Employers critique internship and job fair attendees

Lisa Davala

Senior marketing major Natasha Brobst spoke with Karen Eitzman from Consolidated Graphics at the career and internship fair yesterday. “I graduate in December, and I’m looking for a job to get started,” Brobst said. Glennis Siegfried | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

At the internship and career fair yesterday, students and alumni dressed up, gave their 30-second “power greeting” and had their final resumes in hand. So what did the recruiting companies think?

Louis Berrodin, director of recruiting and development for Northwestern Mutual Financial Network, has recruited at Kent State internship and job fairs for the past six years.

As a veteran of the fair, he had tips to share, along with jokes about the only thing needing improvement is the provided lunch that was a “two on a scale of seven.”

“One difference this year was in the quantity of employers,” Berrodin said. “There were also slightly less people than past years, but the quality improved. The decrease was OK though, because it’s quality over quantity in the end.”

Dan Schreckengost, senior business management major, had a different idea toward the decrease of employers attending the fair.

“The face-to-face interview was good for experience,” Schreckengost said. “But I also think that compared to the past two to three years, there were less companies overall and less big name companies.”

Walking around the ballroom, attendees were clad in business suits, dresses, some fashion-forward styles and. sweats.

Those in the jeans and sweats stuck out among the rest. According to the Career Services Center, one of the most important preparations for an interview is to dress professionally.

“When someone walks up to my table in sweat pants, I automatically dismiss them,” Berrodin said. “I have a low tolerance at career fairs for poor dressing. For me, it’s a first interview.”

Professional fashion faux pas don’t necessarily ruin a first impression, however.

“A guy came up to me in jeans and a shirt and tie,” said Justin Maciak, a representative for First Investors Corp. “I don’t think that is the right attire, but I talked to him for about 20 minutes, and he’s a pretty good candidate for what I’m looking for.

“Aside from that, people need to dress professionally. If you’re serious about finding a position, look professional.”

Maciak does the “hiring, firing and training.” He knows what his company is looking for in a job candidate.

He said his company hires from all majors. Maciak’s own major was finance, but he said they’ve interviewed fashion merchandising majors and hired psychology majors.

“What I look for most in a candidate is that they are a people person overall,” Maciak said. “They need to handle themselves well. I can teach them what they need to know about finance, but it is impossible to teach someone to be comfortable in front of people.”

Jaclyn Hennessy and Mindy Malone, market managers for Sherwin Williams, attended their first Kent State internship and job fair.

“I’m very impressed,” Hennessy said. “Some are so professional and excited to get their careers started.”

Malone said they received a couple handfuls of resumes that they would like to get back to people about. She said they had a “pretty good group” of people come through, but are ultimately looking to see what the person’s personality is like and what they can bring to the table.

“We can tell who is prepared when they come up to us,” Malone said. “People who are nervous, it shows through. They don’t seem as prepared as the next person who comes up, and it’s apparent they have practiced their introduction.”

Most companies at the fair gladly took resumes to review and use as applications. They had good things to say about the quality of work put into the ones they saw. On the other hand, companies like American Greetings and JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts request applicants fill out online profiles and send resumes.

“Basically the job fair is a nice semi-interview process, but 90 percent of the people don’t really care about your resume,” Schreckengost said. “They want you to apply online. I don’t understand the point of a job fair if they all just tell you to apply online. I can do that without going to ours.”

Contact alumni affairs reporter Lisa Davala at [email protected].