What is a virtual career fair?

With the ever-growing amount of online job searches, organizations are continually looking for ways to build their online recruitment strategy. A growing trend in online recruitment is the use of virtual career fairs. Amazon, IBM, and Disney are just a few major corporations known to use virtual career fairs to recruit new employees.

So, what exactly are virtual career fairs? They are almost identical to the traditional in-person ones, yet with a few added perks. By using online event hosts, organizations can create an online virtual space in which potential candidates can interact with recruiters, network with other candidates, and view presentations given by the host organization. Many of these platforms allow the corporation to fully customize the look of the site, even making the site look identical to the lobby of their office space. A great perk of using this virtual space is the ability to post videos, documents, and even job application links that allow the candidate to apply right away.

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Why use virtual career fairs?

One of the biggest benefits of hosting your fair online is the ability to reach a much wider audience. With a physical fair, your audience is limited to those in the immediate area who have the ability and time to travel to the location. A virtual career fair allows you to attract candidates from all over the world to learn more about your open positions and speak directly with your recruiters. This is great for individuals who are wishing to relocate or for those whose schedule simply does not allow them to travel for an in person experience.

Additionally, the information and presentations located on the virtual site are great ways to attract those who are just beginning their search. The array of information allows for candidates to research your organization and get a feel for the company before applying. This setting also allows visitors to ask questions and communicate directly with recruiters. And, if the candidates feel the company is a good fit, they can apply right on the site.

Online career fairs also provide a great benefit for analytics lovers. The software allows you to view reports on attendees (demographics, experience, skill sets), their activity (length of stay, information they downloaded, whom they communicated with), as well as their interests (questions asked, positions wanted, jobs applied for, and information they requested). Access to this pool of metrics provides a convenient way for you to track and keep in touch with potential candidates.

Cost Of The Event

The cost of these virtual events is contingent on variables such as number of registrants, sponsorship level, number of events participated in, and theme of event (i.e., local versus global). Typical costs range from $1,000-10,000 for a single event. Organizations can even spend upwards of $80,000 depending on the software and personalized features on the site. Some criteria you can use to evaluate a potential platform include level of customization, ease of use, data security, CRM integration capability, metrics & reporting abilities, and the level of customer service and assistance offered.

Running The Event

Virtual career fairs should reflect employer brand. Vendors typically allow companies to be creative with the information they share as well as the format they display. Some of the information required for an online booth include company videos, list of currently open positions, company locations map, company news, company social media channels, and company perks. Virtual career fairs provide a great space to increase an organizations brand awareness. Employers should use these fairs to promote new material that is not found on the company website. If candidates are taking the time to come to the online event, they should receive unique information that will help them in their job search. Some great ideas for unique content are interview tips, employee testimonials, and “day in the life” videos.

To maintain transparency, organizations should have each attendee complete a waiver and release form. These forms inform the potential candidate that their interactions during this online event will be saved/recorded. A lot of the virtual site software on the market allows the recruiter to save chat conversations or record video calls with the attendees so that they can go back later and reference the conversations and reach out to candidates.

Another great tip for hosting a virtual career fair is to compile a messaging sheet of standard responses that recruiters manning the online booth can pull from to ensure consistency in company branding. Additionally, having a “cheat sheet” for basic responses to questions regarding deadlines and standard procedures allows the recruiters to be more efficient and spend more time quality time getting to know the attendees.

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Promoting The Event

Just like any event, promotion is vital to ensure success! Best practice would consist of a multi-faceted marketing campaign where the messaging sets the intent of the event and allows viewers to self-select in or out. Promotion could include social media, banners on relevant trade/professional websites, job boards, on the company website, and also email campaigns. While digital will be the primary component of the organizations promotions, you can supplement with offline advertising such as print ads in newspapers or radio spots.

After The Event

Congrats! You have successfully hosted your virtual career fair. What’s next? Don’t forget to take advantage of the information available to you. Utilize the analytics and create a list of candidates for follow-up. Use the saved information to contact those potential candidates that haven’t applied yet or may have more questions. To ensure the candidate is the right fit for your company, try to set up time to meet in person with those that filled out an application.

Case Study

Many companies have shown great success using virtual career fair software. Northwell Health utilized the Communique platform and hosted a virtual site for three months. More than 1,100 job seekers attended the fair and had the opportunity to search for IT positions across nine different departments. 60 candidates from the fair were invited for in-person interviews afterwards.

Vendors to include in your research

(Note: These vendors are mere suggestions to consider for further research. This is also not an exhaustive list, and there are a number of other possibilities for virtual career fair vendors!)

  • vFairs
    With customers like Amazon, Microsoft, Wells Fargo, and ToysRus, vFairs offers a complete virtual fair package that includes an event manager, fully customizable online site, and access to meaningful reports post event.
  • Communiqué
    Focused solely on creating virtual career fair sites, Communiqué is known for their 3D virtual environments that feel just like an in-person fair. Well known customers include: IBM, Disney, Keurig, Ford, & Nike.
  • Brazen
    Brazen has a unique take on virtual career fairs by creating chat only events where recruiters can connect to candidates in a convenient way. CVS, Dropbox, and Charles Schawb are just a few of their big name clients.
  • eCareerFairs
    eCareerFairs features a simpler design style that allows you to customize the different webpages for your virtual career fair.

Looking for more information? Check out these resources:

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(Table: Human Resources Today)