After two years of virtual career fairs consisting of chatrooms and telecommunication platforms, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) recruiters returned to the Fredericksburg Expo and Conference Center for the first NSWCDD-sponsored in-person career fair since 2019.
A total of 175 candidates attended the event and recruiters made 27 on-the-spot job offers. Another 100 candidates registered to have their information reviewed by hiring managers in the future in lieu of in-person attendance.
The virtual event in 2021 saw more than 1,900 resumes uploaded into the NSWCDD’s talent acquisition system and nearly 600 entered the booth to chat with recruiters. There were 44 on-the-spot job offers.
There were several positives, however, from the return to in-person, including a longer time to engage with candidates.
“After participating in virtual career fairs for almost two years, it is nice to meet and talk with candidates in-person again,” said Kevin Cogley, the High Power Microwave Weapon Systems Division head. “While we were effective using virtual platforms, there is also real benefit to meeting face-to-face.”
Candidates in attendance dialogued with representatives from Business Operations, Science and Engineering and various technical departments.
In Business Operations, there were opportunities in Accounting, as a Contract Specialist, Environmental/Safety, Facilities, Financial Analysis, General Business, Recruiting, Logistics, Project Management, Procurement, Property Management and as a Technical Department Acquisition Advocate.
Science and Engineering showcased careers in everything from Aerospace Engineering to Biology, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligences.
Candidates were encouraged to find their job category listed on a posterboard guide and determine which department was seeking someone with their skillset.
The in-person format allowed recruiters to work with the candidate to help discover their best fit for a future career. It also enabled the NSWCDD recruiters to learn more about the candidates and the skills they possess.
“I’ve had good recruiting success with NSWCDD-hosted career fairs like this one,” Cogley said. “It allows us to recruit across multiple career points ranging from recent graduates to senior subject matter experts in technical fields.”
For the recruiters, the in-person event was a welcome shift to expand on their camaraderie. They were able to put names to faces once again as most of the Human Resources team, hiring managers and recruiters only conversed electronically since the start of the pandemic more than two years ago.
Hiring managers who were not present at the event received candidates’ information from the recruiters that were on hand. This allowed managers to receive information about candidates and the recruiter’s observations simultaneously. The managers are now able to reach out to candidates directly if they are interested.