What You Might’ve Missed at NACE14

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Last week, more than 2,000 university recruiters and college career services professionals flew to San Antonio, Texas, to participate in the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Conference and Expo.

They came from all corners of the world (there were even some Aussies representing with an inflatable kangaroo at the opening keynote) and a diverse array of industries, but one thing that united all the attendees was their dedication to helping college students get their careers off the ground.

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Because AfterCollege is all about helping students find jobs, and helping employers find those students, it just made sense for us to be there, too. We had a booth in the expo hall (see photos for proof), our Senior Director of Engagement Jennifer Rutt gave an excellent presentation and facilitated an engaging roundtable discussion on building employer brand through on-campus events, and I was lucky to attend several of the workshops and presentations to learn about best practices from both the recruiting and career services perspective.

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Here are just a few of the key themes that I observed:

  • The legality of offering unpaid internships is a huge concern for employers and career services offices (though not always for the same reasons)
  • Getting senior management involved is HUGELY important for the success of your university recruiting program, whether it’s your internship program or on-campus events
  • You don’t want to rely too heavily on qualitative or quantitative information alone—ideally you should be able to use data to tell a story. Mary Scott’s presentation on student perceptions of employer brand was a great example of blending both types of data. (Mary shares more insights on “toxic recruiting practices” in our interview with her, which you can find here.)
  • Interns really do have a long-term positive impact on a company. Or at least that’s the case at Intel. And they’ve got the numbers to prove it.
  • It’s not enough to just approach recruiting as a transactional exchange. Content and storytelling are becoming an important part of the recruiting landscape.
  • Many career services offices are feeling more pressure than ever to get their students hired after college, provide services for alumni, track metrics, you name it. This means that many of them are reconsidering their traditional approach to their offering (and this could be great news for employers).

 

Since I couldn’t be in all places at once and there were several concurrent sessions (and an Instagram scavenger hunt), I also gathered up some of the highlights from attendees’ and presenters’ Twitter feeds. You can find them in this Storify post.

Were you at NACE14, too? If so, what was a highlight for you? Feel free to share your thoughts, observations, or questions in the comments section below. Hope to see you in Anaheim at NACE15!

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