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It was the ultimate mix and mingle in Kanata North last week as more than 3,600 job seekers met with some of Ottawa’s top businesses at Discover Technata. 

Many said the packed ballrooms felt like ‘before times’ – the period before a global pandemic shut down mass gatherings and social events. It was, in fact, the second Discover Technata since COVID, but this year’s gathering reflected a rather robust hiring economy in Ottawa.

With over 40 companies on deck showcasing their products and workplace culture, the search for top talent was on – not only in tech, but also in marketing, human resources and other areas of business. 

Parking at the Kanata North Business Association event filled the Brookstreet Hotel lot and overflowed into a Nokia lot across the street. A stream of school buses lined the hotel’s driveway, as eager soon-to-be university graduates jumped out in freshly pressed dress shirts and suits, eager to impress.  

In-person meetings allowed job seekers to meet the companies and learn more about the culture, said Karan Chaudharay, a recent grad at Algonquin’s International Business program, and a sales engineer who specialized in hardware and software in India. 

“I’ve been able to talk to lots of recruiters, and get a sense of their company’s culture,” Chaudharay said.  

He said company representatives from Nokia and Ciena gave him some helpful tips on what they were looking for in candidates, and how to craft his resume and cover letter for targeted positions and industries.   

This was helpful in standing out from the crowd, added Chaudharay, as he worked his way through the booths of companies. 

Finding future talent at Discover Technata

Hollie Gillis, a Human Resources specialist at RBR in Kanata, noted the large crowds of job seekers, and said it was great to connect with people in person again. 

“It’s like Costco on a Sunday,” Gillis joked.

She said RBR, which designs and manufactures oceanic instruments and sensors, is looking for positions in many parts of the business. 

“It’s a pretty large scope,” Gillis said.

Currently, RBR is recruiting for positions in production, supply chain, and R&D as well as all of the company’s different engineering teams, like software, mechanical firmware system, sensors, and and on-site calibration team. 

“I think [Discover Technata] allows candidates to kind of interview us while we’re interviewing them by getting to meet different team members, getting to walk around and kind of see sub-organic interaction that we have with each other as well,” she said. 

“I know everyone says it’s about the people at a company, but it really is,” Gillis said. “Putting a face to the name is really important.” 

Gillis agreed that the in-person meetings were a great way to learn more about a company’s culture and learn about its mission and purpose, all of which was on display at Discover Technata. 

It’s not just about showcasing the cool tech, said Gillis, but demonstrating that we don’t just work hard but play hard.

“At RBR, everyone is so passionate about what we do, they’re always willing to go that extra mile to help out a coworker. We also offer a lot of really unique initiatives that kind of support that environmental culture. So we have an electric vehicle incentive program, bike to work programs, things like that. But I think we’re pretty fun, pretty quirky.” 

Written by Melanie Coulson

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