Every year, as part of on-campus recruiting, major companies come to NJIT to interview students for jobs.
NJIT’s reputation in the region is so strong that major employers travel to campus to interview students -- mostly graduating seniors and master’s degree candidates looking to launch their careers. The recruiters interview them one-on-one for 30 to 45 minutes. And many of the students interviewed, in the end, wind up with an offer.
“The companies come to hire, and a good number of students do get hired,” says Patrick Young, who, as Assistant Director for On-Campus Recruitment, arranges the company visits. “During the spring semester of last year,” Young added, “50 companies came to campus to recruit. And most of the companies made a job offer to at least one student they interviewed, while many hired several students.” And this fall, Young adds, even more companies -- about 60 – will recruit at NJIT.
On-campus recruiting works like this: Once a semester, during a two month period, Young invites major corporations, small and medium-sized firms as well as government agencies to campus to interview students for job openings. Before the recruiters arrive, students submit their resumes for the jobs, which are posted on the Career Development Services (CDS) website. The recruiters read the resumes and select the students they want to interview. Recruiters then spend a day in CDS offices interviewing students. Afterwards, they select a few students for second interviews, usually at the company. Then they extend a job offer to the student or students they think most qualified students for the jobs.
On a recent Thursday morning, two recruiters from United HealthGroup (UHG), a major health care company, came to interview students in the CDS offices. United had two job openings – a software developer and a business analyst. The recruiters, Eric Peterson and Thomas Zielinski, interviewed 16 students with a variety of majors -- computer science, information technology and engineering. Last year, UHG hired two NJIT students, both of whom have proven to be excellent employees, said Zielinski, Director of Information Systems at UHG.
“NJIT is one of the top universities in the state for computing sciences and engineering," Zielinski said. “What’s great about recruiting students here is that we can get a programmer, an analyst, or we can hire an engineer who can do both. Both Eric [Peterson] and I are engineers who want to hire students who are problem solvers -- students you can give a problem to and say, ‘figure it out.’ And they’ll figure it out. NJIT has a great curriculum that produces problem solvers. That’s why we’re here.”
The two jobs United HealthGroup is looking to fill, said Peterson, are not ordinary entry-level jobs. Rather, the two students they’ll hire -- a developer and an analyst -- will enter a special management training program. For two years, the two hires will rotate jobs, get special training and work alongside high-level managers. Therefore, Peterson and Zielinski want to hire students who will be committed to long-term careers at UHG.
“Our recruiters also interview students at Princeton, Columbia, Penn State and other top schools,” said Peterson. “The two NJIT students we hired last year, for example, competed against students from those universities. We thought the NJIT students were the best, we hired them, and they are terrific employees. We want more student hires like that.”
The online recruitment program is just one of many ways that the Career Development Service (CDS) staff helps students. Each semester, CDS hosts a career fair that annually brings 300 employers to campus. Career advisers also post 7,000 job openings on its employment database. And through the Cooperative Education and Internship Program, counselors help students find internships and co-ops at companies like Merck, Goldman Sachs and Panasonic. Each semester, career advisers also hold 70 workshops and seminars that help students find jobs. Advisers also work individually with students, helping them edit their resumes, improve at interviewing and refine their job searches.
All of which is of great assistance to students, says Brian Sullivan, a senior who interviewed with Peterson for the business analyst job. Earlier in the semester, Sullivan had attended the NJIT Career Fair and visited the Career Development Services office for advice. He then used the CDS website to submit his resume for the UHG analyst job. He was one of the students chosen to interview with Peterson. The interview lasted 45 minutes, at the end of which Sullivan, a computer science major, looked confident and composed. “The interview was interesting and challenging,” Sullivan said. “I think I did a good job of explaining my background and how I approach problems.”
Sullivan said he worked at jobs in retail and banking while at NJIT, but he’s now looking for his first real job. And he’s grateful for the assistance he’s received from the career counselors.
“On-campus recruiting is great,” he said. “It makes it so much easier to connect with employers. Students spend years studying for their degrees, and after that, the next big step is finding a job. The career counselors help us with all aspects of job searching, which makes the transition from college to career so much easier.”
(By Robert Florida, Office of Strategic Communications)