Written by: Ben VanderWert, PHR, SHRM-CP
This year has brought a lot of changes in the way we operate as a community. School days are spent at home for some, most work is virtual, and gatherings with your family and friends are distant. It’s been hard. What we need to keep doing is remind ourselves that we are not alone. We are in this together and together we are learning to be flexible and adjust to what comes next.
As MCL’s Talent Acquisition Manager, meeting and interacting with people is a huge part of my job and most of our talent is discovered by meeting college students at their campus career fairs. Much like schools going to virtual learning, career fairs have changed to virtual as well.
This year, MCL Construction participated in nine virtual career fairs. I have done virtual fairs in the past and they can be challenging. It takes out the in-person interaction and, really, the opportunity to read body language. However, I would never pass up the opportunity to meet with students passionate about his or her next career move. So, I took a little bit of my own advice that I mentioned earlier and tried to be flexible and adjust to what comes next.
MCL Construction opened its new headquarters in June 2020. More than an office space, the building incorporated state-of-the-art technology in nearly every meeting room. The office is equipped with smart labs with interactive screens, video conferencing in collaborative meeting spaces, and conference rooms with wide-lens cameras to virtually bring an entire group to any meeting. Having these resources made adjusting easier and allowed us to connect during a time where we feel disconnected from others.
During each virtual fair, students would sign up for time slots before the fair. Each student was slotted for about 10 minutes of conversation in MCL’s virtual booth. At a traditional career fair, 10 minutes is typically enough time when there are a lot of employers and students jammed into some sort of hall or gymnasium. Since these conversations were just one on one, they felt like a more formal interview than a quick conversation. I found that 10 minutes was not even close to being long enough with most students interested in a career with MCL Construction. But again, we had to adjust. We were able to set up a lot of students with second video conversations and have hired several of them for our summer internship program. We also set up group presentations virtually using our training room’s wide camera.
Going back to that crowded gym with a bunch of employers and students, it can be hard to gauge who is genuinely interested in your company or who just stopped by casually. In a virtual setting, students sought you out ahead of time and prepared to spend time one on one with members of our team. It was clear that students who signed up for our booth were seriously interested in their future in construction management.
There has certainly been a theme with everything going on. In order to be successful in what you are trying to accomplish these days, you need to be agile and adjust where you can. Also, remind yourself you can control what you can and adjust to what you can’t. Thank you to everyone who made that adjustment with us and attended our virtual career fairs. We look forward to seeing some of you over the summer.
About MCL Construction
For many businesses, navigating the entire construction process and knowing who to trust can be overwhelming. At MCL Construction, our people simplify the process by listening, planning, executing, and continuing the relationship to build their vision