Last week’s Engineering and Computation job fair, at Livermore’s Shrine Event Center, took everyone by surprise.
“We had about 300 people pre-register,” said Beverly Hobson, chair for the job fair and engineer with New Technologies. “We expected maybe a couple of hundred more.”
What the fair coordinators got was more than 300 applicants in the first 20 minutes after the doors opened at 3 p.m., followed by more than 600 as the evening wore on, until the doors closed at 8 p.m.
More than one hundred interviewers from Engineering, two dozen from Computation and several more from Human Resources and Technical Information Division staffed the fair.
Bill Warren, a deputy associate director from Computation, spent more than three hours in continuous interviews. “The line of people waiting to interview with Comp and Systems Network Department was out the door when I arrived,” he said. “But despite the long lines, people weren’t impatient. They were glad to be talked to.
“I saw some good people, with a range of experience and skills. Even if I don’t get somebody, or not as many as I’d like, the Lab has made a strong community outreach.”
One hundred percent of the feedback evaluations submitted by nearly 200 of the attendees generously praised the fair and the Lab staff.
“It was a great success,” said Patty Revell, one of the Human Resources staff helping to run the fair. “I was particularly impressed by how the technical recruiters and volunteers were so customer-focused. This showed in our evaluations. Many respondents remarked how the job fair had improved their image of the Lab.”
“It was a great way to become familiar with the general functions of LLNL, as well as a good opportunity to explore some specific areas. Great job!” said one form.
“This was a great job fair. The presentation (film, posters) was excellent. A lot of planning went into this job fair. On a scale of 1 to 10, I rate it an 11!” said another.
Yet one more said, “Everyone I talked with was very kind and informative. After talking with different people, I feel it would be exciting to possibly work at LLNL.”
All together, over 1100 resumes were received as a result of the fair, with more arriving daily from the residual publicity. Hobson said her original goal was to get at least an acknowledgement to each applicant within a week of the fair, but the overwhelming numbers are likely to prevent that.
“From the screening at the fair, recruiters were able to set up 30 actual interview dates,” continued Hobson. “Our hope is that the first hires will be within a couple of weeks, and we hope to sort through all the applications within two months.”
Many of the resumes submitted were not for either Engineer or Computation. Hobson said she would be forwarding hundreds of them on to other directorates.
“We have resumes for tech writers, artists, every possible job. This is a benefit for the whole Lab,” she said.
The driving force behind the job fair was Hobson and her co-chair, Mark LaChapell, engineer with Defense Sciences.
“They really picked up the whole idea and put it together,” said Dave Pehrson, deputy associate director for Engineering. “They built a team, gained momentum, developed all of the logistics and showed what real leadership is all about.”
The project started in March, and came to fruition in just a few weeks.
“The original idea came from Patty Revell and Jens Mahler (deputy associate director for Mechanical Engineering),” said Hobson. “The Engineering directorate is looking to fill over 100 positions this year, so we needed to look at a lot of people, quickly. The idea just took off.”
LaChapell remarked that the fair had emphasized the Lab’s mission of science in the national interest, to which the applying public had enthusiastically responded.
“It clearly exceeded expectations,” he said, “and it was a lot of fun to see such positive interaction of Lab people with the public.”
Hobson spoke of one encounter she found particularly heartwarming.
“As one person I already knew passed through the lobby, I remarked on our surprise at the turnout. Her response was ‘Everyone wants to work at Lab. You shouldn’t be surprised. I admire everyone I know who works at the Lab.’”
This success of the job fair will be able to stand as a blue print for future events, if needed. “We have many wonderful Lab employees to thank for helping us advertise, pulling displays together and working at the Job Fair. This kind of event reminds us of the reasons we enjoy working here — great people, great location, great benefits and great science,” Hobson concluded.