One day, while working at my first job out of college, I was contacted by my friend Ashish. He was once again going recruiting up at Virginia Tech, and was looking for folks to go with him.
Naturally, I volunteered.
It was surprisingly nerve-wracking being on the opposite side of the interview table. This was only about a year or so after my own interview, so I didn’t really feel qualified to be interviewing candidates myself.
Furthermore, the Computer Science department was hosting a panel for a class (Professionalism in Computing) where the class would ask questions and the panelists would give answers. Ashish wanted me to be on the panel.
To be honest, I felt like I was on trial yet again, a year after passing the interview and getting the job!
It all went amazingly though. I found I enjoyed talking to students (well, most of them), and I really enjoyed being on the panel. I felt like it was an opportunity to tell students the things I wish I had been told when I was in their shoes. I got great feedback from my fellow panelists, as well as the class’ professor (the same professor I took that class from when I was a student), all who said I did an excellent job and asked me to come back for the next one.
Eventually, the company hired a full-time university recruitment team. The company’s presence at the career fairs got bigger and more elaborate, and we branched out to sponsoring scholarships and tech talks…it became a whole thing. And twice a year, I would make the drive up to Blacksburg to be a part of it. At one point I felt like I was the one training the recruiter, since I’d been attending those career fairs for several years and I knew exactly how they should go.
I only stopped going to the career fairs when I moved to New Zealand. I sometimes do miss those times. Maybe one day my current company will start doing university recruiting and I’ll get a chance to do it again.
I really appreciated the opportunity to do it, though. I would not describe myself as a people person at all, and certainly after a day of working the career fair booth talking to student after student I’d feel exhausted. But I do love helping people, teaching them, and enabling them to be better, and I felt like that was something I got a chance to do there.
College recruiting is one of the things I’m glad I said “yes” to!