In April, Corridor Careers hosted its first-ever Virtual Career Fair, and we learned quite a bit. Hosting over 10 employers, and a couple hundred job seekers simultaneously was a lot of fun, but it also came with some challenges. If you are looking for some virtual career fair best practices, we’ve got a few to help your company make their next virtual career fair a success!
This crazy time we are living in called COVID-19 has forced us to re-think a lot of normal business operations. For instance, when is the last time you shook someone’s hand? Many have not even stepped foot in an office space (except at home) for many weeks. And public hesitation to refrain from attending large-scale gatherings puts virtual career fair options at the top of mind for many businesses.
What Are Your Must-Have Virtual Career Fair tools?
Make a list of the things that you need for your career fair. Common tools include a dedicated page for registrants to sign-up, as well as notifications to make sure they attend. Others include:
- Easy information exchange between employer and job seekers
- Ability to brand your virtual booth to build job seeker trust
- Secure live chat features to interact real-time with candidates
- Options to share culture videos, company benefits information and other info you would typically hand out at an in-person fair
- Ability to review job seeker qualifications or interests to be proactive in your digital outreach
Platform Best Practices
After you make a list of everything you need to host your fair it’s time to vet prospective platforms. There are a variety of platforms with different features and costs associated with each. For instance, a single employer may have platform needs that are different to those of a job site like Corridor Careers. Do your research. Set up virtual demos with your top 3 picks to discuss pricing, features, capabilities. This is also a good chance to vet the account manager you are speaking with. Do you like speaking with them? Or are they not your type? Having a strong account manager can help elevate an platform that lacks a few features.
Marketing Best Practices
Got your platform? Time to go to market. Pick a time, date, and announce your virtual career fair using all means possible. In April, this is where Corridor Careers had to veer off because we already had started marketing an in-person career fair in April. We had to get agile, and adjust quickly with COVID, as did many organizations. Luckily, as a regional jobs platform, and we ran marketing ads on our own site to attract job seekers.
Some ideas for general marketing:
- Social Media
- Event pages
Those will reach a wide variety of job seekers, which is great for some organizations depending on your hiring needs. But if you know the ideal candidate you are looking for, go to where they are. A lot of job seekers aren’t job seekers until they are pursued or they are given incentives to take a look. Where I’m going with this is that you may already have people in your organization who have a similar job to what you are looking to hire. Ask your co-workers where they hang out. Online? In LinkedIn? What Facebook groups are they a part of? Do they know anyone in their peer groups with experience?
Final Push: Go Live Best Practices
The week leading up to your virtual career fair, it’s time to make a final push! We’ve found this to be very effective. Increase your emails, distribute your press release, and energize your social media presence. Get people excited! A lot of job seekers will be on the fence about whether they want to go or not. Sometimes it takes several touches (up to 7) to get a job seeker interested.
Why Virtual – Pros and Cons of Virtual Career Fairs
It’s easy to see why the year 2020 is the year of a virtual career fair. Let’s face it, this year is weird with COVID-19. But what about in a few years when this pandemic is hopefully behind us? Let’s take a look at good reasons to perhaps keep a virtual career fair going instead of in person.
- Opportunity to get more qualified applicants due to the flexible nature of a virtual event.
- Access to candidates from anywhere, they do not need to be tied to local geography.
- Potential cost savings – no billboards, or pop-up banners, no rental space, no food and drink, etc.
- Easily share company videos, photos, and receive applicant resumes before the fair begins.
- Time savings.
There aren’t many negatives about a virtual event:
- Some recruiters and job seekers like the intimacy an in-person career fair offers – it’s closer to a real-world interview.
- Job seekers who have to show up in person are potentially more active or invested as job seekers. To counter this, lots of reminders/notifications can help virtual attendees remember to attend and get engaged in a conversation with your company.
In a nutshell, having a virtual career fair is a great idea! Whether you are hiring for one job, or multiple, job seekers are getting comfortable with this. This year has opened up a variety of new experiences online that people are open to. Virtual career fairs are one of those things! Thanks for checking out our career fair best practices. If you don’t want to have to put on an event yourself, and you’re looking to hire for open positions, check out our upcoming Virtual Career Fair on September 17th. We’ll take care of following these best practices so you can focus on what you do best: hiring great talent.