By Stephen Wilson

How do you combine companies seeking top talent, students seeking footholds, and virtual realities? 

On Handshake, of course, the College’s newest partner and our students’ largest online career-finding community.

That’s where nearly 150 students gathered to engage nearly 50 employers at the Gateway spring Career Fair.

But in a pandemic environment, recruiters have had to change their approach while “meeting” future colleagues.

At the start of COVID-19, recruitment efforts, like most things, hit pause until companies could adjust to a new normal.

Othman Guennoun ’17, wealth management senior consultant at EY, used the recent fair to connect with students in a more personal manner by offering one larger information session before breaking into smaller groups of students for panel-like sessions, opening the conversation up to EY and general career questions.

Image of Othman Guennoun ’17 when he was a student as he and another student intern at EY. They sit around a table with cups of coffee and the NYC skyline behind them.

(Photo taken in 2017.) Lafayette alumni Mike Fox (center) meets with the schools interns (right Othman Guennoun ’17 and left Nicholas Buchanan ’17 at the Erenst and Young offices in Manhattan’s Times Square. The students are working at the firm as part of the Lafayette College internship program.

“This allowed us to get to know the students and their aspirations much better,” he says. 

Rob King ’17, talent lead at PerPay, founded by entrepreneur Chris DiMarco ’98, took a different approach: 10-minute one-on-one sessions with students. “While we miss the interaction of in-person events, the virtual opportunities are less logistically challenging,” he says. “So our team could quickly hop in and hop out of these speed-dating sessions.”

The top half of a man's head as he sits behind a computer screen in a hip office with several styles of lamps hanging from the ceiling behind him.

View inside the PerPay office.

King was pleased with the Handshake environment since so many colleges now use the platform.

They both were pleased with the talent at their alma mater.

King notes the well-roundedness of Lafayette candidates. “They demonstrate a sense of empathy that can align well with our mission,” he says. With seven employees at PerPay with a love of leopard spots, the company feels the College is well represented among their ranks.

Guennoun demonstrates that very same empathy as he returns to campus.

“Just a few years ago, I was in today’s students’ shoes, looking for internship and job opportunities, and I was super appreciative and grateful for the support I received from multiple Lafayette alumni,” he says. “The Career Fair is my chance to give back to the Lafayette community by getting to know students and providing them with career advice that was helpful to me when I was in their shoes.”

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