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EpicRecruiters

Epic recruiters give an overview of the Verona-based health care company at a UW-Madison recruiting event.

PHOTO BY ERIK LORENZSONN, THE CAPITAL TIMES

Annika Collier took more classes about Swedish than she did in computer science while attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In the seven years she's worked at Epic Systems, the giant Verona-based company that specializes in complex medical software, that's never been an issue, she told a small room of UW students at the Union South.

"I still don't consider myself a very technical person, despite working at a tech company for the past seven years," said Collier. "And that's OK."

Whether your degree is in science or sociology, Epic wants you: That was the message Collier and two other company recruiters had for the would-be graduates in the room.

Wednesday was "Epic Day" on UW-Madison's campus, a recruitment event where soon-to-be graduates could mingle with company representatives, check out health care technology demos, and learn how to get a foot in the door.

Recruiting is a major undertaking at Epic. The company has been hiring nearly 1,000 workers per year over the past seven years to grow a workforce of more than 9,000 employees. The company's recruiters go to college campuses across the country, from major Midwestern research institutions like the UW to small private campuses on the coasts.

While the company declined to provide information on specific recruiting numbers, Epic does have a history of hiring talent of all stripes.

"We look for bright, driven individuals – technical and non-technical — who are interested in having a career that makes a global impact in healthcare and technology," wrote company representatives in an emailed statement.

Collier and her companions, decked out in "Code something Epic" t-shirts, were at Epic Day to give a presentation called "Anthropology to Zoology: How to Build a Career in Software with a Liberal Arts Background." The recruiters talked about what the company does, their own experiences working in different divisions of the company, and what qualities they felt were important to be a fit with the company.

A big part of the pitch focused on values. At one point, the presenters showed a Powerpoint slide highlighting a saying from Epic founder and CEO Judith Faulkner: "Do good. Have fun. Make money."

The "do good" component was one aspect of Epic life the presenters hammered home in particular. One of them asserted that by improving electronic medical records, the company was helping save and improve lives.

The recruiters also emphasized that they were able to flex the many other skills they picked up in college, from collaboration to problem-solving. Collier said her background in editing has helped her make sure Epic's software is usable for health care practitioners.

"I know if it's not going to be intuitive for me, it's probably not going to be intuitive for a nurse," she said.

Interestingly, the recruiters did not dwell on the "make money" part of Faulkner's proposition. Many entry-level positions at the company make $70,000-90,000 per year, according to worker-reported data on the job hunting website Glass Door (although it does bear noting the fairness of worker pay at Epic has now been the subject of multiple lawsuits).

Erik Lorenzsonn is the Capital Times' tech and culture reporter. He joined the team in 2016, after having served as an online editor for Wisconsin Public Radio and having written for publications like The Progressive Magazine and The Poughkeepsie Journal.