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Career Fair 101 from a Yelp University Recruiter

Spring campus recruiting season is right around the corner! Several of our university recruiters from both our sales and engineering departments will hit the road soon to attend recruiting events on campuses across the country. We decided to interview one of them to learn more about what types of roles our technical teams are hiring for, and gather some tips and tricks to help aspiring engineers and product managers perform their best in interviews.

1. Tell us about yourself?

I’m Kacy and I’ve been at Yelp for about four and a half years! I graduated from the University of Tennessee where I studied film studies and communication. After a few years producing television in Los Angeles, I migrated up to San Francisco to work at Yelp and transition to a role in tech. I love living in San Francisco and my favorite part of the city is the dog park next to my house. I can’t have a pup just yet, so I settle for playing with the neighborhood pets. When I’m not playing with dogs, I enjoy traveling, brunching and watching my beloved Tennessee Vols football team.

2. What team are you on? And what roles do you recruit for?

I’m currently a university recruiter on our Engineering Recruiting team. We focus on hiring newly graduated candidates as well as energetic interns from universities, domestically and internationally. Last summer we had 96 interns from 35 different colleges all over the world. Right now we’re recruiting for software engineers, product designers, product managers, and data scientists. You can check out our openings by visiting our careers page.

3. Why do you work at Yelp?

I work at Yelp for a few reasons! I started working at Yelp because I loved the mission and idea of helping local businesses, especially when it can create a better community around them. I’ve stayed at Yelp because the environment here is something I’ve never experienced elsewhere. The culture at Yelp is collaborative, supportive, and I’ve felt that my team has cared about me at every stage of my career growth here. It also makes a huge difference that I’ve made friends here — coming into work everyday and spending time with them obviously makes work more enjoyable.

4. What are your biggest tips for attending career fairs? How can aspiring engineers prepare and stand out?

My biggest tips for attending career fairs are to come prepared, to relax, and do some research about the companies you want to speak to.

Coming prepared to a career fair means showing up knowing what you want to accomplish and having the tools to do so. Update your resume and be able to speak about the attributes listed on there. If you have a business card or anything you’d like to share with the recruiter or company representative, be ready to share as soon as you’re able to.

Another great tip is to just relax. We want to get to know you just as much as you want to get to know us. It’s hard to communicate if nerves get in the way so just enjoy the time you have with whomever you are speaking with from the company. There’s nothing to be nervous about anyways, we’re there because we want to meet you.

Lastly, and I think perhaps the most important, is to do some research on the companies you already know you want to speak to. If the company is there, they are hiring and will already have the available jobs listed online. If you can speak with a representative about a job you are already aware of, it skips unnecessary steps and you can spend more time talking about yourself and qualifications. It will also give you talking points and will probably prompt some questions you can ask which helps avoid some of the awkwardness. 🙂

5. What are some things you look for when you ask a student candidate, “Tell me about yourself?”

When I’m speaking with a student I’m looking for them to tell me more than just what their qualifications are. I want to know what types of projects they actually enjoy working on, what they see themselves doing a few years down the line, and why they want to talk to Yelp! Speaking with a lot of students you hear a lot of the same courses and in some cases similar internships so if they can tell me something personal that is relevant to Yelp or something that connects to our mission – that’s exactly what I want to know.

6. What can a candidate do to set themselves apart for an engineering/product role at Yelp?

Something really important a candidate can do to stand out is if they can take a project they’ve already worked on or any kind of experience they have and be able to relate it to Yelp. It looks great that they’ve already done some research on the type of work we do, but it also shows that your qualifications already align with our interests and goals. We look for candidates that will easily fit in with our company.