Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

Limited space in the Statler Hotel forced students to line up outside, waiting to enter Tuesday's career fair.

August 30, 2016

Students Say Early, ‘Cramped’ Career Fair Damaged Networking Efforts

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Dressed in business casual, over 300 students formed long lines outside the Statler Hotel yesterday afternoon, hoping to gain entrance to the first day of Cornell’s Career Fair.

The career fair’s relocation and early date — the event typically occurs in September, in Barton Hall — are “absolutely related” to Barton’s closure this semester for construction, according to Cornell Career Services Executive Director Rebecca Sparrow.

“We looked into some other opportunities and there were no other facilities that were anywhere near big enough that were available,” Sparrow said. The Statler was only able to host the fair on four days, spread out through this week and next week.

Many students expressed frustration with the new venue’s space constraints, which limited the number of students who could be inside the building and restricted companies to one day of attendance with three representatives each.

“The administration did not clearly communicate these limitations, which essentially left many students ill informed regarding which days they should or could attend,” said Leslie Park ’18, who waited outside the Statler for an hour and a half but was not allowed to enter.

Shayra Kamal ’18 — who was also unable to enter — agreed with Park, adding that “most students in line looked stressed, or were complaining about the location change to Statler or were worried about [not having] enough time to interact with recruiters.”

Career Services provided priority tickets for Wednesday’s career fair to students who lined up but could not participate in the event today, according to Sparrow. Organizers also collected resumes to send to employers that students were unable to meet.

Park argued that despite these efforts, students were still denied the ability to network in person.

“This does not address the issue that these students missed the opportunity to personally connect with employers attending today’s career fair,” Park said.

Limited space in the Statler Hotel forced students to line up outside, waiting to enter the career fair.

Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

Students said that overcrowding at the career fair decreased their opportunities to network with employers.

Despite these limitations, company attendance at the fair only decreased “a little bit, but not appreciably,” Sparrow said.

“In terms of recruiting, we’re still seeing the same level of interest in posting jobs and arranging interviews,” she said.

However, due to the career fair’s scheduling issues, some companies — including Goldman Sachs — will conduct their first-round interviews virtually rather than on campus, according to Sparrow.

Sparrow added that Career Services provides students with free rooms in Barnes Hall where they can conduct these remote interviews.

“When students have those scheduled, they can come see us about doing them there instead of in their dorm room or apartment,” she said.

The increased time between the fair also gives students more time for interview practice, Sparrow said.

“Doing it early meant that we didn’t have as much time in advance to help students prepare their resumes, but the upside of that is that we have more time now between the career fair and interviews to help students prepare for interviews,” she said.

Brooke Saccoccio, a recruiter representing TripAdvisor at yesterday’s fair, said that although the venue was “definitely a lot more cramped,” she believes the change in timing only affected the company’s ability to reach out to students prior to the event.

“I think it hurt the students more than it hurt us,” Saccoccio said.