Dec '11/Jan '12

Student Life

Students in mining: how to attract the best and brightest

By R. Tottle

As the mining industry evolves, so does the employment rate, calling for a higher demand of summer interns and new graduates. Students are always looking for ways to stand out and get companies to take notice. Countless hours go into filling out resumes and applications in hopes of landing that coveted interview and, ultimately, a job. On the other end of the spectrum, companies are in need of students, so what should they be doing to recruit the best and brightest?

Companies must maximize their exposure to maximize their reach. One of the most effective means of reaching us is through career fairs – often held at universities and colleges – at which companies host seminars promoting the advantages of working for them. Typically, students are more inclined to participate in on-campus events than travel to an off-site venue.

Open and honest communication is a key component when recruiting. Often, the very thing a company is looking for in a student is what a student is looking for in a company. We like career fairs because they are more effective than an impersonal pamphlet or corporate cheat sheet. Being able to speak one-on-one to a representative gives us students an idea of where we might fit within an organization. We need to see ourselves in a position and we want to know who we will be working for. For example, companies using the latest technology are extremely appealing to us, as are organizations that operate in an environmentally, socially and economically responsible way.

So what do students want to know? Giving basic, yet thorough, information about the company’s mission, as well as a complete job description, will attract more serious candidates. Having testimonials on hand from previous student interns is also useful when recruiting; reading about our counterparts’ past experiences will help us in making informed decisions. Students also want to know where a position may lead, as it helps plan for the long term and set personal goals. Explaining the benefits of working for your company is intriguing, especially those related to work-life balance, as this is something that is important to most students who are transitioning into the working world.

What comes after the fair is over? Staying connected. Sending us news about the company – such as new projects or progress reports of current projects – keeps us up to date about what is happening at your organization. Using social networking websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, is also a great way to fill us in on news and important deadlines.

Overall, companies and students share the same need: finding the right “fit.” As many industries are dealing with a growing HR crisis, a plethora of opportunities will become available to students. Mining companies will need to go the extra mile to ensure they are attracting the best students. I believe it can be achieved by making an effort to understand the needs and preferences of the next generation of professionals and connecting with us through effective channels.

Rebecca Tottle is a second-year mining engineering student at Queen’s University.

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