Prepping for the Virtual Career Fair

February 17, 2021

Spring 2021 Virtual Career Fair

A virtual career fair is coming up, and employers say Mizzou Engineers are in high demand. The fair on Wednesday, Feb. 24 will connect recruiters from leading companies and public entities with students and alumni seeking jobs, internships and co-op opportunities.

Mizzou Engineering students and alumni are sought after by companies due to the College’s ABET accreditation plus other learned skills, according to Sasha Fischer, senior recruiter for Burns & McDonnell.

“We are in the consulting engineering industry, so we are taking engineering knowledge and sharing that with our clients,” Fischer said. “We look for students that have intelligence in the engineering field but who can also communicate effectively. Mizzou students having strong communications skills, which is pretty important for us.”

Tips for a Successful Virtual Interview

With many interviews currently set in a virtual environment, employers routinely talk to candidates via video conference. Many companies will continue to utilize these virtual environments for interviews as a way to save on expenses.

To perform better in virtual interviews, John Sheptor, technical manager for Kansas City National Security Campus, Managed by Honeywell, suggests treating an interaction much the same as an in-person meeting, but keep in mind the digital environment.

“Practice like it would be a face-to-face interaction. Candidates should still be in professional appearance. Have a camera ready to go without an environment where they might have trouble with audio or the connection,” Sheptor said.

Rob Ashley, technical recruiter for Veterans United Home Loans in Columbia, Missouri, encourages interviewers to take the initiative on conversations.

“Don’t be shy! Schedule however many opportunities you have available. When you jump on, immediately introduce yourself and start the conversation with your questions,” Ashley said. “Applicants should give their name, what they are interested in, and what can they tell me about the company.”

Ashley also encourages applicants to have some knowledge about the company or organization you want to talk to prior to the interview. This will signal to the recruiter you have interest in the company.

Standing Out from Other Applicants

Beyond having a good interview and technical subject knowledge, employers look for additional experiences. These include leadership and volunteer opportunities. Danielle Stetzenbach, campus recruiter for GBA, Inc., looks for passionate individuals who are excited to give back to their community through the work they do.

“Getting involved in clubs, student organizations and philanthropy events are great ways to stand out,” Stezenbach said. “I recommend students to get involved in student chapters of professional organizations that are on your campus. They are a great way to gain insight into your field of study and to get to know professionals in that field.”

For students trying to gain experience prior to an internship, opportunities exist within your coursework to develop skills.

“I regularly see freshman and sophomore students getting involved in design teams. In addition, the class projects they are afforded, which show leadership or technical aptitude to help make a differentiation on internship candidates,” Sheptor said.

Job and internship seekers can explore companies’ current opportunities by registering early. Preregistering will help companies prescreen candidates, allowing organizations to reach out to candidates prior to the Career Fair. All engineering majors can participate and explore current openings, in addition to making connections with participating hiring professionals.