and over 4,500 jobs are posted for consideration by Rose-Hulman students.

“We’ve entered a whole new virtual world in career services, and we’re not alone. Employers and graduate schools are right there with us. Everyone is understanding of the situation during these circumstances,” Tieken says. “Students who are actively applying on Handshake are getting results, virtual interviews and have had plant trips.”

The new Virtual Career Fair platform maintains the personal touch that students expect from Rose-Hulman services. Students create a basic profile and upload their resume in advance. Then, on the day of the fair, students can engage employers and graduate schools through a waiting room, with the option of having individual or group chat conversations with recruiters. If things go well, the employer or graduate school has an option to send students a video link for an immediate Skype or Zoom interview session.

The current list of participating employers features companies from across the U.S. seeking to fill current or future openings, including Milwaukee Tool, GE Appliances, Honeywell, Naval Surface Warfare Center-Crane Division, North American Stainless, Raytheon Technologies, Software Engineering Professionals, U.S. Food & Drug Administration and Ultra Services. Several first-time companies are interested in recruiting Rose-Hulman students.

“The virtual environment has attracted some companies that wouldn’t have come to an on-campus event. Actually, we have expanded the base of employers reviewing our student talent pool. There’s a lot of interest in recruiting Rose-Hulman students,” Tieken acknowledged. “Also, many of our students are very comfortable in an online environment. They aren’t intimidated by the virtual process.”

In fact, aspects of virtual recruiting will be expanded in the future to link students with prospective employers and graduate schools.

Interest is high for students with knowledge of data management and systems, computer security/cybersecurity and working in a virtual world. Also, civil engineering majors are needed as the country expands its infrastructure, including road and bridge construction/replacement.

New opportunities are expected to emerge when the current economic conditions recover.

Tieken points out that companies still recognize the need for problem solvers, like Rose-Hulman graduates, to come up with new opportunities to weather these challenging economic conditions. Professionals in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields are the backbone of a company's research and development of new products and services.

The Office of Career Services & Employer Relations has expanded its services to assist students and alumni. Expanded office hours are making career advisers available online to offer assistance and consultation. Student peer advisers will be available online starting April 20 to review resumes and interview skills.