Recruiters all ready to snap up students now

by Andy Poon
Staff writer

With the school year barely out of the gates, some employers are already champing at the bit to recruit potential employees from UBC's student body.

"It's a really competitive market out there right now for quality recruits," says Len Orris, a technical recruiter at MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA). He points out that the Richmond-based space company added 150 employees to its 1,500-person workforce in the first six months of this year alone.

With the scarcity of employees to fill the needs of the high-technology sector, companies such as MDA are increasingly becoming more aggressive in their recruiting tactics. This includes placing greater importance on visiting university campuses early in the school year to make sure they have first crack at top students before they graduate.

"Any bridges we can make with students at any time is great," says Orris. "But putting MDA's name in the minds of students as early as possible is good."

The early recruitment drive by companies is something that Julie Stitt, UBC's director of Career Services, has witnessed for the past few years.

"Companies want to scoop up the best and the brightest as soon as possible," says Stitt, acknowledging that many companies want hiring decisions made in their fiscal third quarter so they can better prepare budgets in the final quarter of the fiscal year.

"While a lot of companies still come in the spring to recruit, they want people to sign on the dotted line as early as possible before their competitors," says Stitt.

MDA will be among 31 companies at the Computer Careers Fair Sept. 29 at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts.

Organized by the Computer Science Student's Society, the event gives invited students and prospective employers the chance to meet and establish contacts that could well lead to employment for students after graduation.

Companies such as MDA may visit UBC as many as three to six times a year in an effort to woo the best students.

That's fine with Liz Siddle, the AIESEC career days co-ordinator charged with organizing the society's annual career and educational fair at SUB from Oct. 5-7. AIESEC has teamed up with UBC Career Services this year to bring more than 60 companies and educational institutions on campus.

AIESEC (a French acronym for International Association for Students in Economics and Commerce) is an international student group that organizes international student exchanges.

Alcan Aluminum, Bank of Montreal, Bombardier, Ernst & Young and Seagate Software are some of the companies which will be attending the fair.

Siddle encourages students to bring their resumés to the fair. The event is open to all UBC students. For more information call 604-822-1432.