Why don't I see European companies at US university career centers?

September 26, 2007

I went to Carnegie Mellon Career Center to talk with my career consultant about … well all sorts of stuff. Career centers are these great places where students can get help with their career search and also where companies come to recruit students. And there are career fairs and all sorts of other get-togethers to support this process.

To my amazement, I see a lot of US companies hiring students here, but zero European ones. I asked the career people if this is a sort of policy to only work with US companies? They said that they would LOVE to have more European companies here to broaden their offering to students. Similarly, I do know from talking to people firsthand that actually very many US students are extremely interested in expanding their view of the world and doing temporary or permanent work outside the US. So there’s an unfilled niche here for European companies to participate in global search for talent, a lot of which is concentrated in US universities, particularly in many technical fields.

Sure it’s expensive and a lot of hassle for companies. I don’t know what finances are involved for a company to hire students through such career centers, but certainly participating at job fairs, distributing brochures etc comes with a certain cost, and also all the travelling etc. But then again, it’s a continuing global talent hunt competition, and it’s not bound to get cheaper any time soon anyway. So my judgement is that the US university career centers are a great underutilized resource for hiring to European companies.