How APUS drastically improved engagement and satisfaction at its Virtual Job Fair and delivered ROI in under 4 weeks. About APUS APUS is the sixth largest university in the United States by enrollment volume and is a premier online learning institute that offers a host of respected and affordable student-focused online programs. The institute plays special focus towards equipping the nation’s military and public service communities with quality education and leadership skills to excel in the global employment landscape. The Challenge After achieving the goal of conferring an impressive 90,000 degrees and counting, the team at APUS wanted to take their efforts a step further by helping students connect with leading global employers. In doing so, however, they faced multiple challenges: Their old digital event platform experienced routine crashes without resolution. Using two different servers at the events (one for students and another for employers) frequently resulted in students/alumni not being able to communicate with recruiters when either server was overloaded. Refreshing pages to resolve lag took attendees to the homepage with all engagement being lost. Decent event turnout yet low volume interactions between students and employers indicated that navigation problems were causing massive event dropouts. Despite good event engagement, event satisfaction scores were perpetually underwhelming. Time-to-setup for events was over 12 weeks which limited the frequency of hiring events that APUS could conduct per annum. Each event took 13 active staff members to function which was a drain on manpower. “We knew we lost users before due to the platform crashing or not functioning correctly. We run surveys after each event for both the attendees (students/alumni and employers). In previous results, many people from both groups expressed dissatisfaction with the platform.” – Ann Eastham, Career Services Event Manager, APUS. Solution & Implementation Ann Eastham, APUS Career Service’s Event Manager, was tasked with executing an engaging virtual job fair for the institute’s diverse student/alumni base. She had conducted multiple online hiring events for APUS in the past which left her with a firm idea on how to go about selecting an alternative virtual event platform that solved their most crucial challenges. Her ten main criteria for selecting a virtual event solution were: Ability to ensure only APUS student/alumni & invited employers are participating Indicator for who is online at any given time during event Allowing multiple recruiters from same organization to participate Student/Alumni required to complete registration form and resume upload Ability for recruiters to select time slots when they will be available Ability for student/alumni to view and filter/search by full schedule of recruiter availability Ability to take chat session to phone and/or video Ability for student/alumni users to search/filter participants by different criteria (locations, security clearances, etc.) Ability for the APUS CS team to access and monitor event and activity in real-time Availability of all chat transcripts for review during/after event The entire scope of the event layout and design was set up in under 4 weeks. This included user training, event configuration, content consolidation and set up. To ensure that the design did not alienate APUS’s less technologically inclined students and alumni, intuitiveness, and ease of use were kept at top priority and the platform was also made flexible for customizations. This was done to enable team APUS to try out new ideas and make sure that the system was working for them. “vFairs met our needs with product and support. We’re a small, yet high-functioning team with high goals. We needed a vendor that could support us while still allowing us to control details regarding our event and vFairs did just that.” – Ann Eastham, Career Services Event Manager, APUS. Attendee Feedback APUS was always known for delivering engaging virtual hiring events complete with compelling content and leading employers looking to recruit. However, achieving attendee satisfaction always proved to be a hurdle due to the clunky event interface and low bandwidth servers. With a vFairs-powered Virtual Job Fair, APUS received overwhelmingly positive feedback from students, alumni and recruiters with anecdotal feedback centered around the platform’s ease of use, visually appealing layout and prowess at providing multiple interactive touch points between job-seekers and employers. “Really enjoyed the new platform! Easy to navigate and manage multiple chats at once. Students were prepared as per usual and was overall a very good experience!” – An exhibitor. “It was all very intuitive. The left/right scrolling function allowed me to view all the booths. I also appreciated that each booth had a list of job vacancies and links to the company’s websites.” – A student. The Results After switching to vFairs for their virtual hiring events, APUS’s requirement for active staff members to participate in events went down from 13 to 5, owing to the dynamic cloud-based platform. This event also had their highest recorded turnout despite APUS having cut down on event marketing to make time for training their staff and users with the new technology. This was a very promising sign for future events that would require lesser training time and would be marketed to full potential. The Career Services team at APUS was able to meet, exceed and maintain metrics and was also able to drill-down into the performance at each booth for a more realistic picture of the event ROI. The event had 86 pre-registrations and 384 visits when the event was live. This raised the event turnout to an astounding 142% APUS managed to get 38 top employers to exhibit at their virtual job fair with an average of 30 visitors per virtual booth. “We saw volume increase across most metrics including turnout, chat per student, chat per employer, and chat per recruiter. We were able to record booth visits, as well as tab visits to gain better insight into student usage, a metric we were not able to track with our previous system.” – Ann Eastham, Career Services Event Manager, APUS. 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 and leaving organizers and exhibitors to focus on what’s most important: engagement with the audience.