Finding the right talent is a recruiter’s top priority, and they constantly need newer avenues to discover talent. A new-age virtual job fair has risen as a great platform to bring job seekers and recruiters together from different regions and source talent globally.
Excited to know how you can conduct remote virtual job fairs? Read on to know how you can make it work.
What is a Virtual Job Fair?
It’s exactly what it sounds like: a job fair that takes place online rather than in one physical location.
Over the past few years, the shift to remote work has pushed recruitment teams to use innovative recruiting software to hire pro workers. Due to the fast-changing environment, nobody wants to be left behind.
While the benefits of tech, such as video conferencing and IP telephony, have been obvious, it’s high time staffing agents consider conducting virtual job fairs to attract the top talent.
To define it simply, it is an online event where recruiters and employers interact with job seekers and initiate a hiring process for potential candidates.
3 Types of Job Fairs
1. Virtual Job Fairs
Virtual job fairs take all the elements of a traditional job fair and transfer them directly into an online space.
That means the availability of virtual booths staffed by employers, chatrooms for job seekers and employers to connect, live demo sessions, and more.
Technology has made it possible to translate all facets of a physical gathering into a virtual which anyone can attend, right from their home!
2. Hybrid Job Fairs
Building an effective recruitment funnel to hire the right people can mean using a multifaceted approach. This is where the hybrid job fair comes in.
In this scenario, the job fair happens in a physical location but also has an online presence.
This can mean employers setting up booths at a venue for job seekers to visit in the usual way while also making online options available for remote workers.
3. Evergreen Job Fairs
Conventional job fairs tend to take place across one or two days. Evergreen virtual job fairs allow for the possibility of keeping the job fair open for a much longer period of time.
The way this tends to work is that you’ll set up a virtual job fair on your chosen platform, making resources and materials constantly available.
Job seekers will be able to send in applications at a time that suits them, and there will also be set times when webinars and meetings happen.
5 Major Advantages of Virtual Job Fairs
1. Reduced Costs
Booking a venue, AV equipment, and temporary staff doesn’t come cheap. Throw in the extra hospitality-related costs, such as providing lunch or parking space, and suddenly the bill starts to mount up fast.
You’ll still need to budget properly for a professionally run virtual fair. Some of the costs, such as marketing the event, will be similar—but unless you’re running a hybrid event, the lack of physical costs will constitute a huge saving.
2. Higher Attendance
High-paying, knowledge-based jobs can be done from anywhere these days, and many of us are still getting used to the full implications of this.
In a world where social recruiting is becoming ever more prevalent, it should be no surprise that virtual job fairs are too.
Traditionally, the number of attendees you could expect at your job fair would have been limited by geography. Factors such as travel time, attendee budget, and venue capacity would put a ceiling on total attendance. With virtual fairs, this is no longer the case.
Your headquarters may be in New York, but you can hire the best talent in Frankfurt or Singapore much more easily by going the virtual route.
The relative anonymity and security of virtual job fairs are more likely to attract those who may not feel comfortable attending traditional physical events.
3. More Efficient Recruitment
There are several highly efficient platforms available for running virtual job fairs. These generally include functionality such as smart résumé search, which helps employers narrow down the field of candidates quickly to those most suited to the role.
You can also use “matchmaking” tools that match job seekers to available jobs when they upload their information.
Essentially, virtual job fairs make the process of recruitment smoother all around. And just like switching to proposal software or knowledge-sharing tools, deciding to hold a job fair online means realizing efficiency gains that save everyone time.
4. Convenience and Flexibility
We’ve already touched on higher attendance being a key advantage of virtual job fairs. That’s a direct result of the convenience and flexibility they offer both to companies and job seekers.
At the same time, the cost and time commitment are much lower for everyone.
This enables people who might not otherwise be able to attend to show up. Employees might not want to take time off to go to a job fair, but if they can check in during their lunch break, why not?
5. Measurable Results
This is another big plus of choosing virtual job fairs. Because every element of data goes through the platform, you can measure exactly how successful the process has been.
It’s much like implementing a multichannel inventory sync system: you can trace exactly what’s happened on each part of the platform.
As a result, it’s possible to measure everything from webinar attendance and unique visitor numbers to how popular individual employers are with attendees. The real-time data obtained can be very useful for planning future events.
How to Set up Your Own Virtual Job Fair?
If you’re convinced and you want to give this a try, that’s great news. Certainly, it’s the way of the future; anyone looking to recruit Gen Z employees, for example, must consider it. So here are the steps you should take to make it happen.
Step 1 – Set a Budget
Yes, running job fairs virtually is less expensive than implementing them the traditional way, but it’s still an investment to which you’ll be dedicating significant resources. The total amount you spend will depend on several factors.
First comes the question of scope. Is this fair going to be locally focused, or is it going global? Anything is possible with modern communication systems. What is VoIP, if not a ticket to a worldwide chatroom, after all?
Then, it’s important to consider the details of your offering. How many events will you be hosting? Which virtual event tools and features will be necessary to deliver the best experience for both the employers exhibiting and the potential employees coming to meet them?
All of this will need to be taken into consideration when you make the major decision of defining your budget.
Step 2 – Create or Select a Platform
There are two ways of doing this. You can create your own virtual job fair platform if you have sufficient resources. Many companies, though, will prefer to use a ready-made third-party solution.
It doesn’t matter which you choose; just bear in mind that whatever option you go with should come with these functionalities:
- Multi-platform compatibility
- Secure chat
- Networking areas
- Customizable virtual “booths”
- Information desk
- Job board
- Resumé search capability
- Webinar tools
These are the basics, but there are extras you can add that will bring a little more sparkle. Digital swag bags are a clever idea, for example.
Your attendees may not be taking home a pile of branded merchandise as they would from a more traditional event.
But they don’t have to miss out; think infographics, presentation videos, playlists, presentation backgrounds, brochures, video conferencing backgrounds, and so on. Anything that can be emailed can work.
Step 3 – Develop a Strategy
It’s advisable to start planning at least three months before the job fair. This will give you and your team plenty of time to pull everything together. Choose a launch date for your event that will encourage good attendance.
Set specific goals for attendance numbers; this will form part of your pitch for attracting companies to exhibit and corporate sponsorship (if appropriate).
One big mistake that some senior managers make is underestimating how much time it will take for all the necessary content to be created.
If you’re in that role, ensure you leave ample time for your team to produce these goods, such as newsletters, blogs, video teasers, and pamphlets. Don’t simply assume they can deliver to a very tight deadline. Build in some contingency.
And don’t forget the fun part of strategy development: aligning the event with your own brand. For instance, does your business specialize in gaming solutions?
Harness that and gamify the heck out of the event. Everyone involved will enjoy it all the more, making your job fair stand out.
Step 4 – Recruit Staff, Exhibitors, and Sponsors
By now, you should have a good idea of the scale of the event. This will enable you to decide how many workers you’ll need to assign or hire to keep everything running smoothly.
You’ll need enough people to moderate chat rooms, create and design content, and act as administrators. The onboarding process will go more smoothly if you convey content in interactive ways, such as via design templates.
At the same time, you should pitch your event to the organizations and individuals who will make the fair what it is.
This includes businesses and other employers, guest speakers to run webinars, or even experts to offer advice on topics, such as CV building workshops or training programs.
Step 5 – Promote the Event
Getting people to attend job fairs can be a challenge. So pull out all the stops: ensure everyone knows your event is the place to be.
Use a multichannel approach to reach your target audience. This can involve social media campaigns, email marketing, PR campaigns, and any other platform you think will reach the right people.
Be creative. If you see an opportunity for a touch of newsjacking, use it. Sometimes the most effective marketing can include more unorthodox techniques like this, although they’re not a substitute for the basics of a well-thought-out campaign.
Step 6 – Launch and Evaluate
There will be a few nerves on launch day as you wait to see whether anyone turns up! But if you’ve done your homework, there’ll be nothing to worry about. As long as you’ve made it easy for attendees to register online, they will come.
You’ll have put in place all the software you could possibly need, from your virtual platform to your UCaaS solutions (UCaaS meaning “Unified Communications as a Service,” which can come in handy for hybrid events). It’s all good.
Putting on a job fair of any kind can be a terrific brand-builder for your company. Putting on a virtual job fair will also boost your forward-thinking credentials. So you may find that it’s something you would like to do again.
If so, evaluating the success of your event will be vital. But either way, you’ll be able to use the data generated by the job fair to garner useful insights into current best practices in recruitment.
There’s no doubt that hiring in the modern business environment can be a challenge. So it’s good to know that organizing your own virtual job fair can give you a competitive edge.
If you follow the steps we’ve laid out here, you’ll be well on your way to making a tremendous success of your event. We wish you the best of luck!
John Allen is a driven marketing professional with over 14 years of experience, an extensive background in inbound call center services, building and optimizing digital marketing programs across SEM, SEO, paid media, mobile, social, and email, with an eye to new customer acquisition and increasing revenue.