Top 2019 Recruitment Events That Recruiters Should Attend

Best 2019 Recruiting Events: Ideas & Tips to Hire Superstar STEM Students for Professional HR

/blog/posts/top-recruitment-events - February 28, 2019 - 19 minute read -
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No matter the business belongs to the STEM or non-STEM industry, talent acquisition leaders cannot deny the importance of scouting top skillful STEM students in 2019. Recently, recruiters have found ways to increase their chances of meeting and recruiting superstar STEM students by attending STEM recruitment events. This article will explain the importance of STEM, list current challenges recruiters are facing in recruiting STEM students, and provide a list of top recruitments events in the categories of (a) Hackathons, (b) Expos, and (c) Retreats and (d) Competitions that you should attend to recruit superstar STEM students.

The Importance of STEM

It is undeniable that STEM-related careers and industries contribute significantly to economic growth. One of World Atlas research shows that 5 out of 10 key sectors in the United State are STEM-related industries. Additionally, a study conducted by the Universal Polymer points out that among the 10 largest occupations, 7 STEM-related careers contributes crucially to the whole job market.

STEM brings scientific breakthroughs, innovations, and encourages continuous personal growth. Potential STEM workers have to perform a continuous process of discovering and developing their knowledge and skills to meet the needs of the industries’ development.

The current situation of STEM careers

As much as we recognize the importance of STEM today, we are also facing several challenges. Between 2014 and 2024, computer occupations will continue to lead the projected job growth, making up more than half of the increase in the job market. However, only fewer than 3% of college students actually graduate with a degree in this field. In addition, the majority of schools don’t teach enough STEM and STEM-related subjects to help spark more interest in this field. Only 35% of high schools include STEM-related lessons in their classes and half of Americans from various backgrounds assume that STEM-related subjects or majors are too hard to pursue. Thus, recruiters now have to tackle the uneven distributions of occupations and workforces in the STEM sectors.


Source: Pew Research Center.

In short, due to the big gap between demand for STEM skills and supply and low students’ interest, talent acquisitions are facing challenges in recruiting top STEM students. Therefore, to sort out this situation, recruiters can increase their chances of meeting and recruiting a targeted pool of STEM applicants by attending various types of STEM recruitment events.

Top 2019 Recruitment Events To Recruit STEM Students

STEM recruitment events include: (a) Hackathons, (b) Career Fairs/Expo/Conferences, (c) Retreats and (d) Competitions.

a. Recruitment Events: Hackathons

The trend of using hackathons as recruitment events has incredibly increased in recent years. Among STEM-related industries, Technology, Finance, Retail, Health, Manufacturing, and Telecommunication are top industries that utilize hackathons effectively during recruitment.


With 33.4% of hiring events like hackathons, Technology takes the lead. Following behind are other STEM-related industries, which are Finance (10%), Retail (8.6%), Health (7.9%), Manufacturing (7.9%) and Telecommunication (5.7%).

Unlike non-STEM occupations, it is not always easy for STEM recruiters to evaluate the knowledge and skills of potential employees right away through simple interviews or resumes. Hence, hackathons can be the best recruitment events for employers to evaluate fairly critical thinking skills, flexibility, and attitudes of STEM students towards the working process. Moreover, many potential candidates also often treat hackathons as their talent and skill showcase to the employers. Finally, by giving out actual business problems to solve in limited time, recruiters themselves are discovering more possible and effective solutions for the business.

The following graphic very well summarizes the essential benefits a hackathon as recruitment events can bring to your company.


List of Hackathon

With the popularity and efficiency of hackathons as recruitment events, many STEM talent acquisition leaders frequently attend them. Are you aware of the current top STEM Hackathons? Rakuna has compiled a list of the most well-known and effective hackathons for you to attend. Make sure to bookmark their names and save their dates to avoid missing out on recruiting the most diverse superstar STEM students.

1. TechTogether - SheHacks

Time: Friday, March 22, 2019 - 5:00 PM to Sunday, March 24, 2019 - 2:00 PM.

Vanue: Boston University.


While recruiters are seeking for workplace diversity, especially in genders, within their working environment, women still find the difficulties in pursuing career paths in STEM. Throughout 2018 recruitment, the number of female participants in STEM Hackathons makes up only 20% of the total attendants.


Thus, in order to encourage the engagement of women in STEM, various all-women hackathons have been organized worldwide. TechTogether, previously known as SheHacks, is the leader of those eyes-opening Hackathons. TechTogether is a 36-hour Hackathon placed annually in Boston. Female students from different universities in Boston are the organizers and runners of the events. Throughout the Hackathon, attendants will have opportunities to learn about coding, be a part of the technologist community, network with companies, and solve real-world technology challenges. The participation of recruiters in TechTogether and other similar events will boost the diversity of genders in the workplaces.

2. HackPrinceton

Time: Friday, April 12, 2019 - 5:00 PM to Sunday, April 14, 2019 - 3:00 PM.

Venue: Friend Center Convocation Room.


HackPrinceton takes place in the United States every two years. It welcomes approximately 600 developers and designers throughout the world to create mind-blowing software and hardware projects. The hackathon usually lasts for 36 hours and includes a series of workshops, mentorships, and lectures. The attendants will be either pre-grouped or grouped randomly. Besides creating opportunities for people from different backgrounds to prove their talents, the founders of the event aim to create a networking and learning environment. Therefore, STEM recruiters will be able to evaluate the talent and skills of the candidates as well as observe their teamwork skills and working styles throughout the process. In short, employers will be able to target potential candidates for the right roles and teams.

3. TechCrunch Disrupt

Time: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 to Friday, October 4, 2019.

Venue: Moscone North Convention Center.


This hackathon, as a part TechCrunch Disrupt, aims to engage and discovers innovations from STEM startups. Nowadays, since alumni are more likely to be interested in building and chasing their own ideas and values, this event is a worthwhile opportunity for them to achieve their goals. By taking part in the TechCrunch Disrupt 2019, talent acquisitions can find potential innovative leaders in the STEM fields.

4. The Money 20/20 Hackathon

Time: Sunday, October 27, 2019 to Wednesday, October 30, 2019.

Venue: The Venetian, Las Vegas.


The Money 20/20 Hackathon focuses on Payments, FinTech, and Financial Services, providing recruiters with opportunities to discover the best talents in several STEM-related fields. It is a part of the big 3-day Money 20/20 event, with the attendance of more than 10,000 people. This hackathon is organized annually and runs within 24 hours. Attendees work in a group of a maximum of five to solve challenges of financial management of individuals and businesses. At the end of the Hackathon, a panel of judges under the required criteria will evaluate and pick out the winners based on four criteria: (1) Simplicity, (2) Creativity, (3) Impact, and (4) Design.

5. HackNY

Time: TBD.

Venue: New York City, New York.


Co-organized by the faculties of New York University and Columbia since 2010, hackNY has organized numerous hackNY fellow programs and student hackathons to create and empower a community of student-technologists. Every year, hundreds of students from universities around the country gather at hackNY’s Student Hackathons in New York City to participate in several collaborative and creative coding challenges in a 24-hour coding sprint. Students will work in teams to build projects and demo the final product before a panel of judges the next day.

6. PennApps

Time: Fall 2019 TBD.

Venue: University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.


Hosted at the nation’s first university, PennApps is called the “Original College Hackathon.” With the help of Penn Engineering, the event started in 2009, and since then has organized two hackathons every Spring and Fall of the same year. Students who attend hackathons come to learn, build new apps, and some even launch their own startups. Teams of up to four people spend the weekend working on innovative software and hardware solutions to real-world problems. These projects range in platform and application, including elements of web development, mobile applications, drones, and more.

Recruiters can consider working with PennApps as a sponsor and get a unique opportunity to reach some of the nation’s most talented college students. Interested in sponsoring? Send PennApps an email at for more details!

7. CalHacks

Time: November 2019.

Venue: UC Berkeley, California.


CalHacks is one of the largest collegiate hackathon, hosted every year at UC Berkeley with over 2,200 students, 300 mentors and 50 sponsors attending. This event not only organizes a 36-hour hackathon, but also runs a fellowship program to support entrepreneurial hackers, and brings first-time coders into the world of technology. Its mission is to empower others with technology to create solutions to better the world.

Each year, CalHacks receives help, mentorship, and sponsorship from some of the biggest companies to help unite thousands of attendees from dozens of universities across the globe. Many of the companies attending this event include Microsoft, Tron, PayPal, Black Rock. You can be one of them too, not only to provide your mentorship and advice but also to look for superstar students who can be a part of your amazing team. Email if you would like to join as a sponsor.

The aforementioned list includes some of the biggest and most well-known hackathons in the U.S. However, with hackathons becoming one of the favorite events for many students, talented programmers and developers to come and have fun, many smaller events are also held all over the country (and the world). Consider this as great recruitment events for you to come and snatch the talent you need. You can check out lists of many more hackathons of various sizes and themes via and

How to create your own Hackathon Recruitment Events?

By sponsoring hackathons, employers are able to build brand recognition, gain creativity from new ideas, and improve the business.

Create Hackathon

With experiences in organizing and hosting hackathons events, Robert Jandura - Cessna, the founder of IMUZIK, and Peter Morano, a software developer and the founder of Hackatopia, gives 5 amazing tips to run successful Hackathons in 2019.

  1. Set goals for the hackathons: In order to host effective events and recruit the most talented candidates, recruiters need to set up the final goals to achieve.

  2. Dedicate to only 1 organizing team throughout the Hackathons: By doing this, the organizers will run the events smoothly under certain budgets and goals.

  3. Come up with desired hackathons models: This depends on the goals and budgets for the events of the companies. If recruiters expect to focus on brand marketing and wide ranges of candidates, it is ideal to host highly elaborate hackathons. This event model requires sponsors, prizes, publicity, and judges. On the other hand, if your company have limited budgets and aims to only recruit talent candidates in certain areas, simple hackathons recruitment events will meet your demands. To simplify hackathons, organizers only need to come up with plans and preparations for gatherings and coding all weekends.

  4. Specify and deliver clear messages to both internal and external Hackathon participants: In order to run successful hackathons, for both simple and elaborate ones, the employers need to pinpoint messages that they aim to deliver through the events.

  5. Don’t skip the hackathons contracts: Last but not least, it is crucial to sign contracts with participants during the registration procedure. To businesses, all aspects of ownership are life-blood. In order to keep the Hackathons as your fair owned events, employers need to ensure the ownership of created intellectual property during the hackathons.

b. Recruitment Events: Fairs/Expos/Conferences

In the last few years, many job seekers and recruiters have considered Career Fairs/Expos/Conferences to be fading away from the recruitment process, especially to the STEM job market. However, what if the future of Career Fairs/Expos/Conferences is actually turning around?

Career Fairs, Expos, and Conferences today are getting more popular due to their large scale sizes as well as high chances for all stakeholders to interact with each other 88% of companies participate in recruitment events to raise the awareness of their brands towards clients and potential workers.

In addition, Career Expos work as professional networking events that foster professional connections and build candidate pipelines. Especially to STEM recruiters, building their own candidate pipelines and interacting with talented students through these career events are worthwhile experiences as they get to know more about the candidates’ stories and characteristics.

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List of Fairs/Expos/Conferences

1. DeveloperWeek

Time: February 2019.

Venue: SF Bay Area, California.


Each year, 8,000+ developers, engineers, software architects, dev teams, managers and executives from 70+ countries gather in San Francisco to discover the latest in developer technologies, languages, platforms, and tools. DeveloperWeek consists of week-long events including the conference & expo, 1,000+ attendee hackathon, 1000+ attendee tech hiring expo, and a series of workshops, open houses, drink-ups, and city-wide events across the city. You can register at DeveloperWeek to exhibit your company (if you are Tech company) or attend to attend various event series, network and reach out attending students.

2. Grace Hopper Celebration

Time: Tuesday, April 2, 2019.

Venue: The Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Florida.


Grace Hopper Celebration is the largest Career Conferences in Computing and other STEM-related occupations. It takes place between October and November annually across the United States with various Computing-related themes. To make the recruitment events become more effective, the organizers divide it into two main parts: (1) Technical Sessions and (2) Careers Sessions. Hence, talent acquisitions will gain opportunities to discover passionate and talented candidates for their companies.

3. EOP’s STEM Diversity Career Expo


  1. Friday, March 22, 2019 - 10.00 AM - 3.00 PM.
  2. Friday, May 3, 2019 - 10.00 AM - 3.00 PM.
  3. Friday, September 6, 2019 - 10.00 AM - 3.00 PM.


  1. Ronald Reagan Building, Washington DC.
  2. Boston Marriott Copley Place Hotel, Boston MA.
  3. Wyndham New Yorker Hotel, New York NY.


STEM Diversity Career Expo is another recruitment event in the must-attend career expos list for recruiters in 2019. This event occurs every year around March across the United State of America. Annually, there are approximately 500 companies and government agencies being a part of the expo. Throughout the fair, attendants will have the chances to discover and interact with recruiters from various companies. The EOP’s STEM Diversity Career Expo aims to get recruiters to find out the hidden potentials of people from different backgrounds and conditions.

4. UT Engineering Expo

Time: September 2019.

Venue: Frank Erwin Center.


Recruiters and students acknowledge UT Engineering Expo as the largest student-run career fair in the United States for over 30 years. Tech giants, including Amazon, Google, Dell, and AT&T, send their representatives to this conference annually to recruit a large number of candidates. The 2-day expo takes place every year with the participation of about 5,000 students and alumni. The attendants will experience education in Engineering at The University of Texas. Additionally, they earn chances to share their resume and skills with recruiters from various companies.

List of University Career Fairs

Among the many types of recruitment events, University Career Fairs are irreplaceable. These events provide students and graduates with the professional network and occupation opportunities for their career paths. Frequently, large STEM university career fairs occur annually or semi-annually with the participation of both job seekers and a variety of recruiters.

Rakuna has compiled a list of 15 most popular STEM university career fairs (in no particular order) for your reference. Check each of the university’s career page to learn more about how to join these fairs.

  1. Carnegie Mellon TOC
  2. University of Maryland Career Fair
  3. RIT Career Fair
  4. Berkeley EECS Career Fair
  5. Auburn Career Fair
  6. University at Buffalo STEM Career Fair
  7. Cornell Engineering Fair
  8. KSU STEM Career Fair
  9. UConn GIS Fair
  10. UMich SWE/TBP Career Fair
  11. WPI Career Fair
  12. UMass Amherst Engineering Career Fair
  13. UCLA Engineering & Tech Fair
  14. UW Affiliates Fair
  15. MIT Career Fair

c. Recruitment Events: Retreats

To the Millennials, creativity and excitement always attract them in special ways. Hence, recruiters can absolutely boost their energy and get them to fully enjoy interacting in-personal with you via retreats. Weekend Retreats are actually career fairs, in which the structure and organizing style is more active, fun, and practical. Retreats offers candidates opportunities to discover realistic day-to-day work at the companies. Hence, allowing both candidates and recruiters to learn more about each other. At the same time, the events also help potential candidates to build potential strong connections and develop strong commitments to the companies.

Recruitment events in the forms of retreat events are still uncommon within the STEM labor market, but it doesn’t mean that there isn’t any successful one yet.

Google Student/Scholar’s Retreat

Google Student/Scholar’s Retreat is a 3-day retreat that is held annually at the headquarter office in California. Each year, there are about 250 attendants and 53 scholars, with 4 awaiting scholarships: Google Lime Scholarship for students with disabilities, Women Techmakers, Generation Google Scholarship, and Google Student Veterans of America. Throughout the event, Google involves students in several inspiring talks, networking activities, interviewing tips, and interacting methods. Thus, giving the students a complete picture of their career paths and an opportunity for hiring managers to directly evaluate the students’ fit for the company.

Google Student/Scholar’s Retreat is a proven success that you can still attract and find the best talents right at your office. As Google’s retreat is open exclusively to candidates who are interested in their company, why don’t you include STEM Retreat as one of your recruitment event ideas this year?

d. Recruitment Events: Competitions

Talent acquisition leaders can apply competitiveness to the recruitment process by attending or hosting competitions. By organizing external competitions, employers will be able to build their brand awareness to the public and find talents who can help them solve their current tough problems.

List of Competitions

Commonly, companies who desire to crowdsource creative ideas for their business challenges while recruiting talent run competitions. It is not a tough task to create your own competitions as long as your companies have goals, challenging problems, clear messages, and effective organization teams.

1. Project CS Girls

Time: March 1, 2019.

Venue: Online Competition + National Gala


Adding up to the list of women STEM events is Project CS Girls. In order to take part in the event, the participants have to meet the requirements: (1) Middle school (grade 6 - 8), (2) Reside in the United States or any of the US territories, and (3) Participate as individuals or a group of up to 3 members. During the event, the contestants have to come up with projects under any selected theme and submit it as a technical report, video, and project feature. The judges, who are industry professionals, will fairly evaluate the projects and choose a winner base on a criteria framework. Hence, as other women - involved STEM events, Project CS Girls will bring to talent acquisitions promising candidates for their business.

2. DNA Essay Contest

Time: March 8, 2019 - April 25, 2019.

Venue: Online Competition + DNA Day (Updating on the website).


DNA Essay Contest is a part of the annual DNA Day in the United States. Students from grade 9 to 12 worldwide are eligible to register to the competition. The contest is mostly carried out online, except the announcement of the awards, which takes place on the day of the main event. The essays will be evaluated by more than 300 ASHG members, who volunteer to become the judges of the competition. DNA Essay Contest is one of the rare events that spread the importance of Science and encourage alumni to engage more on the development of this field. Thus, recruiters will find out talented students in the field and train them to gain more related skills.

3. The Google Fair Competition

Time: September 13, 2018 - May 2019.

Venue: Online Competition.


This Online Science Competition aims to develop STEM skills of children and youths between 13 and 18 years old. Through the theme ‘Every idea has the power to shape the world’, Google wants to inspire and encourage young people to develop their interests in STEM-related subjects. Also, by hosting the events for young people, recruiters can build and extend their potential candidate pipelines and recruit talented young interns.

4. NineSigma - The Innovation Contests

Time: TBA on the website.

Venue: TBA on the website.


Different from The Google Fair Competition, The Innovation Contests of NineSigma are for people from various backgrounds that are interested in the STEM industry. There are several contests held every year with divergent topics. The aims of the competitions are usually to encourage people to keep being innovative. It is undeniable that innovation contests will always be the best way to find out the most talented and skillful workers for your business.

Recruitment Events: Final Key Takeaways

With decades of innovations and developments, we can’t deny the crucial role of STEM as an economic and opportunity driver. Having said that, the labor market currently has to face the negative situation of STEM-related occupations caused by the supply-demand gap due to a lack of students’ interests.

Thus, instead of waiting for students to apply for internships and jobs, recruiters now have to be proactive in the recruitment game by attending STEM recruitment events and personally reach out to potential candidates. There are many different types of STEM recruitment events recruiters can attend, which include: (1) Hackathons; (2) Traditional and unique career fairs; (3) Retreats and (4) Competitions. Attending one of many of these events will not only help you build brand awareness and brainstorm creative and diverse solutions to business challenges but also recruit top talented students. Make sure to invest early and wisely in your STEM recruitment strategy to not miss out on superstar students!

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