Sophomore summer recruiting continues remotely

by Lorraine Liu | 6/26/20 2:00am

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by Saphfire Brown / The Dartmouth

As members of the Class of 2022 start their summer classes online, some of them will also begin the process of virtual corporate recruiting in the hopes of securing an internship for their junior year. This summer, students can apply to 46 recruiting programs representing 38 different employers on Dartboard. 

According to interim director of the Center for Professional Development Monica Wilson, there has been a “small reduction” in the number of employers that the CPD is working with this summer because of the economic downturn that companies are facing due to the pandemic. 

“It’s both the economic impact and [the companies’] ability to orient and train interns and new hires,” Wilson said. “Because doing everything remotely is a complete change for them as to how they are bringing on board new hires, it’s very different.”

However, Wilson added that the CPD expects to see “heavier recruiting” after this summer as employers become more confident of their needs. She also noted that the CPD is “actively encouraging” employers to consider hiring fall, winter and spring interns, and added that some companies seem to be “a little bit more receptive” to the idea than others.

Daniel Reitsch ’16, who currently works at TD Securities, said that although his company is only offering summer internships right now, he has tried to push the company to take interns during other seasons. 

Companies have implemented new measures, like Zoom coffee chats and online informational sessions, to adapt the in-person process of recruiting to a virtual format. Recruiter for Mastercard Elise Meltzer Kliman said that while her company cannot come to Dartmouth’s campus to recruit student interns this year — as it has done in the past — the virtual format allows more students to attend informational sessions to learn about the company.

“You’re tied to the restrictions on the software platform rather than room capacity,” Meltzer Kliman said.

Some companies have taken action to ensure the equity of the recruiting process. Meltzer Kliman noted that for mass virtual events, her company offers the option to use a telephone to dial in. Alexis Montagano, who recruits for Citigroup, wrote in an email statement that her company is able to conduct interviews via phone if students do not have internet access.

Some companies already recruited interns in a mostly-virtual form prior to the pandemic. While Meltzer Kliman said that her company needed to set up virtual recruiting workshops, coffee chats and information sessions, Reitsch said that the recruiting components of his company were mostly unchanged since it had not conducted on-campus interviews in the past. He said the only element that will change is “superday” — the final rounds of interviews. He said that it used to take place in New York City, but can now only be conducted virtually. 

Montagano wrote that because her company already adapted to the virtual format of recruiting in spring, the recruiting teams are “well-equipped” to handle the process over the summer. Montagano added that despite the ongoing pandemic and its economic impact, the number of interns that her company plans to take next summer has remained unchanged. Reitsch said his company will increase the number of internships offered because the company is still in “growth mode” and has performed well throughout past and current financial crises.

Chris Jun ’22, who plans to participate in corporate recruiting while taking three classes this summer, said he will miss the interpersonal aspects of going through virtual recruiting. However, he also noted that going through the process at home provides him the flexibility to attend many virtual events.

“Since I’m at home, none of my other extracurricular [activities] on campus are really taking my time,” Jun said. “Even if I have a class right after [the recruiting events], it’s just a question of switching Zoom links, so that’s not a big of a deal.”

Wendy Zhang ‘22, an economics major who plans to participate in corporate recruiting while taking classes this summer, said she sees both advantages and disadvantages in virtual corporate recruiting. She pointed out that while being at home allows her more flexibility to work on resumes and cover letters and prepare for interviews, the loss of human contact during an interview prevents her from reading the body language of the interviewer and forming a closer connection.

Sophie Smith ’20, who secured an internship at financial services group Nomura for her junior summer, said that going through corporate recruiting virtually might make it easier for students to focus on the tasks without distractions from campus activities, though she added that not all students have the same home environment.

“[A] hallmark of my experience doing corporate recruiting over summer was it felt like I was always trying to balance that with other aspects of campus life,” Smith said.

Zhang added that going through corporate recruiting on campus might be more stressful than the virtual process because of the more explicit peer pressure.

“If you see your peers on campus looking like they're all getting ready for interviews and dressed up in suits and blazers, I feel like that can be really nerve racking,” Zhang said. “When you’re just at home by yourself, it shields you from all the outside noise.”

Smith noted that one element that she thinks will be missing from virtual recruitment is the sense of bonding that she created with her peers while preparing for interviews, although she also said students can prepare together through virtual platforms and make connections in a different way.

“It’s kind of intimidating when you see everyone running around with their formal attire on,” Smith said. “But there’s definitely also a camaraderie that comes along with that because you kind of develop relationships through exploring the process ... together.”

Wilson said the CPD has developed virtual workshops and coaching sessions to help students prepare for the recruiting process. She stressed that while the applications are competitive, as typically only 10 to 15 percent of the students who go through the process secure internships, students are encouraged to look at opportunities outside of the recruiting program to explore their career interests.

“Everyone has their own unique talents,” she said. “And it’s finding your niche and knowing how to present yourself to your best ability.”

Zhang is a member of The Dartmouth business staff.