The career fair is a staple for many organizations. These fairs target both active and passive candidates and can help you find job seekers for a variety of positions across departments with a single event. However, because of the pandemic, in-person career fairs have declined. Enter the virtual career fair.
Jobs still need to be filled, employers still need to reach out to job seekers, and job seekers still need employment in the midst of everything going on in the world.
From In-Person to the Virtual Career Fair
Virtual events have skyrocketed in popularity and were up as much as 1000 percent this spring for one company since the beginning of COVID.
Joe Matar, the vice president of marketing for the virtual career fair hosting platform Brazen, says, “Before the crisis, we were hosting about 100 [virtual career] events per week. Now, it’s up to 300-500 events per week.”
Huge and successful companies like CVS, Disney, and Amazon have used these types of hiring events for years with a lot of success. In fact, Amazon’s September 2020 career fair had over 300,000 attendees for jobs spanning all of their departments.
The best part is that both candidates and employers can get a lot of value out of them. You can target a wider range of candidates. Candidates can get a deeper glimpse into your organization — not just sending out a resume online — while looking for employment.
Targeting a wide range of candidates can be great — as long as you’re targeting the right people.
Jobiak can help you optimize your Google job postings to get them in front of your target audience. Learn more about Google for Jobs and Jobiak here.
But how can career fairs be successful in the era of COVID?
The long answer to this question is that you need to take a number of proactive steps in order to make the virtual event effective.
Let’s take a look at four tips to make your virtual career fair a success.
1. Choose the Right Virtual Career Fair Hosting Platform
Not all virtual career fair hosting platforms are created equal.
Some platforms, like Brazen, allow you to set up one-on-one chats and breakout rooms with recruiters, hiring managers, and certain candidates. Others allow you to fully customize the look and design of individual webpages for different careers & departments.
Many also allow you to pre-qualify certain candidates, set up video interviews mid-fair, host virtual guest speakers, and provide video & short film showings of brand material. One platform, called Communiqué, allows you to create a 3D virtual space that attendees can tour like a real, live event.
Along with Brazen and Communiqué, other popular platforms that utilize a number of the above features include 6Connex (known for pre-qualifying candidates and “on-site” interviews) as well as CareerEcho, known for their college & grad school career fairs.
A few things that all virtual career fairs should have include:
- Customizable pages, virtual booths, and information to help with employer branding
- Live chat features to connect candidates with recruiters & HR
- Data collection of attendees for post-event analysis
- Resource center with FAQs, company videos, photos, brochures, etc
Depending on your goals, your company, and your means, the specific hosting platform you use will vary.
If you have a smaller budget and not as many positions to fill, a simple hosting site that allows for interviews and branding opportunities could be all you need. However, if you’re hosting a career fair with a number of employers or thousands of candidates, you may need something more thorough that can accommodate those people.
This is especially important for the brand image — you don’t want your career fair to crash, lag, or glitch as this can negatively affect the candidate experience. Work to find a platform that will work for your needs and your goals for the event.
We’d also recommend using a platform that can be fully customized to your organization and brand. Brand colors, images, videos, brochures, and other branded material will help to brand the event and make it memorable for attendees.
Keeping your event candidate focused is the key to success.
Jobiak’s AI uses optimization on Google for Jobs to make the job search process as candidate focused as possible. Learn more here.
2. Use Automation to Streamline Signups and to Gather General Information
Automation like chatbots and virtual sign-ups are a great way to take attendees through the initial, basic steps of the process.
This type of automation can help attendees get registered, assign them interview blocks or times, answer basic questions about the events, and more. This process is much more efficient than traditional events where there’s a lot of back and forth, scheduling conflicts, in-person logistics, etc.
Having this automation in place frees up your staff to work on other more important parts of their work and the event while still gathering key recruitment analytics and information that can be used during and after the fair.
3. Supplement Technology with Great Human Connection
While automation and tech are great supplemental tools for running a successful career fair, there is no replacement for human connection.
After collecting information or getting attendees signed up through automation, email, or chatbots, have a person from your team reach out. Not only does this help the candidate feel a true connection to you and your organization, but it also reminds the person about the event.
“It’s tough to get candidates to commit to things they’ve signed up for with automation,” says recruitment expert Ryan Affolter. He estimates that only about one-third of people who sign up via automation will end up attending & being engaged at the event.
If you want to see good participation and engagement, you’ll need a good sourcer or recruiter to supplement those technologies. Even a quick email thanking them for signing up and asking a question unique to them will show them that you care, you’re listening, and they’re not only interacting with bots!
This is also a great reminder for those who sign up in advance (about 17 percent of people sign up more than 15 days before an event, so reminders from real people are key!).
Streamline the Recruitment Process with Jobiak
In many ways, a virtual career fair is more efficient than similar live events. There are fewer logistics to straighten out, no venue needs to be reserved, it takes much less time to plan, and it can target a wider range of qualified candidates to fill positions faster.
You can streamline your recruitment even further with a few optimizations. Partner with Jobiak to optimize your listings on the Google jobs search engine to get in front of the candidates you want easily and quickly.
Learn more about how we work on our site here.