The On-Campus Recruiting Program, run by the Center for Career Education (CCE), is designed to provide students the opportunity to attend employer information sessions and participate in on-campus interviews. Information sessions are a great way for students to learn more about an organization and its opportunities, as well as network with Columbia alumni and business professionals. Information sessions are posted on the CCE web calendar and are often linked to specific interview schedules in LionSHARE. Student organizations and academic departments also host employer information sessions, so be sure to read department and club emails to stay informed.
Why should I go?
Attending an employer’s information session will allow you to:
- Assess the company and its culture
- Gain insight into various career paths
- Learn about available positions and qualities they look for in candidates
- Connect with Columbia alumni and business professionals
All of this adds to the information available on the company website and in the job posting. It is also a great opportunity for you to make a personal connection within a company. These actions ensure that you are informed and can speak thoughtfully about the organization in your cover letters and interviews.
What should I expect from attending an employer information session?
Many companies hold information sessions on campus in order to promote the company, share information regarding their current job or internship opportunities and offer more information about their organization’s culture.
Most information sessions range from one to two hours long and consist of a company presentation where current employees explain the values and mission of the company, recent projects, company culture and their hiring process; followed by a Q&A and an opportunity for students to network with recruiters or Columbia alumni working at the company.
How should I prepare?
You will maximize your experience if you do a little background research on the company, and job opportunities it has posted on LionSHARE and their own career pages. Gather information regarding industry trends and be aware of some of the company’s competitors. It is also a good idea to bring copies of your resume in case they are being collected at the event.
What should I do while I’m there?
Arrive on time and pay attention to the presentation. Take notes so you can use the information to enhance your application materials. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the company, recruitment and interview process but avoid posing questions that could be easily answered through research on the company website. It is also not appropriate to talk on the phone or text during the presentation. During the Q&A and the networking portion, be respectful of employer’s time and do not dominate the conversation if there are other students around.
What do I wear?
Business professional (suit) is typically recommended unless otherwise specified in the calendar listing. Some organizations do not require business attire and they will typically indicate such information in their event description. See our tipsheet for more information.
I have a scheduling conflict. Do I have to stay the whole time?
Recruiters are aware of students’ hectic schedules. If you arrive on time, but have to leave early, it is proper etiquette to speak to the recruiter/presenter beforehand to let them know. If you arrive late, connect with them afterward and explain that you had a conflict prior to the start of the event.
Will the company representative remember me? Should I follow up?
Company representatives will remember you if you make a good impression and participate in other networking opportunities (e.g. Career Fairs, Networking Receptions). It is important to collect business cards or contact information for follow up. A short email or LinkedIn message is always appropriate, just to say that you enjoyed meeting them and that you learned a lot at the information session. Be sure to reference something specific you learned from the session or through the conversation. If you connected particularly well with someone at the event and would like to speak to him/her further, it might be appropriate to request an informational interview.