Campus Recruiting 2008-2009: "Employers are in the Driver's

Published: Jul 21, 2009

 Job Search       

If you'veread a newspaper or talked to a laid-off friend or family member, you know howdire the employment market is.  And forstudents looking for an internship or full-time position after graduation, itmust be even more daunting—with no experience navigating a healthy market, howwill they know how to navigate an unhealthy one?  In Vault's recent survey of undergraduate andMBA employers from a variety of industries all over the country, theapproximately 150 respondents seemed to be in agreement: the current state ofthe economy is having a significant impact on campus recruiting.  In particular, many companies have seen asignificant shift in their interactions with candidates. 


As onerespondent noted, "The employers, for the first time in a long time, arein control of the market."  With somany applicants for each position, the lucky employers with spots to fill havemore say in who gets hired and how than they had in previous years.  Based on Vault's survey, it seems thatcandidates are acutely aware of this, too. Like a bachelor or bachelorette whose romantic prospects are dwindling,many candidates are becoming less choosy about their employment prospects.  Employers told us that candidates thisrecruiting season are quicker to commit and are "lowering their standards"in terms of position and location. Additionally, recruiters are encountering fewer counteroffers fromcandidates.  One respondent painted avery rosy picture for employers: "We find applicants are much moreinterested in the jobs and very eager. We are hiring more and better people and we have raised the bar on thetype of person we hire." 


Ouradvice to the Class of 2009: be open-minded about the type of opportunities youare willing to pursue. 


Thefollowing are quotes from the employers who took our survey:


Question: Have you noticed any difference in the percentage ofstudents (both undergrad and MBA) accepting your job offers from the same timelast year (2007-2008 school year)?


"Wehave noticed more students accepting our offers earlier in the season."


"Studentsare excepting at a higher rate, perhaps due to lack of other options instrained economic times."


"Techgrads, not much change.  Business andliberal arts, much higher acceptances."


"Nearlydouble the acceptance rate."


"Wehave a lot more applicants for unpaid internships."


"Notso much an increase in the acceptance rate as that is typically very good, butwe are finding that they are accepting much more quickly."


"Stillseems to be very competitive in engineering fields."


"Lastyear we had an acceptance rate of 58.5 percent; this year, we're enjoying an 83percent acceptance rate."


"Stillseems to be very competitive in engineering fields."


"Higherconversion [from interns to full-time employees], fewer cross offers."


"Undergraduateoffer yield was the same.  MBA hire yieldincreased significantly."


"Theyare accepting much more quickly!"


Question: Have you noticed any differencefrom past years in the attitudes of millennial candidates because of thecurrent economy?


"Wehave received few if any counters from students."


"[They]seem to understand economic climate and difficulty of finding a job."


"Recruitsare relieved to find a job when all they hear about is the high unemploymentrate and layoffs common in today's economic climate."


"Theyseem to have more realistic expectations."


"Theyseem to be recognizing the strain on economy and not negotiating as we haveseen in the past."


"Wehave people who have much higher professional qualifications."


"[Recruitsare] taking first offer because of unstable economy."


"Itseems that even more candidates for internships are looking for somewhere thatoffers a great opportunity to become a full-time associate after graduation."


"[Studentshave] less desire to shop around for a job and [are] more likely to take theoffer that is on the table."


"Candidateswere more willing to accept any location rather than being picky about wherethey were placed."


"Themajority of the students understand the big picture and have become moreflexible regarding position and location."