12/20/2022 by Carney Sandoe Staff |

Hiring Conferences: What to Expect as a Candidate

Still deciding whether you should attend a CS&A hiring conference? Already registered and wondering what to expect?

Our hiring conferences are unique: unlike a traditional job fair format where job seekers and employers crowd into an auditorium, competition is high, and meetings happen by chance, our events connect current CS&A candidates and hiring schools in a structured and intentional yet efficient format.

As a CS&A candidate, what's in it for you? We’ve answered your top conference questions — and then some — to help manage your expectations.

Is it like a job fair?

Not quite. You won't find yourself walking around a huge auditorium passing out resumes and hoping to have a brief conversation with a school.

Rather, each conference is series of consecutive 30-minute interviews. Many (though not all) of these interviews are pre-scheduled; schools browse the pool of registered attendees and choose who to interview based on the school's general hiring requirements as well as what a candidate's job preferences are. (For example, if your profile indicates you are only looking to work in California, chances are a school in Florida isn't going to request an interview from you.) Candidates do not schedule interviews with the schools themselves.

Why should I attend a conference?

If you have never attended one of CS&A’s conferences before you might be wondering, “Why should I go?” One word that comes to mind when answering that question is efficiency. Our conferences allow candidates to schedule a series of 30-minute interviews with various school contacts. As a candidate, this gives you the opportunity to meet with multiple schools in one location in a short period of time. Now that’s efficiency!

How do I register?

You can register online through CandidateConnect. Registration is free for active CS&A candidates; you must be an active candidate to attend. The only costs you will incur are those related to travel and accommodations.

What schools attend?

The schools that attend our conferences vary from year to year and from event to event. Regional conferences (FORUM/Los Angeles, FORUM/New York City, FORUM/San Francisco, and FORUM/Washington, D.C.) — attract mainly local schools from each general area. Our national events — FORUM/Boston and FORUM/DEIB — connect schools and candidates from all over the country, and sometimes abroad.

What is the Conference Module?

The Conference Module is the online database specific to each conference. If you are attending a conference, you will receive access to the Module about two weeks before the event. Kim Garner, our Director of Conferences, will email you the link to the Module. The Module will be your best friend throughout your preparation for the conference and on the day of the event. In the Conference Module, you are able to review the schools that are attending and even reach out to them through the messaging feature to demonstrate your interest. We recommend logging into the Module frequently to make sure your schedule is up-to-date. We wouldn’t want you to miss out on any great opportunities!

How many interviews will I have?

That depends on which conference(s) you attend, the needs of attending schools, and your job search preferences. That being said, we know our partner schools are eager to interview and hire quickly this season, so the odds are in your favor.

It's important to note that many interviews are scheduled a few days or even on the day of the event. So if a conference is approaching and your schedule is light, don't fret just yet. It's also important to note that these events are still useful beyond interviews. You are free to meet directly with your Placement Team, attend educational seminars our conferences often feature, and perhaps even make connections with a school you have been eyeing.

Registering for a conference also indicates to any school that you are an active job seeker; just because you don't have an interview with a particular school during the event, it doesn't rule out the possibility of having one down the line. Schools can access the Conference Module after the event and often will reach out to candidates they didn't have a chance to connect with.

What is the day of the event like?

Busy! Candidates and schools check in early in the morning, and 30-minute interviews extend throughout the day. Each interview is an opportunity to get your foot in the door at a school, and the goal is often to acquire an invitation to interview on-campus. If you have a break between interviews, feel free to check in with your Placement Team, attend a panel discussion (at select events), or take a breather to check your email. We encourage you to bring a laptop or tablet with you.

Where can I learn more?

Here! Peruse our “conferences” category on this blog for more information about preparing for events, watch this video with testimonials from both candidates and schools, and check back frequently for updates throughout the season.

As always, if you have questions about conferences or your search in general, don’t hesitate to reach out to your Placement Team or share them below.

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