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Campus recruiting increases

Janice Flynn | Tuesday, November 23, 2004

After several years of a stagnant job market, many Notre Dame seniors now find themselves amidst the most active fall recruiting season in recent years.In fact, competitive tactics by employers have forced the Notre Dame Career Center to intervene on the behalf of students being asked to decide on job offers in very short periods of time.This year’s 25 percent increase in recruiting at Notre Dame is particularly welcome after two years of difficult job markets, when students sometimes could not land a job until three months after graduation. The hiring surge can be attributed to the recovering economy and pending retirement of baby boomers, according to The Associated Press.In contrast to previous years, this fall several employers gave job offer deadlines for several days after the initial offer, prompting the Career Center to implement a policy requiring employers to give students at least two weeks to decide.”What was happening was that students were getting job offers on Nov. 3, and were hearing ‘Tell me by the 10th,'” said Lee Svete, director of the Career Center. “If you want to recruit at Notre Dame you will play by our rules.”The Career Center requires students sign a contract stating they will not cancel an interview or renege on job offers, and therefore expect employers to abide by a similar ethical policy.”We feel if we’re holding our students to a high standard we also have to hold the employer to high standard,” said Kevin Monahan, associate director at the Career Center. “The idea of giving a minimal amount of time to make such an important decision … is too much for [students] to do in 48 hours or three days. It’s unfair to the students.”After interviewing with GE Consumer Finance both at Notre Dame and in Connecticut, senior Ryan Brady received an offer and was given 48 hours to respond”I called the Career Center and asked them if that was too short amount of time,” Brady said. The Career Center confirmed his thinking and contacted the company on his behalf. “I waited until I had another offer then declined [GE’s offer],’ Brady said. “They didn’t give me a reason for giving me 48 hours … I’ve had a couple more offers and none of those have been close to that.”Brady said he has not heard back from the individual recruiter who made the offer, but that GE Consumer Finance said such immediate deadlines were not company policy.While the problem has not been unmanageable, the Career Center received at least a dozen calls from students in this situation. In general, employers have cooperated with the Notre Dame policy. Svete also emphasized students are expected to be honest with employers and should not “shop around” for offers, although it has not yet been an issue, he said.While such undue pressure on students is regrettable, it indicates a healthy job market. The fall recruiting season has traditionally been favorable for business majors because accounting, consulting and investment banking firms tend to hire early. However, with more positions to fill, employers now have increased flexibility to look at students in many majors as well. Consulting firms and investment banks have been interviewing Notre Dame students with science, engineering and liberal arts backgrounds.”Instead of hiring just five students, now [employers] are hiring 20,” Monahan said. “There’s a little bit more room to say [for example], ‘We’d like to see 10 business majors, five engineers and five liberal arts majors.'”While accountants are generally in demand, even accounting firms increased hiring this fall, some by as much as 30 percent, according to The Associated Press. But Notre Dame accounting students have typically few difficulties securing jobs, sometimes more than a year in advance.”Virtually all of our students get jobs, and really good jobs, upon graduation. It’s very predictable in terms of hiring,” said Thomas Stober, assistant chair of the department of accounting. “We’ve been fortunate at Notre Dame in being able to place our graduates, whether it’s a big class or small one.”Other business majors are still waiting for the promise of the hiring boom. Senior Ruben Peña, a marketing major, said although he has been invited to several rounds of interviews, he has yet to receive an offer.”Quite a few of my finance and accounting buddies have gotten offers already, but a bunch of my marketing buddies are in the same boat as me,” he said. The Career Center stressed that while students should stay abreast of the fall opportunities, the spring semester is also a major recruiting season. Peña also said that a quick decision about a job offer would be difficult for him.”If I got an offer from a company right now, it would be the only one I’ve gotten,” he said. “How could I say yes or no and commit without comparing it to other offers? It’s tough.”