Career fair sign-ups met with technology issues

A digital flyer shows the dates of the 2020 all majors career fair. The career fair, which is usually a large in-person event, is shifting to a digital mode this year. // Photo courtesy of the Georgia Tech Career Center

The College of Computing (CoC) Virtual Career Fair got off to a rocky start this past Wednesday, Aug. 19, as hundreds of students flooded the fair to sign up for opportunities to speak with recruiters.

The CoC chose Career Fair Plus, a mobile and web application, for conducting this fall’s career fair. Companies that have registered for the fair can offer virtual meeting times for students to talk with recruiters and submit their resumes. Students were allowed to begin registering for these time slots on Aug. 19, nearly a month before the fair is slated to take place on Sep. 16.

Students were met with a variety of issues as soon as registration opened. Career Fair Plus suffered from high latency problems, with students reporting long loading times for companies’ lists of available time slots. Many students who were able to see the companies’ availability reported that the app could take as much as 5 minutes to respond to their attempts to register for a slot. The extremely high volume of students using the platform meant that popular companies such as MongoDB or Bank of America ran out of available slots within a short time after registration opened. Additionally, the Career Fair Plus platform only allowed students to create accounts and to register for time slots with recruiters via the mobile application. The list of companies attending the virtual fair could be seen on the web interface, but registration and account creation weren’t possible through the web app. Some students tried for as long as 40 minutes to sign up for slots without success, due to either lack of availability or issues with the platform.

Christen Steele, Director of Computing Career Services at the CoC, has been in communication with students regarding the virtual career fair for several weeks. In a conversation with the Technique, Steele emphasized that the CoC was attentive to students’ issues with the Career Fair Plus platform. She urged students to report any performance issues to the platform directly in order for improvements to be pushed out faster. Steele also noted that while she is optimistic about companies adding more time slots in the time leading up to the fair, recruiters’ availability is ultimately out of the hands of the Institute.

The computing industry has traditionally been one of the most robust job markets, but the COVID-19 pandemic has caused layoffs and hiring freezes even in the computing sector. Steele acknowledged that students may be feeling a sense of uncertainty and apprehension as they begin their job search. She noted that students may have to adjust their expectations for what jobs may be available, but that there is still plenty of opportunity for students of all years. She cited insurance and health care as two sectors in particular which could provide opportunities for students. Her recommendation for all students who are looking for a job or internship this fall: “Apply, apply, apply!”

The all majors career fair, hosted by the Tech Career Center is set to happen virtually this year as well.

The 2020 fall all-majors career fair is scheduled to happen only a couple days after the CoC career fair, on Sept. 21 and 22. The normally in-person event is the largest career fair in the South.

Students interested in participating in the all-majors career fair can find more information on the Career Center website: career.gatech.edu/all-majors-virtual-career-fair.