Reflecting on Campus Recruitment Events as an Employee and Student
By Mike O’Shea, CPA
Quality employee recruitment is an integral part of continuing the success of your company. Building a foundation of strong employees contributes to long-term growth and developing future leaders of the firm. I have been an accountant at Boeckermann Grafstrom & Mayer (BGM) for almost two years and I’ve had the opportunity to go through the recruiting process first as a student and now on behalf of my employer. I will share my experience of going through each of these processes at the University of Minnesota Duluth’s ‘Meet the Firms’ event that BGM recently participated in. As well as offer some advice for students going through the recruitment process.
Two years ago, I was a fifth-year accounting student a couple of months away from graduation, walking into the ‘Meet the Firms’ event. At the event, I had the opportunity to meet and discuss opportunities with a multitude of different companies. While I was slightly nervous, I figured, ‘if nothing else, this is good practice for future job fairs. I struck up a conversation with a gentleman who seemed genuinely interested in getting to know me as a person, rather than just quickly scanning through my resume to see whether I was qualified. This individual’s authenticity stood out to me and I inquired to see what opportunities BGM had available. That individual was BGM Principal, Corey Edmunds. Corey proceeded to interview me on campus that day alongside HR Manager, Kathy Knipp. I have not looked back since. The event gave me an opportunity to get a foot in the door as a Tax Season Intern at BGM, and I am grateful for that.
These events give students and employers the opportunity to meet and converse in a manner a little less formal than an interview. Students are encouraged to dress professionally, as well as prepare resumes, and their own version of the ’30 second elevator pitch’. Employers attend the event to both grow their brand and to recruit future talent.
Fast-forward two years and I’ve now had the opportunity to attend the event from the other side of the table, as a firm employee meeting students. There are a handful of changes that I’ve noticed from when I went through this process as a student. The most prevalent change is the size of the event. In years prior, the event was held in the business school atrium and had roughly 12-15 employers. This year’s event was hosted in a larger ballroom and was made up of well over 30 different employers. Additionally, an encouraging sight to see was the number of underclassmen students at the event. We had several sophomores and even a few freshmen approach our table. This means that the departments and associated Accounting/Finance clubs are achieving active engagement earlier on. When I was a sophomore, I had never heard of the event, let alone considered attending it. I also noticed comfortability within the students. They did not seem intimidated when they would walk up to a booth, but instead were inquisitive. They wanted to learn and take in just as much information about our company as we wanted to know about them. For this, I must give kudos to the UMD faculty.
As someone who has been on both sides of the recruiting equation, I can offer the following advice for students at various points of their college careers:
Freshmen and Sophomores: Try to get involved as early as you can and begin networking. The accounting club at your university is an excellent opportunity to begin building connections among your peers and get exposure with different employers that come in for meetings. The earlier you can begin this process, the easier and more natural the process will become in your later college years.
Juniors-Fifth Year Students: Do your prep work in advance of these types of events. Go to career services and get your resume touched up, research the employers that will be there, and have a plan for the event. Additionally, approach the recruiting events with an open mind. You never know who you are going to meet, and a company that you may not have known much about may blow you away. The last thing that I can say is that you need to have a relentless attitude about the entire recruiting process. Meeting with more companies will give you more chances of getting selected and it will also help you find the company that is best suited for you.
These events are occurring at universities all over the country, and I can say with confidence that they are beneficial for both parties – student and employers. Students can practice core skills for networking and can build relationships with employers that they otherwise may not have access to. Employers have an exceptional opportunity to seek out the potential candidates they are looking for and build awareness about their company and all that comes with it.
Learn more about the opportunities available here at BGM by visiting our Careers page and by reading the recent news post about our Summer Experience Program.
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