It’s that time of year again! Just last week, Orr Fellowship hosted its annual Finalist Day. This event is the last step in Orr Fellowship’s recruitment process where finalist candidates have the opportunity to interview with over 35 different high-growth companies to compete for full-time positions that utilize a broad range of skills from marketing to engineering.
One of the most interesting parts about this day is the involvement of alumni in the Finalist Day process. Orr alumni are often employed at companies that take fellows, and they are actively involved in the process of resume reviews, interviews and eventual candidate selection.
“The additional perspective gained by having gone through Orr Fellowship’s process was invaluable as an interviewer,” said Tyler Williams, Orr Fellow class of 2014. Williams is now an Associate Account Executive at Element Three and believes that his own prior experience on Finalist Day allows him to understand the pressure candidates face, such as having to do research on multiple companies and preparing for 4-5 interviews. Due to the pressure and lack of preparation time, Williams says that the questions candidates asked in the interview helped his team gauge critical thinking skills and the ability of the candidate to think quickly on his or her feet.
Having gone through the process, alumni make incredible resources for the candidates as they go through the craziness of Finalist Day. Phil Tarnowski, Orr Fellow class of 2014 and Product Owner at Performance Assessment Network (PAN), says he “was able to directly answer questions about life in the Fellowship (Curriculum, Social Life, Civic Engagement, etc.), as well as what the Orr Fellowship experience is like at [my host company] PAN. [Being at Finalist Day] helps prospective Fellows truly understand what the Orr experience will be like at your host company.” The extensive network of alumni in host companies builds a strong foundation of performance and expectations at the interview an in the job.
One well-known fact about Orr Fellowship is that students are not selected based on major, degree or specialty. Instead, personality and work ethic of the candidates is considered. Many of the most successful Fellows are passionate workers who would have never originally pictured themselves at a certain company or in a certain field. Sally Reasoner, Orr Fellow class of 2011 and now VP of Talent at Ascend Indiana was able to use her experience as an Orr Fellow to help in this year’s recruitment process.
“[Finalist Day] taught me that there is tremendous value in hiring on potential – something that is core to all Orr Fellowship finalists,” said Reasoner. “My experience proved that if young people are willing to work hard and learn, they can almost assuredly add value to a growing company. That is why we decided to make our 8th hire at Ascend Indiana an Orr Fellow. We knew we needed someone who was not only bright and motivated, but who was community oriented – a powerful combination of qualities that Orr Fellowship is so skilled at attracting.”
The value added through the alumni community and their participation in Finalist Day every year is something that cannot be found in any other job recruitment experience. Having the empathy, understanding and perspective of past fellows in the candidate selection process gives companies the ability to hire an Orr Fellow with a better understanding of the 2-year journey they are about to take as well as a wider range of skills and perspectives. We are looking forward to seeing what alumni and types of candidates will be involved next year!