Virtual events have skyrocketed in popularity over the past year, due to the restrictions placed on in-person gatherings. Many organizations pivoted their regular meetings and events to virtual platforms, and we can attribute these changes to the availability of interactive virtual event platforms that provide technology to make virtual activities possible. This software has helped events become even more valuable for organizations and attendees alike, ensuring that virtual interactions are a trend that will likely continue even after the pandemic.
Companies and job seekers have found that virtual hiring fairs are easier to organize, access, and manage. It’s also cheaper for hosting organizations and offers a more personalized experience to attendees. Therefore, it’s an effective way to find top-quality talent for your organization.
What is a Virtual Hiring Fair?
A virtual hiring fair is an online event where employers, recruiters, and hiring managers meet with job seekers to discuss their industry, company culture, opportunities, and hiring process. They may even interview potential candidates for current job openings.
Students and alumni attend the fair with the hope of obtaining a position or finding information about what to do to get a foot in the door of their ideal organization. Since the event is virtual, professionals who are not actively searching for jobs can also attend to learn about available opportunities.
To find top talent through a virtual hiring fair, organizers must focus on attracting top talent to the event, then structure the event in a way that provides an interactive atmosphere to encourage participants to be actively engaged.
Here are steps to follow to attract, discover, and hire quality talent at your next virtual hiring fair.
- Select a Virtual Fair Platform
- Promote Your Virtual Fair
- Set a Practicable Agenda
- Post-event Follow-up
Continue reading to learn more!
Select a Virtual Fair Platform
The success of your virtual hiring fair depends on your choice of technology. You need reliable technology with video conferencing and interactive tools to execute a seamless virtual job fair. Therefore an effective virtual event platform can meet the needs of a virtual hiring fair too, so long as it’s built out with a number of helpful tools. When you look for a platform on which to host your virtual job fair, be sure to look out for the following features:
- HD Livestreaming – The platform should support live presentations to a general audience. This will allow you to open the event, support large-group activities, and encourage engagement with your event as a whole.
- User Profiles – Your solution should have user profiles for both the participating companies and attendees. The profiles should include important information about all of the users on the platform for ease of identification and interaction. For instance, attendees may include their resumes on their profiles, while companies may include open positions. Company representatives should be able to view the profiles of potential candidates and vice-versa.
- Branded Virtual Booths – These are virtual stands that are branded for each participating company. Candidates can visit the booths to check out potential employers. Each booth can feature group chat rooms and 1:1 video chats enabled for interview purposes. There should also be resource sections where companies can place videos, presentations, and other helpful materials for candidates to view or download.
- Mobile Optimization – The platform should also have a mobile event app to provide on-the-go access for participants. This way, they can access key information about potential employers whether they’re sitting on their couch or riding the train.
Generally, the platform should have interactive tools such as live chats, video chats, Q&A, polling, and meeting scheduling. This is how you’ll be able to encourage active participation between the employers and attendees at the event. The platform should also offer the highest security features and provide access to real-time event analytics and reporting.
Promote Your Virtual Fair
Virtual hiring fairs can provide access to a large pool of potentially great candidates, but you need an effective promotion strategy to attract them. Create a compelling message to attract the best candidates to register for the event, outlining specific attributes you are looking for and explaining how participants stand to benefit from attending. You should also mention the companies they will be meeting at the event and the types of professional opportunities available. Consider the following in your messaging:
- Be specific about the fields and qualifications you need in attendees
- Make a note about who can attend and what basic attributes they must possess
- Briefly describe what the virtual fair will look like, assuring prospective attendees it will be interactive
- Give a clear call-to-action regarding signing up and expressing interest in the event. If possible, provide a registration deadline.
Your next step is to share the information using platforms where your target audience can and will easily find it. Here are some suggestions for potential marketing platforms:
Company Career Page
Place the notification of the career fair on your company website, and encourage all participating companies and sponsors to do the same.
Promote your event on all social platforms where your target audiences are active (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.). Edit your message to suit the voice specific to each of the platforms.
Send information about the hiring fair to everyone in your email list. Be sure to leverage email list segments and adjust your promotion message to best appeal to each of these groups of prospective attendees.
If you have the budget, use social media ads, Adwords, and paid search tools to reach out to your target audience. The good thing about this strategy is that you can target your ads to those who are looking for similar opportunities to those you’re offering and who have the required qualifications.
Publish the Event on Facebook and Eventbrite
Both Facebook and Eventbrite allow users to create event registration pages and share them with their network online. Facebook events can be shared widely across your network and your registered attendees’ social feeds. Eventbrite has a powerful SEO presence such that events featured on the platform can attract attendees organically.
Set a Practicable Agenda
To ensure that the virtual hiring fair is interesting and engaging, set a practicable agenda by taking into consideration the short attention span of online audiences. Below are suggestions to adhere to this attention span during each aspect of the fair:
Create an interactive general session to provide guidance about the event and how attendees can maximize the opportunities offered. The general session can also include a keynote by HR experts on current hiring trends, and provide insights about how attendees can maximize professional opportunities.
Also, you can give each of the participating companies time to make presentations to the general audience so that attendees have more information about them and can effectively decide which companies to meet. The general session can also include a short round of questions and answers.
After the general session, allot time in your agenda for the participants to visit the booths of employers they’re interested in. At the booths, employers can talk more in-depth about their organization and available opportunities. Here, participants also get to ask more personal questions and access additional information.
Participants should be able to check-in and out of each booth seamlessly. Leverage virtual waiting rooms to limit the number of people admitted per time. This creates a more personal experience for attendees and ensures everyone is properly engaged. Companies should provide enough staff to engage attendees in group video chats.
Companies can be provided with a backend feature where they can invite potential candidates for an interview on a 1:1 video chat. This helps attendees get a jump start on the job hunt and allows companies to immediately reach those on the top of their prospective candidate list.
After all the interactions, host a closing session to wrap up the event. This could be an interactive forum where companies and attendees share feedback based on their experiences. You might also present event stats during this session to show the impact of the event, including the number of attendees present, interviews conducted, and the number of hires.
What you do after the event can make a major difference for both companies and individual attendees. You can retrieve the event’s analytics to discover data insights from candidates’ interactions and engagements during the event. You can watch the group chat videos again, scan through profiles, and spot high-quality candidates that fit your requirements.
To ensure that you can easily follow-up with candidates, leave the virtual platform and mobile event app operational after the event. You could even follow up with a candidate later and interview them on the platform.
When you interview candidates during a virtual hiring fair, don’t take too long before you let them know the outcomes. Top talents are usually in high demand. Therefore, you should streamline your recruitment process so you can maximize the gains and recruitment potential of your event.
Jordan Schwartz is president and co-founder of Pathable, an event app and website platform for conferences and tradeshows. He left academic psychology for the lure of software building, and spent 10 years at Microsoft leading the development of consumer-facing software. Frustrated with the conferences he attended there, he left Microsoft in 2007 with the goal of delivering more value and better networking opportunities through a next-generation conference app. Jordan moonlights as a digital nomad, returning often to his hometown of Seattle to tend his bee hives.