We can close our eyes and imagine the world opening up again. The crowds, the celebrating, the actual high fives! But certain aspects of quarantine life, like online job fairs, may stick around long after the fireworks and our “return to normal.” The drastic shift in how we meet and, in this case, recruit new hires has revealed benefits that we couldn’t have fully realized under different circumstances. Now, in the eyes of many, there’s no turning back — even when we’re allowed to cram into conference halls and shake hands once again. (Or bump elbows, if that’s still a thing.) Over the past year, vFairs proudly helped to connect candidates all over the world with their next employer — and similarly, connect businesses with the ideal candidates. Our Virtual Job Fairs even expedite the interview and hiring process, eliminating the stress and cost of endless calls and in-person interviews. Along the way, we’ve witnessed firsthand why this online alternative to physical job fairs may have life well beyond the quarantines, by hearing about the experience and outcomes from organizers, exhibitors, and job seekers. The future is bright for online job fairs, and the reasons are many and varied. The benefits of attending a job fair online 2020 was a tough year for the average employee, and that’s an understatement. As the pandemic grew in scope, millions of workers were thrust into unemployment, and facing the toughest job market in decades alongside millions more recent graduates. Not only were jobs hard to find, but offices and in-person meetings came to a halt due to the health risks of COVID-19. This sent everyone to the web to network, apply, and interview in record numbers. Online job fairs and virtual networking in general became a saving grace for many. Some of the largest job sectors, including software, financial services, and health care placed an emphasis on virtual career fairs, to streamline their search and give job seekers a convenient way to learn about hiring businesses and apply for relevant positions. Even when applying for in-person roles, this became the most effective way for workers to discover opportunities, meet with recruiters, and submit applications to many jobs at a time. By attending a job fair online, job seekers optimized their search, saved precious time, and increased their chances of making an impression. The rise of remote work At the same time, the concept of remote working transformed — practically overnight — from a niche offering to the way of the land. Some teams couldn’t even return to the office if they wanted to, with companies left and right shrinking their office space or closing it altogether for both budget and safety reasons. And as this paradigm shifted, so did the need to hire locally for millions of roles, old and new alike. Online job fairs have pushed the door open for talented candidates to meet potential employers, whether they are down the street or on the flip side of the globe. Remote employment is further cementing itself as the standard, perhaps for years to come. According to a recent Cisco poll, 90 percent of respondents say they don’t plan to return to the office full time. With this, virtual job fairs and online networking will facilitate the job search in this new frontier of fully distributed and hybrid teams. Modern software platforms will also help with remote onboarding and job training, to add further convenience for all involved. The benefits of hosting a job fair online As far as employers are concerned, the perks of online hiring are becoming more apparent by the day. Like most pandemic-related shifts, the move to virtual hiring began mostly out of urgency, when in-person events became a no-no for public safety reasons. But as we head into a new year, business leaders will leverage this technology for its many upsides, and not just the necessary precautions. Below are some of the primary benefits of online job fairs for organizers, recruiters, and hiring managers. 1). Find the best fit The flexibility of virtual hiring events is the number-one selling point for recruiters, according to research by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). This means the ability to meet candidates where they are, rather than limiting candidate pools to those in a job’s immediate vicinity. If you’re hiring for a critical position and looking for a perfect match — in terms of both skills and culture fit — opening your search to remote candidates can increase the overall quality of talent immeasurably. Bringing your job fair online will attract rockstars and aces that were not previously an option. With this global talent pool attending your event, recruiters can meet the actual best fit, and begin a long and fruitful work relationship with on-the-spot applications and interviews. 2). Ensure job seeker comfort and safety Let’s say that tomorrow, like magic, our governments gave us the green light to go back to physical events. How many of us would feel truly comfortable rushing out to a crowded meeting hall? Show of hands? The hard truth is, comfort levels with physical closeness and content will vary widely for the foreseeable future, even with proper vaccines. Those choosing to host physical job fairs next year may see events that are unintentionally exclusive, that force cautious job seekers to miss out. It’s safe to say that online job fairs will promote inclusivity for everyone, across the spectrum of personal comfort and safety. And this thoughtfulness will not only attract the largest possible group of talent, but ensure the best experience at the event and leave a good impression long after it’s over. 3). Consolidate the process and maximize efficiency Recruiting is a pain. From posting the ads, to sorting through applicants, to scheduling umpteen interviews and follow-ups, hiring for even one position is strenuous at best. Toss in the stresses of a traditional job fair (e.g. venue operations, catering, booth setup and breakdown), and you have quite the operational headache. Virtual job fairs, such as those offered by vFairs, condense these to-dos into a ta-da! Rather than spreading the hiring process out over weeks, across untold phone calls, software programs, and logistics challenges, hiring teams can optimize the whole shebang with one seamless online experience. When attendees discover an intriguing company or position, they can learn all they need to know at virtual recruiter booths, chat with team reps, submit their resumes, and take part in virtual interviews. Recruiters can use the same platform to filter through resumes, invite qualified candidates to talk, and even deliver job offers. Thanks to online job fairs, the hiring process can be smooth and painless, giving back countless hours and removing unnecessary stress. 4). Eco-Friendly While the pandemic has monopolized our conversations in 2020, climate change and other environmental concerns are impossible to ignore. In a recent study by Pew Research, a record 64 percent of US adults said that protecting the environment should be a top policy priority in the coming years. Going green, as the saying goes, will involve nearly every aspect of how we live and work, including the events we attend. Physical events such as job fairs have an enormous carbon footprint, especially when factoring in the commute for thousands of attendees. Taking your company’s job fair online can effectively eliminate most of the waste and carbon emissions of an in-person event. Even a single virtual event can be one of the most eco-friendly decisions your business makes in the coming year, and eco-minded job seekers are sure to take notice. If your business goes all-in on virtual job fairs, the planet will surely be grateful, and you will help make it a more livable place for generations to come. As more and more companies take on green initiatives, online job fairs may become the obvious choice for this reason alone. 5). Lower costs Save for a few choice industries and businesses, we’re all in the financial struggle together right now. The large gatherings of yesteryear are a true money pit, with costs coming in from all sides (e.g. venue rental, accommodations, technical assistance, and so on). As the economy slowly comes around, there’s no need to rush out and spend this excess cash just to plan a networking event. Paired with the environmental footprint, this is its own type of waste entirely. Side-by-side, there’s no comparison between the cost of a physical job fair and a virtual job fair. An online job fair can save organizers and partnering organizations thousands of dollars at a time, while also reducing the additional costs of a lengthy hiring process after the fact. Not to mention, planned attendees will each save on travel and other arrangements. As we all continue to tighten our belts, businesses will choose online alternatives like virtual job fairs to keep budgets in check and reallocate that money where it needs to go: into the pockets of employees. Online job fairs in 2021 and beyond Whether a company is hiring 3 new employees or 33,000 — we see you, Amazon — online job fairs are proving that they’re not just a flash in the pan(demic). This tech-forward alternative to in-person hiring events is helping to bridge the gap between companies and their dream candidates, even if they’re on opposite sides of the world. And from convenience to safety to saving that very planet, there’s more than ample evidence that they will remain a force in how we meet and hire employees, even when physical gatherings are back in session. vFairs is excited to be on the ground floor with online job fairs, delivering these solutions to a global audience since well before the pandemic brought them into the limelight. Next year and beyond, we look forward to connecting talent with their next great gig, and vice versa, through the wonders of virtual events. We’ll be celebrating the end of lockdown just like everyone else, with all the high fives and elbow bumps! But we’re glad that online job fairs are here to stay, and will continue to make life easier for everyone involved. About vFairs At vfairs.com, we strive to build a top-class online event platform that will help event organizers make memorable connections with their target audience. We’re obsessed with taking out the hassle normally associated with physical events, leaving organizers and exhibitors to focus on what’s most important – engagement with the audience. Get in touch with an expert to learn more about vFairs here.