When students in the College of Agricultural Sciences at Colorado State University sat down with prospective employers this fall, it felt more like speed dating than a job interview. More than 20 employers, representing a broad spectrum of the agricultural industry, traveled to Fort Collins to have dinner with students and to interact with them on a personal level.
“We could have arranged a panel of industry experts or alumni,” said Beka Crocket, who leads the college’s career placement efforts. “But we wanted the students to have an experience that allowed them to get to know potential employers and for the employers to get to know them.”
Large corporations such as JBS and Leprino were on hand, as were smaller organizations such as Rancho Terra Norte, a herding dog training and breeding company, and students were paired with employers in fields that corresponded to their majors. The employers rotated from table to table every 15 minutes, giving the nearly 70 students in attendance a chance to meet with a number of potential employers.
“It was a great way to meet a diverse group of employers and pick their brains about what they are truly looking for when they are hiring or looking for interns,” said Carissa Pickard, a sophomore majoring in animal science.
Employers also found the event useful, as they had the opportunity to speak with many more students than they would in a panel or career fair format. Val Manning, representing Rancho Terra Norte, described the format as “an innovative approach to recruiting,” and Mariah Connor, representing CHS, a farmer-owned cooperative, felt she left the event with “great connections.”
All of the college’s majors were represented at the event, according to Crocket, who anticipates holding a similar event in the spring. “A lot of the work done in agriculture is facilitated by building strong relationships,” said Crocket. “This event helped our students develop their interpersonal skills and begin to form the kinds of relationships that will position them for successful careers.”