The Spring 2018 Career Fair held this past February at NJIT’s new Wellness and Events Center (WEC) was alumna Whitney Randolph’s first time back on campus since she graduated from the university with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering in 2017. The reason for her visit was not to look for a job, but rather to find job candidates, as a recruiter for her employer, Getinge. Randolph is a production engineer at the global medical technology company.
“Being on the other side…I was anxious, I was excited, I was nervous,” she said of the experience. “But being in the WEC was absolutely amazing. Being an alumna and seeing NJIT growing was absolutely amazing.”
Randolph, who had attended career fairs as a student, sought out the opportunity to represent and help recruit for Getinge, which was looking primarily for interns, co-ops and a few full timers for a new two-year rotational program. “Graduating from NJIT, I know that the students here are capable of being great employees,” she remarked. “I thought that it was awesome to be an actual engineer from the company recruiting, because a lot of students ask questions like ‘what do you do on a daily basis?’ and sometimes the recruiter doesn’t have the answer for that…I did and I loved it!”
Also returning to NJIT for the first time since graduating to recruit at the career fair was Nick DeSantis ’17, a mechanical engineer at Mack Boring & Parts Co., a diesel engine distributor. His company was searching for an engineering intern as well as a mechanical engineer who could produce and comprehend SolidWorks designs and fabrication drawings.
“I was extremely impressed by the new facility and look forward to being back there in the future,” said DeSantis, who earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering technology (MET) at NJIT. “And I know the hands-on experience that MET students receive [there] and that is very important to our company.”
According to Jane Gaertner, associate director of employer relations, NJIT’s Career Development Services, alumni volunteering to recruit for their employer at their alma mater has been a growing trend over the past few years. It’s a movement that has proven to be a successful strategy for organizations to secure talent. Approximately 100 NJIT alums now participate in the university’s career fairs as recruiters.
“More corporations are sending their recent alums back to campus to create a recruiting relationship with their peers, with whom they may have shared a dorm room or classroom in the last year or two. The peer-to-peer relatability greatly impacts a current student’s understanding of the job and company they are considering for employment,” pointed out Gaertner.
As for the alumni recruiters themselves, they “love to come back to campus not only to see their friends and professors, but to brag about the cool things they are learning and doing at their organization,” Gaertner noted.
Familiarity with the university is indeed an advantage of having alumni recruit, for both employers and NJIT. Alumni understand the value that NJIT students can bring, and can also offer prospective employees a firsthand account of their company’s culture and opportunities.
DeSantis said his knowledge of NJIT helped with recruiting for Mack Boring, “because I had an idea of what to expect from the students experience-wise.” Randolph agreed and added that she was able to put students at ease, telling them, “I was literally on your side eight months ago. You don’t have to give me your elevator speech. Just talk to me.”
Getinge did wind up recruiting students from the Spring 2018 Career Fair, some of whom Randolph worked with in her department at the company. She plans to recruit again at future NJIT career fairs, as does DeSantis, who offers the following advice to students seeking an internship, co-op or job: “Working in the real world is not just about book knowledge…Being able to have a comfortable conversation, talking about yourself in a comfortable and confident way is extremely important. Also, enthusiastic yet simple follow-up emails go a long way.”