Virtual career fairs, or virtual job fairs, are events where graduates and job seekers can interact with recruiters or directly with potential employers. Because everything happens online, attendees can visit booths, ask questions, gather information, and build networks from the comfort of their homes.
Why Host a Virtual Career Fair?
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to reshape talent acquisition processes, we are increasingly turning to digital hiring solutions. As remote interviews and remote jobs become commonplace, more job applicants are seeking safer ways to connect with potential employers. At least for the foreseeable future, virtual career fairs seem unavoidable.
Reduced costs are just one of the benefits of a virtual career fair. Before organizing your first virtual career fair, take a look at the pros and cons in our table below.
Pros and Cons of a Virtual Career Fair:
A safe and secure option for all attendees, especially during a pandemic when the WHO guidelines prevent mass gatherings.
No in-person interactions, so recruiters and employers may not be able to get a detailed image of potential employees.
Saves recruiters, companies, and prospective employees time and money.
Job seekers may leave the event feeling like they haven't connected well enough with prospective employers.
Because space is essentially unlimited, more people can attend virtual career fairs.
The immediacy of the event may be lost, especially when there are no corporate memorabilia to take home.
Connects prospective employers with job seekers who may have been unable to travel to a physical venue, thus widening application pools.
Investing in virtual career platform software, webinar software, ATS, etc. and ensuring staff are properly trained in them.
Vital candidate information and resumes are collected and stored prior to the event, streamlining hiring processes.
Data analytics can be used to measure the overall success of the event.
Virtual career fairs never close, so job seekers can visit and connect with recruiters anytime.
Engage with past attendees and tap into existing talent pools with ease.
How to Plan a Career Fair in 9 Steps.
1. Choose a virtual career fair platform.
Do your research and choose the best virtual career fair platform for your event. Basic features of career fair platforms include chat rooms, live streams, the ability to add presentations and videos, and branded booths. Some other features you may want to consider are whether your platform is optimized for mobile phones and whether it has access to resumes. Consider the crowd you're hoping to draw before choosing your platform.
2. Develop a strategy and a timeline.
Virtual career fairs don't happen overnight. Thorough planning must take place before the actual event. Make a list of everything you'll require, from the staff you'll need to hire, to resources and additional software you'll have to buy, and develop a detailed plan and timeline for how and when each task should be completed.
Some aspects to consider include:
- The number of attendees you expect.
- The staff you'll hire.
- Additional software, such as ATS (applicant tracking systems), as well as scheduling, webinar, and resume parsing software.
- The cost of your virtual career fair platform.
- The companies and/or recruitment firms you'll partner with.
- The resources you'll create for the event.
- The type of career fair you'll organize. Will you be hosting a career exploration fair, a single-topic fair, a single-company or multi-employer fair, or a fair aimed exclusively at college graduates?
3. Prepare your budget.
In the previous step, you would have outlined everything you require for the virtual career fair. Now you need to work out your expenses. You'll already be cutting costs with a virtual career fair as opposed to a traditional one, and using free software can help you save even more. Be sure to review free ATS and recruitment software before the budget is set in stone.
4. Set up attractive virtual booths.
Much like traditional career fairs, virtual career fairs have booths where job seekers can obtain information, interact with employees and recruiters, and network with other interested applicants.
The features of your booths will depend on the type of virtual career fair platform you're using and, to a certain extent, the type of careers being showcased. Colorful, branded booths that are easy to navigate will probably get more attention. Videos, info packets, virtual tours, live streams of guest speakers, and chatrooms are some features you may want to invest in.
5. Reach out to partners and start hiring staff.
The employers, recruitment agencies, as well as any experts or guest speakers, need to be contacted well before your virtual career fair date. Pitch the event to them and tell them exactly how they can benefit and contribute. It is a good idea to approach them after you've developed your strategies, plans, and timelines so that they know they're dealing with meticulous organizers. You can contact these partners via email, social media, or phone.
Once your partners have confirmed their participation in the event, you'll have an idea of the staff you'll need to hire. You may want to hire content creators, people who can manually sift through resumes, chatroom moderators, and more.
Virtual career fairs are evergreen:
Industry experts and guest speakers may be available only on the day(s) of your recruitment event, but virtual career fairs never actually close. This means that the staff you hire to work at the event may be required on a contract basis, as new job seekers visit booths and more resumes start pouring in. Content creators could also be employed on a freelance basis, as you update booths with new resources.
6. Advertise your event.
Job boards, email, and social media are great channels you can use to market your virtual career fair. An easy way to get the word out is through the companies and recruiters who will be attending your event. Getting them to do some of the marketing will lessen your workload and help you reach a wider audience. Depending on the size of your virtual career fair, you may want to hire someone to take care of the marketing requirements.
7. Keep attendees well-informed.
Once job seekers and graduates have registered for your virtual career fair, you'll be able to send out reminders, preparation tips, workshop information, guest speaker details, and more. Connect with attendees via social media and make an effort to find out what else they'd want to see at the career fair. If the suggestions are feasible, add them to the virtual booths or relay them to the relevant recruiters and/or employers, so their programs can be tailored to the audience.
8. Encourage job seekers to upload their resumes before the event.
If attendees upload their resumes well before the virtual career fair, it will give recruiters and prospective employers a chance to gather information on potential hires before meeting them. This may help improve engagement and participation via the virtual career fair platform. If you're organizing a college fair or recruiting new graduates, reviewing resumes before the event might help to determine if, for example, a resume writing workshop should be included in the program.
9. Follow up with attendees and partners.
Using data analytics software may help you to determine how successful your virtual career fair has been, but obtaining direct feedback from job seekers and partners is even better. Find out what they enjoyed most about the event and have them offer suggestions for improvement. You can encourage them to keep using the virtual career fair platform by making it even more user-friendly, adding fresh resources, or by creating excitement with talks by guest speakers. Keep abreast of advancements in talent acquisition and improve your strategies as you learn more.
Is it worthwhile to organize a virtual recruitment event?
The pros of a virtual career fair far outweigh the cons, but because digital talent acquisition keeps evolving, you have to keep your finger on the pulse and listen to what job seekers need before you can organize a successful virtual career fair. We may never find a way to compensate for the human touch that is lost through virtual recruitment, but at least until the pandemic has passed, this is the best we can do.
What are virtual career fairs?
Virtual career fairs are online spaces where job seekers, students, and graduates can learn more about prospective employers and careers they have an interest in.
Virtual career fairs may have set schedules on particular days, where attendees can chat in real-time with employers and recruiters, but unlike traditional career fairs that run for a certain period, these events are evergreen and never actually close.
How do you organize a virtual career fair?
What is the best virtual meeting software?
- Skype for Business.
- Amazon Chime.
- Zoho Meeting.
What are some great virtual career fair platforms?
- Gr8 People.