Business students forgo on-campus recruitment

Many Commerce students seek alternate routes to employment

On-campus recruitment (OCR) begins in September for fourth-year Commerce students.
On-campus recruitment (OCR) begins in September for fourth-year Commerce students.
Credit: 
Supplied by Miguel Gentile

As September begins, so does a rush of on-campus recruitment (OCR) for fourth-year Queen’s commerce students — but some are choosing to forgo the program for independent job searches.

Recruitment season spans the first two months of the fall term. It typically begins during Orientation Week with mock interviews as well as LinkedIn and resume workshops.

During this time, a variety of companies — around 50-60, according to Commerce Society (ComSoc) President Ana Lopez — come to network with students and recruit full-time and summer employees.

OCR sees 20 per cent of students sign onto full-time employment after graduation, according to Andrea Cuthbert, the associate director of Corporate Relations for the Business Career Centre.

Some students, however, say the process is too early in the year and may result in missed opportunities in more relevant fields.

Duncan Seston, ComSoc’s corporate relations officer, chose to forgo the process when searching for summer employment last year and for full-time employment this September.

In both instances, Seston, Comm ’16, landed employment — first in the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) private equity division and then full-time at the Bank of Montreal (BMO).

There are the “four major streams” of commerce, Seston said: finance, accounting, marketing/sales and consulting.

Although he’s focused on finance, Seston said on-campus recruitment may be falling short outside of these four areas.

“Most of the top firms in those fields will come to recruit graduates, which is great if you’re someone looking to go into those streams,” he said. “If you’re not particularly enamoured by one of those streams, it is sort of a challenging process.”

Seston said the Business Career Centre has recognized the issue, however, and is working to bring a more diverse range of recruiters to campus.

Students may choose bigger recruiters for the job security over pursuing their interests via “independent pathways”, he added.

“These are companies that your parents, my parents, would know. Their names are what we’d call relatively ‘safe’ names to start your career,” he said.

There’s also considerable pressure placed on Commerce students to attend the on-campus recruiting events due to the safety and security of early job offers, he said.

“Even though that might not be your dream job, the fact that someone’s coming and knocking on your door, interested in hiring you, means [to some] that you should absolutely be participating.”

However, he says the process can make students less ambitious when searching for other jobs, and going back on a signed offer is “not common practice by any means.”

“Once you sign, you’re basically locked in.”

ComSoc President Ana Lopez also chose to forgo the recruitment period for alternative employment routes.

Lopez, Comm ’16, said the early recruitment process, which “gets a bit earlier every year”, puts an unhelpful strain on students.

“I think students feel pressured to apply to these jobs right away, whether or not they’ve given a lot of thought into whether this industry or company is right for them,” Lopez said.

Despite that, she says the recruitment process is still successful in finding students employment, especially those seeking jobs in the four major streams.

Lopez secured employment through her own networking efforts, which landed her an internship with Shopify in e-commerce software. She found the internship through a conversation she struck up with a panelist at a conference, who she discovered was the Vice President of Business Development at Shopify.

Lopez added that such an unconventional approach to employment isn’t for everyone.

“It’s difficult to take that route if you’re a risk averse person,” she said.

“I think it’s a culture thing. It’s difficult if you see all your friends getting jobs in September, if you’re not comfortable pursuing something a little less stable.”

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