Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Virtual recruitment connects students to distant jobs

The Student Engagement Center (SEC) at Whitman College has launched a virtual recruitment program to help get students jobs after college.

The virtual recruitment program was formed in response to representatives from companies in large cities where Whitman alumni move after graduation not wanting to travel to Walla Walla. Virtual recruitment allows students easier opportunities to connect with desirable employers who they may otherwise overlook.

Students are alerted to events by emails to students, and event details are also posted on the SEC’s recruitment blog. Sessions usually take place during the lunch hour, as the recruiters give a remote presentation and answer questions over a conference call.

“We use Skype or Google Hangout to dial the recruiter in. Some recruiters still come on campus, but we do not have the critical mass [of potential applicants] for the Amazons and Facebooks. [But] if they can recruit here at zero cost to them, why wouldn’t they?” said Kim Rolfe.

As the director for business engagement at the SEC, Rolfe led the development the virtual recruitment program. She started developing virtual recruitment opportunities in the spring of 2014 with student senior Bill Landefeld.

“Bill was looking at different recruitment options while working in the SEC. [Virtual recruitment] seemed to be the most accessible. This program creates a lot of opportunity,” said Rolfe.

Since the recession in 2008, most job recruiters have cut back on-campus recruiting, especially in small towns such as Walla Walla. Rolfe’s reasoning for creating the virtual recruitment program was simple.

“These virtual sessions open the door for Whitman students to get connected to employers, which otherwise might not happen because of the awesome but isolated location we are in,” said Rolfe.

Noah Leavitt, the associate dean of student engagement, helped create Rolfe’s position of director for business engagement to increase the SEC’s ability to connect student with future employers. During his time at the SEC, he has found many students want to moves to major cities after college.

“Whitman understands that there are lots of things you can do with a liberal arts education. You can go in almost any direction you want, and so for a long time the college has had a certain slice of the professional world accounted for. Kim [Rolfe’s] position is to expand the range work opportunities for students, so that we can support them in terms of moving forward after graduating,” said Leavitt.

Senior Luke Hedlund has attended multiple virtual recruitment sessions.

“I think it is significant to have someone on the screen instead of in person and is less meaningful. You cannot stand out to the recruiter. These sessions are real good for learning information about a potential company. They are also more convenient for the employers and for us students,” said Hedlund.

The SEC is still refining the virtual recruitment program since it is relatively new, but it will play a big part in future years.

“We are just scratching the surface. We have done seven [events] so far. We will end up with 25 to 28 [recruitment events]. Around a third will come virtually,” said Rolfe.

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