Former students say Norwich job fairs consistently offer quality potential employees 

Norwich University boasts a strong alumni network, but the proof is in the pudding. As director of the Career and Internship Center, I know firsthand about our alumni’s strong commitment to hiring our graduates.

One fine example has taken place over the past couple of decades. For most of the past 20 years, the Concord Police Department has attended one or both of our annual career fairs. When it attends, the department brings at least two or three officers to talk with the students who line up to learn about pursuing a law enforcement career. Criminal justice is Norwich’s largest major, but those lines of enthusiastic students looking for jobs and internships are only a small piece of what keeps the Concord Police Department returning to recruit time and time again.

“When we’re recruiting at Norwich, we see a lot of other law enforcement agencies in attendance, too. … Seeing that depth and variety of agencies confirms for us that we are recruiting from the right school.”Dana Dexter ’03, Concord (New Hampshire) Police Department

As any recruiter will tell you, a career fair’s success is less about the quantity of students that attend than their quality

  • Questions that run through recruiters’ minds include:
  • Are these students academically prepared to do the job?
  • Have they researched my company or agency?
  • Do they have good questions?
  • Can they carry on a conversation?
  • Are they professionally dressed?
  • Will they show up on the job ready to learn?
  • Do they have internship or other previous experience?
  • Will this individual “fit” with my company or agency?

When I asked Officer Dana Dexter ’03 why his agency recruits at Norwich, he said, “Speaking as a member of the Concord Police Department, we have consistently used Norwich as a resource for our recruitment.  The values that Norwich instills in its students are directly in line with what we are looking for in our police candidates.”

Having very similar values, relative to the mission and vision of a company or agency, is what makes a person “fit” within the organization.

Dexter added, “Of course we also value the strength of the criminal justice program at Norwich; professors with strong law enforcement and teaching credentials, a high number of students with internships on their resumes, and so on. In fact, when we’re recruiting at Norwich, we see a lot of other law enforcement agencies in attendance, too. They come from local police departments, state police forces and even several federal agencies. Seeing that depth and variety of agencies confirms for us that we are recruiting from the right school and bringing highly sought after graduates to our local police department.”

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection official speaks to a Norwich student in the Corps of Cadets at a March 28, 2018, job fair in Plumley Armory. Employers say the fairs offer excellent quality and quantity of potential hires. (Photo by Mark Collier.)

I know from having spoken with dozens of human resources representatives, from a wide variety of employers, that many agree with Dexter’s sentiments. Although some employers send Norwich alumni to recruit at the career fairs, other employers send their human resources professionals to manage the recruiting. But they come to Norwich because they already employ Norwich graduates and want to hire more folks just like their current employees.

While reviewing the list of employers from the past two career fairs, 79 percent were represented by a Norwich alumnus or had Norwich alumni currently working for their company.

“Concord PD has a long history of hiring Norwich students and alumni,” Dexter said, “and we will continue to build on this strong partnership.”

Kathryn Provost is director of Norwich University's Career and Internship Center

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