Hiring · Hiring engineers

Are campus job fairs a good place to recruit for startups?

Leslie Chen Motivational Guide at Rose Alley Magazine

June 5th, 2015

I'm thinking about hiring on campus. Colleges usually have job fairs at least twice a year for firms to display and hire students and I have a few questions below:

1) Any of you had that experience before?
2) How common is it for startups or small businesses to attend campus job fairs?
3) For those of you who have attended the event, what's your experience like?
4) For those who haven't, what has been preventing you from it - time, budget, resources?

Dan Nicollet Sales & Client Success Director at SVDS - Data Science, Big Data, Data-Driven Business Transformation

June 5th, 2015

Hello Leslie,

Depends who you are trying to hire (assuming software developers or engineers) but if you already have an architect or lead developer, complimenting the team with beginners is OK as long as he/she or yourself feels comfortable giving them direction.

I would aim at code school, not just colleges.  There are more people at code schools with prior work experience and good up-to-date prototyping skills you can use right away.  
1/ I have done that before, it works well but the investment of time and turnover of beginners is higher of course.  This is why you need someone on your core team with experience (architect or lead dev).
2/ Common at code schools.  Fairly common at colleges and regular job fairs.  Who cares anyway, right?  You are an entrepreneur so I am sure you are not trying to follow the common path.
3/ Good experience but come equipped to answer questions about what you are trying to build, accompanied by an engineer or dev from your team if possible, benefits, your company pitch, etc.

Good luck and reach out if you need more info.

Karl Schulmeisters Founder ExStreamVR

June 5th, 2015

in 1982 and 1983 Microsoft doubled in size each from 150 to 600 employees.  The bulk of its hiring came from Steve Ballmer making campus interview visits.

The gotcha is that you are competing for top talent with companies that offer top salaries and good benefits.

The benefit is that you are catching folks at their most entrepreneurial

Leslie Chen Motivational Guide at Rose Alley Magazine

June 5th, 2015

Thank you Dan and Karl for your response!

I'm curious about how many small companies are hiring on campuses as well...I've visited a few campuses during their job fair sessions and don't see that many smaller firms /startups there..and I do hear students talking about wanting to work for a startup. Isn't there a gap? 

Anthony Zeoli Digital Strategy and WordPress Consultant and Trainer

June 5th, 2015

In one of my prior positions, I purchased a booth at the Hofstra University job fair for students. What I found was that, as a small local company, I had to compete with larger regional companies with more brand recognition. So, I had to be more creative about the opportunity with students who are eager to work, but know they need to connect in a company that is going to look good on their resume. They are going to want real world experience and not just get coffee and donuts. If you can offer them a solid opportunity and show them that if they work for you, you can provide them with a great career opportunity, advancement, and sound financial compensation, then you'll do well, I think. [image: photo] *Tony Zeoli* Founder, Digital Strategy Works LLC p:917-705-4700 | e:az@digitalstrategyworks.com | w: http://www.digitalstrategyworks.com | a:4101 Verde Vista Circle, Asheville, NC 28805 From the blog:Digital Strategy Works launches TonyHumphries.com and social media strategy

Leslie Chen Motivational Guide at Rose Alley Magazine

June 5th, 2015

Thanks Anthony, great point!

What was the role you were hiring for back then? Was it a junior developer role or finance/marketing ones? 

I'm debating...what is the best value in hiring a student? And how big is the demand in general for a startup to hire a student? 

Jason Gorham Corporate Executive Recruiter at Aflac

June 7th, 2015

You would be better off trying to connect with a professor at the school and see if they can make recommendations.  It takes a unique self-starter student to work at start-ups so the professors will know what students could accomplish this.