MOSCOW, Idaho — The floor of the University of Idaho’s Kibbie Dome will be teeming with employers, graduate school representatives, and students from Washington State University and UI during Fall Career Expo of the Palouse.

Held 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Oct. 3, Expo is the largest collegiate job fair in the Pacific Northwest, said Dan Blanco, UI Career Services director.

In addition to more than 200 employers, a record number, for the first time the event will have representatives of graduate schools from throughout the U.S.

During Fall Expo, some 3,000 students are anticipated to begin or continue their search for career opportunities, internships, an appealing graduate program for advanced degrees and even summer jobs or temporary employment. WSU and UI hold Expos in the fall and spring.

Why do many employers take part in Expo? Blanco said, “The general conditions of the labor market are so good that many employers are desperate for skilled and educated people. The number of corporations attending for the first time, as well as the number of returning Fortune 500 companies, easily validates this.”

Early employer registrants include 7-11, Aerotek, American Microsystems, Andersen Consulting, Aramark, Boeing, Cactus Pete’s Resort Casino, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Fairchild Semiconductor, Frito-Lay, The Gap, Home Depot, Idaho National Engineering & Environmental Lab, In-System Design, Johns Hopkins University-Applied Physics Lab, Knosys, Lockheed Martin Services, Mervyn’s of California, Micron PC, Motorola, Norse Furniture, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Peace Corps, Safeco, Sandvik Special Metals, Schreiber Foods, Seagate Technology, Sherwin-Williams Company, Stimson-Lane Vineyards and Estates, Timberline Software, U.S. Air Force Internships Child & Development, U.S. Customs, Wal-Mart, Weyerhaeuser and Wilder Construction.

“Many have recruited here before and are historically satisfied with the quality of students,” said David Haining, WSU Career Services event coordinator. “Employers continually tell our students they are professional and well-prepared.”

During Expo, well-dressed students armed with multiple copies of their resumes each have about three minutes to favorably impress a recruiter. If so, they are invited back for an interview on Oct. 4. Of the 600-700 students interviewed, many will be offered jobs at an “excellent starting salary as well as a bonus and other perks” to entice them away from the competition, said Haining.

Some employers come to Expo with a large contingent. For example, Aramark, a hotel and restaurant firm, will have 10-12 recruiters and spend almost a week on campus interviewing, evaluating and hiring, Haining said.

Students studying in top-rated programs at both universities — including WSU’s Hotel and Restaurant Administration program — help attract employers to Expo. “Both universities are steeped in the land-grant university tradition with well-established and respected agriculture, home economics, veterinary medicine programs and engineering, as well as excellent professional programs in the humanities, sciences, nursing, graduate programs and in the case of UI, the only law school in the state of Idaho,” said Blanco.

And, the fact Expo is well run attracts employers, too, he said. “Word spreads. Those from companies which send recruiters around the country say coming to the Palouse is a plum assignment because Expo is such a great show,” adds Haining.

First held in 1994, Expo has expanded over the years to include associated events. Like Expo itself, these events are drawing a record number of employers too.

Mock interviews have been added to Expo because they provide a hands-on way for employers to help students improve student interviewing skills. Employers appreciate the interviews because they are able to help students in tangible ways and give them tips they would never be able to in formal interviews, Haining said. Students learn from those most knowledgeable about the technique of interviewing. “We have never heard a negative comment about the mock interviews, except that they may be too short,” he said. “Any time we offer a program to improve student skills makes him or her look that much better in the eyes of the employer and reflects favorably on our two universities as well.” To participate in mock interviews, students must sign up in advance at their university starting Sept. 5.

Another popular Expo addition to is the “Be a Star!” Etiquette Dinner sponsored by WSU and Aramark. From 6:30-9:30 p.m. on Oct. 2, the dinner will involve almost 400 WSU and UI students, and will help them learn principles of business protocol and dining etiquette. It will be held in the WSU Compton Union Building Carey Ballroom.

Also on Oct. 2:

–An open house will be held in WSU Career Services, Lighty Student Services Building, Room 180, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.. During the event, resumes will be reviewed and interview techniques refined.

–A WSU and UI Presidents’ Reception for employer representatives and university faculty members will take place from 5-7:30 p.m. in the Prichard UI Art Gallery in downtown Moscow at 414 South Main.

For information, contact Dan Blanco, UI Career Services, 208/885-6121, dablanco@uidaho.edu; or Dave Haining, WSU Career Services, at 509/335-7127, haining@wsu.edu.