With the rise of dynamic and user-friendly virtual career fairs giving traditional hiring events a tough competition, it’s easy to see why event hosts ranging from organizations and employment agencies to trade associations and universities want in on a piece of the action. Paving way for improved hiring outcomes, while simplifying career fair setup, execution, and even post-event analysis, online career fairs are a game changer that deliver multiple wins at the fraction of a cost of a physical event.
What Is a Virtual Career Fair?
Virtual career fairs have surfaced as a dynamic solution to help employers break free from all the limitations of traditional hiring events. By providing a 3D online platform, employers and job seekers can now connect in a virtual setting mimicking the feel of a physical event, but without the restrictive attributes known to be a source of frustration for recruiters.
Creating a branded digital environment, a virtual career fair eliminates the need for exhibitors or attendees to invest in expensive travel, reschedule their prior commitments, or lose out on valuable networking opportunities due to geographical distances. Also empowering businesses with the freedom to select future talent from a global candidate pool, finding the perfect employee is no longer the daunting task that it once was.
The “wow” factors for exhibitors
Ensuring a realistic event experience, virtual career events offer powerful customizable features such as bespoke exhibitor booths with downloadable content, galleries, and streamable videos. A virtual career fair can also offer tremendous flexibility in its running time and be set up to be live as long as the host prefers, a perk that no physical hiring event could deliver without draining the recruitment budgets in a hurry.
The convenience doesn’t end here; by using functionalities such as resume search tools, exhibitors can breeze through their recruitment funnel by immediately shortlisting talent.
How do job seekers attend the virtual career fair?
All that is needed is a quick registration through a dedicated landing page that enables candidates to build their profile and upload their resume. Once done, the digital career fair can be accessed by visitors using their internet connection and mobile/desktop device from anywhere in the world. Visitors can access the event 24/7, allowing prospects to conveniently browse exhibitor booths, network, explore job boards, and apply for positions digitally without physical presence.
Click here to learn more about how job seekers can make the most of virtual career fairs.
To ensure two-way communication, a well-designed event hosting platform will provide real-time audio, video, and text-based chat options for candidates to interact with employer representatives. Virtual career fairs work overtime to attract and retain audiences through on-demand webinars, real-time Q&A sessions, and live keynote speeches to deliver exceptional value for hosts, employers, and guests simultaneously around the globe.
To know all about virtual career fairs, read vFairs’ dedicated article on the topic.
In the past decade, virtual events were treated more as a fad after market leaders like IBM initiated the practice. Companies of all sizes were diving deep into the idea without really analyzing the pros and cons of hosting digital career fairs. This naturally led to some events that performed poorly and others that were downright disastrous. After understanding what a virtual career fair is, in all its entirety, it becomes crucial to understanding its innate benefits and whether these advantages fall in line with your recruiting and employer branding objectives.
Virtual career fairs play a key role in helping companies ace their staffing without compromising on talent quality, cost, or hiring targets. With traditional fairs known to be a hub for recurring challenges, some standard dilemmas faced by employers are:
- Bringing together job seekers and attractive employers under one physical roof
- Expensive venue rental, logistics, administrative planning, and event management
- Low attendance volume due to the inability of guests and exhibitors to participate from across the state or country without hefty travel price tags
- Inefficient talent acquisition due to manual resume sorting/shortlisting performed by hiring managers
- Difficulty in marketing and attracting qualified prospects to the career fair
- Boring visitor experiences due to limited mediums for sharing informational content
- No measurable results or real-time insights to determine event ROI and overall effectiveness.
This article on the benefits of choosing a virtual career fair covers these points in detail, but here’s a quick list of the benefits that organizations can reap from these events:
1). Improved recruitment efficiency
The virtual platform can be enriched with applicant tracking tools and smart resume search features to help employers part ways with slow candidate shortlisting practices.
2). Higher visitor attendance
Regardless of their location across the globe, the removal of travel and time constraints when compared to physical events encourages higher participation and catches the eye of both passive and active candidates.
3). Building candidate pipelines
Gaining access to talent with diverse backgrounds and skillsets, employers benefit from well-rounded candidate pipelines to aid collaborative and swift recruitment.
4). Easy information exchange
Eliminating the need for marketing materials and expensive corporate giveaways, virtual career fair features such as the Video Vault and Resource Center help to easily share company videos, photo galleries, FAQs, brochures, and more to paint an attractive picture reflecting company culture.
5). Powerful employer branding
Providing employers with personalized booths, the look, colors, style, and feel of the virtual event replicates branding objectives for hosts and exhibitors. Booths are equipped with high-resolution staff avatars in addition to special tabs to share video content, documents, vacancies, company overviews, and even chat options.
6). Exciting visitor experience
Did you know that jobs get 36% more applications when paired with video content? Imagine the improved visitor traction if employers used webinars to boost audience interactions. Virtual platforms can host webinars, prerecorded or live, to discuss popular industry topics, or even invite guest speakers to initiate interesting Q&As.
7). Secure live chat
Online career events provide booths with chat features, enabling job seekers to quickly reach out to booth representatives and get answers in real time. Meanwhile, recruiters can also make use of this technology for quick interviewing to screen candidates on the spot.
8). Hassle-free setup
A virtual career fair is an awesome time-saver; the online event can be set up in a matter of weeks, to help hosts accelerate hiring and not lose precious time in putting together a hiring solution with high risks and unnecessary costs.
9). Pre-event marketing support
The online event streamlines pre-event marketing, with vendors mastering email marketing, social media campaigns, and implementing landing pages for easy candidate registration.
10). Measurable results
Acquiring real-time data to identify preferred employers, job types, unique and recurring visitors, webinar views, and more provides measurable insights to help drive consistent improvement in event quality.
What Are the Different Types of Virtual Career Fairs?
With 64% of staffing firms experiencing an uphill struggle to meet employer needs, career fairs have a key role to play in sourcing candidates. Hosted with the objectives of connecting job seekers and employers to network, promote employment opportunities, and support smart recruitment, virtual career fairs can be hosted in a few distinct ways.
1). Virtual Career Fair
A refreshing, modern, and cost-effective yet impactful take on bespoke event hosting, virtual career events are not just the future, but also a current favorite among organizers. Providing access to a global audience, powerful digital footprint, and engaging functionalities such as webinars and video vaults, the online event hosting platform attracts and retains job seeker interest like nothing else. Equipping hosts with the advantage of quick setup within 3-4 weeks instead of months of planning, virtual career fairs are known to attract 7x the traffic due to unlimited capacity and round-the-clock event hosting convenience.
Encompassing other innovative features such as easy-to-navigate virtual lobbies and webinar-friendly auditoriums, participating employers are provided custom-designed booths in the exhibitor’s hall, enriched with useful content including current job openings, company overviews, informational videos, and downloadable brochures. Making all information paperless and efficient, visitors can have focused one-on-one chats with booth representatives and even interview on the spot via audio/chat/video capabilities.
Taking away the need for travel, job seekers can explore employment prospects in a secure digital setting and submit resumes online to instantly become a part of a powerful candidate pipeline.
2). Hybrid Career Fair
Combining the attributes of both online and traditional career fairs, hybrid events take place in both a physical and digital setting. For instance, the host can bring together employers and local job seekers in a physical setting with booths for more focused in-person communication, but also provide companies with online booths for remote candidates to view vacancies and apply for roles online.
With studies indicating that hybrid events can increase event attendance and productivity by 20% and 27%, respectively, they are excellent at targeting active and passive candidates, improving hiring quality, and enabling data-driven lead tracking. With virtual events tracking registration, logins, chats, downloads, and other metrics, this route is great for hosts to monitor engagement levels and even conduct post-event follow-ups.
3). Evergreen Virtual Career Fair
For organizations interested in virtual career fair longevity, hosting evergreen events is the perfect solution.
So what is an “evergreen” online career fair? Simply put, the online event remains available for an extended period of time (could be months or even years) to always keep recruitment momentum in action. The “live” aspects are confined to a small amount of time — for example, live chat and webinars are only scheduled for specific dates while the rest of the content, media, job boards, etc. are available for a longer period of time.
Read more detail about the different types of online career fairs to uncover which type suits your business needs the most.
The cost-effectiveness of a digital career fair, when compared to a physical recruitment event, has often been a topic of debate. With skepticism involving the extent of saving up for grabs, a simple contrast of expenses is enough proof of its impact, incredible ROI, and the ability to provide substantially more value for less.
You can read an extensive financial comparison and analysis of both a virtual and conventional career fair in this article: Cost Savings: Virtual Career Fair Compared to Physical Career Fair
Here is a more summarized breakdown of everything that you should keep in mind when assessing the financials:
The Cost of Hosting a Virtual Event: Approx. $8,000 (USD)
On average, hosts can expect prices for the platform to start around $8,000 for an event, with the standard solution set covering the following technology, support, and services:
- Dedicated event manager from start to finish for hands-on assistance and expert advisory
- Customized event landing and registration page
- Unique branded virtual booths for each exhibitor
- Technical support for seamless event operations (e.g. prerecording webinars, design customizations, content uploading, etc.)
- Live technical support during the event duration
- Chat tools
- Post-event analytics and custom event reports
It’s important to note here that the costs continue to increase based on the length of the virtual event, the number of users, features in use, customizations, and optional marketing services that some vendors might offer.
The Cost of Hosting a Physical Career Fair: Approx. $27,715 (USD)
To determine the pricing and budget for a physical event, let’s take a look at some of the key costs involved:
1). Venue rental: $8,400
Even for a mid-sized local recruitment event with an anticipated audience of 300, when venue pricing is calculated based on the industry average of $0.14 per gross square foot per day, the rental cost incurred will be $8,400 for a 60,000 sq ft hall.
2). Parking: $1,000
Rental rates can range anywhere between $1,000 to $1,500 based on medium-to-large capacities.
3). Marketing: $5,500
Design, PR, strategy, and reporting services from an established agency can cost about $5,500/month.
4). Technology assets/audio and visual equipment rental: $1,000
Stage setup, equipment for keynote speeches, professional quality lighting rigs, projectors, and technical assistance all come at a price.
From assembling to delivery, on-site technical assistance and AV equipment rental rates for an 8-hour career fair will be an estimated $1,000 at bare minimum.
5). Insurance: $150
The cost of insuring a medium-sized career fair carries a starting price tag of about $150.
6). Hospitality: $4,200
Arranging on-site corporate catering even for a conservative group of 60 members (breakfast, afternoon snack, and lunch included) can run the organizer a hefty bill of up to $70 per person (or $4,200 in total).
7). Staffing: $4,000
The standard rule of staffing is providing at least 1 assistant for every 12 guests. For an 8-hour event with an audience of 300, you will require a team of at least 25. Rates start at an estimated $20 an hour, leading to a hike in expenses of $4,000.
8). Event planner and manager: $3,615
Event planners can charge on an hourly basis, or a flat fee based on the scale of the event.
To bring an experienced event manager on board, you will have to dedicate an estimated 15%-20% of the total event budget to this role.
Total event budget based on above-mentioned estimates: $24,100
15% of $24,100 = $3,615
Physical Career Fair (Summary of Total Costs): $27,715
- Venue Rental: $8,400
- Parking: $1,000
- Marketing: $5,500
- Technology assets/audio and visual equipment rental: $1,000
- Insurance: $150
- Hospitality: $4,200
- Staffing: $4,000
- Event planner and manager: $3,615
Researching aspects like the benefits of a virtual career fair being in sync with your event objectives and measuring the utility of the endeavor against its cost-benefit analysis is very important in making the grand decision of whether to go ahead with an Online Career Fair for your company. Once you’ve studied these aspects and your team is on board with taking the plunge, you need to move onto drilling-sown on what your virtual career fair needs to achieve and who will help you get there.
Features to Look For in a Virtual Career Fair (and Include in Your Checklist)
The success of an unforgettable virtual career event strongly depends on a fantastic feature set, to ensure not just fast recruitment but a stimulating experience, secure interactions, and of course, measurable performance outcomes.
Let’s dive into the core functionalities offered by virtual platforms that strengthen employer branding and reduce time-to-hire, meanwhile ensuring that your visitors are blown away with a lasting first impression.
1). Branded custom landing page
The first step to getting your virtual career fair noticed is setting up an exciting custom branded page where job seekers can register for the event, build profiles, and upload their resumes. This page should also provide a career fair overview, schedule, exhibitor details, job search advice, and additional information to match the host’s preferences.
2). Multi-platform compatibility
Accommodating job seeker attendance from around the world involves selecting a vendor that provides event hosting compatible with Android and iOS platforms.
3). Customizable branded booths
Mimicking the feel of a real-life event, your virtual platform of choice should provide each exhibitor with custom-designed booths and staff avatars to represent company representatives. Additionally, booths should enable ease of information exchange with tabs leading to content such as downloadable brochures, company job boards, videos, and chat options.
4). Easy navigation
The virtual career fair should offer a fantastic user experience, enabling visitors to browse in a user-friendly manner. Clearly titled spaces such as a lobby, exhibitor hall, auditorium, information desk, and networking lounges all serve dedicated functions and allow job seekers to navigate seamlessly.
5). Secure chat options
By incorporating audio, video, and text-based chat capabilities, talent can easily reach out to employer representatives. Moreover, recruiters can answer questions and even conduct on-the-spot screenings.
6). Networking lounge
Allowing all job seekers to connect in a chat room encourages open dialogue and discussion, where conversations can be initiated and valuable connections made.
Read more in our article, Mastering Conversational Recruitment in 2020 with Virtual Career Fairs.
7). Immersive webinars
Dynamic webinars are the virtual event superstars, with on-demand and live content such as keynotes speeches from organizers, Q&A sessions with industry experts, and other guest speakers sharing helpful advice to spearhead an overall immersive attendee experience.
Read more in our article, Why You Should Complement a Webinar with Your Virtual Event.
8). Swag bags
Paperless marketing and electronic job applications are ideal for eco-friendly employers interested in pursuing a “greener” hiring strategy. The online event should enable all downloadable resources to be added to what some vendors call a “swag bag” or a “briefcase.”
9). Video repository
Employers can make use of this feature to share compelling content, providing streamable videos highlighting company culture, upcoming initiatives, and other incentives to spark job seeker interest in applying for positions.
10). Information desk
For a job seeker or exhibitor new to the world of virtual events, there should be a help or information desk staffed by your technology provider to ensure that all guests’ questions are promptly answered.
11). WCAG accessibility compliance
The digital career fair should ideally be set up in compliance with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), offering special color contrasts, text character flexibility, page narrations, and captioned webinars to make the event exceptionally intuitive and meaningful.
12). Resume search filters
Smart resume search features allow for quick shortlisting based on recruiters’ selected criteria, to zoom into the talent of highest relevance within seconds for further screening.
13). Real-time job board
Making it effortless to search for jobs based on industry, job type, or company name, the job board makes it easy for talent to submit resumes. Meanwhile, the organizers enjoy the benefit of having real-time insights pertaining to metrics such as most-viewed jobs and applicant counts.
14). Measurable results
By hosting a virtual career fair, measuring all performance metrics that matter such as registrations, attendees, booth visits, webinar views, job applications received, and chats initiated is an essential feature for hosts to look forward to.
Features such as leaderboards and scavenger hunts can be incorporated into your event to award points to guests based on in-event activity and give away sponsored prizes.
Questions to Ask Your Virtual Career Fair Provider
After deciding on taking your next career fair to the digital space and finalizing all the design and functionality features it should contain, you’re onto the most critical step of the process: finding the right virtual platform provider for the job. Conducting the right amount of research before this shortlisting process will help in many ways. It will bring clarity to your team over what you absolutely need and what your deal-breakers will be. You should definitely use this opportunity to inquire about the specific functional and design requirements that will be unique to your online career fair, but here is a broader list of points that you must discuss in this consultation:
1). Will you get a detailed demo of the platform?
This is important for several reasons. No matter how great their platform looks on the brochure, you need a live demo to really get a sense of what your candidate journey will be like and how your team will handle the backend with all the chat interactions, CV submissions, content downloads, and live webinars taking place. The demo will allow you to analyze crucial features like on-the-spot interviews, platform navigation, and virtual booth displays, all of which would be impossible to scrutinize with mere presentations and photos.
2). How much customization can you do?
This is where you make the all-important decision of whether you want an off-the-shelf solution or a bespoke one that tends to your unique event needs and objectives. Although the former is generally cheaper and quicker to set up, a tailor-made solution can deliver a far better return on investment because it is designed to bring you the results that you are looking for.
Check with your provider about their ability to deliver on all the design and functionality changes you will need for your virtual career fair so there’s no confusion later on.
3). How long will they take for the event setup?
Knowing how long the provider will take to construct the event from start to finish will help you schedule and pace your pre-event marketing strategy. It will also help you prepare and train your team for the virtual event before it goes live and will also help you optimize your post-event follow-up strategy.
If you plan on bringing in event sponsors. the planning will depend entirely on when the event is expected to be ready. A competent virtual events provider takes anywhere from four to six weeks to set up a custom virtual event, however, this timeframe depends on your feature and design requirements.
4). Can you see any past event executions?
Customer stories, testimonials, and past events act as a great window into the work that your provider has done in the past. Looking at case studies or past event walkthroughs from their clients that are from your industry will quickly help you uncover whether the provider is competent in solving problems that you have or might face. It will also help you test the reliability and credibility of the provider, which is always a great place to start a partnership.
5). Where will the event be hosted and how secure will it be?
Getting answers to this question is vital to your career fair’s success. Be sure to ask your virtual event provider about their hosting company and the security features that they employ. Why is this important? You are paying a lot of money for the event and it is your right to have a finished platform that is free from fraud, viruses, and crashing servers when you have peak traffic at the virtual career fair.
6). Who owns the data?
Your online career event will likely have a lot of confidential data, ranging from candidate resumes and profiles to feedback forms and copyrighted videos, along with other marketing collateral. Because of this, it becomes important to detail who owns everything on the cloud storage platform. There should be no ambiguity over your provider’s rights to hosting and processing all the data and your solo rights to owning it.
7). What can you expect from their customer support?
In the end, we’re all humans running manmade technology. Even if your virtual career fair platform is designed to be foolproof, there are numerous situations that can pop up where you will need your provider’s support. In this case, you need to know the details of the person you can reach out to for any concerns or in-event troubleshooting.
Similarly, if your event and your provider operate in different time zones, it pays to know if you will have 24-hour live-event support from them when your virtual event is in motion. Knowing how much to expect from your provider will keep you prepared for all the ad-hoc contingencies that the best events are likely to present.
This dedicated article on questions you should ask your Virtual Career Fair provider covers this crucial topic in more detail.
How to Set Up a Virtual Career Fair
Planning and setting up a virtual career fair might sound like a daunting task, but as mentioned throughout this guide, the more research you do, the less process overhead there will be on the big day. If you’re partnering with a competent provider, most of these tasks will be taken care of at their end.
Nonetheless, it is important to know what falls under each of your domains so your event planning and execution runs like a fine-tuned machine. You can check out this thorough piece on how to set up a Virtual Career Fair for a detailed walkthrough, but without further ado, here is your quick step-by-step guide to setting up a digital career fair that delivers:
1). Set your business goals
Your virtual career fair will give you the metrics you want if you correctly plan for them. Are you planning on simply promoting your employer brand through the fair or are you looking to fill some specific job vacancies? How will you measure your event’s success? Will you be conducting interviews at the event or are you only looking to share your corporate content? Figuring out your specific event objectives will help you in all the other decisions you have to make when setting up a career fair that works for you.
2). Choose a platform
You can go one of two ways here. The more budget-friendly alternative is using a chat platform where candidates can interact with your reps at designated times. The other more elaborate alternative is the full-scale digital career fair that provides a richer and more immersive candidate experience.
Pay attention to the technicalities in choosing the platform, for instance:
- If you want to gauge the number of CVs you receive against each job post, you need a platform that has a job board integration.
- If conducting at-event interviews is another objective, your platform should offer audio, video, and text chat functionality.
- If you want to share assignments with shortlisted candidates, you need a platform that lets you do that.
- If it is a requirement, you’d want to be able to search through candidate parameters in real time during the event and reach out to them for a chat.
These are only a few of the technical requirements that will shape your event functionality and utility, so spend time in listing all that you need from your virtual career fair and try to opt for a platform that lets you customize your workflows so you capture the information that you need and skip all the other fluff.
3). Customize your virtual booths
What’s great about virtual booths is that they have a lot of room for exhibitors to get creative with the type of information they want to present to candidates. They have ample space for branding, content (videos, brochures, forms) and interaction, and loads of flexibility in the content format display. Here are a few things you can include at a virtual booth:
- List of open vacancies per department
- Downloadable and shareable company benefits
- Company stock and PR information
- Corporate and introductory videos
- A photo gallery showcasing work life at the company
Optimize each virtual booth for success by manning them with your best representatives. Having booth reps who are well-versed with their department information and the corporate culture can leave a lasting impact on all candidates who interact with them during the virtual career fair. Also, ensure that you cut the response time for each candidate query to under two minutes so that questions are resolved instantaneously and you build a lead-nurturing environment at the event.
4). Promote the event through an omnichannel approach
To make sure that there is enough buzz surrounding your event to guarantee a great candidate turnout at the virtual career fair, you need to aggressively market your upcoming event on all social media and PR channels. Partner with a good marketing agency to develop an integrated marketing campaign that conveys a common message across all marketing channels, ensuring that you reach the most people across your target segment.
Having a dedicated resource from your team overlooking all the pre-event marketing activities is a good idea as well, because you will know exactly who to contact to learn about the progress of your efforts, and the added accountability will help you achieve your campaign metrics a lot more smoothly. Some virtual event providers also assist in the event marketing department, so do check with your vendor whether you will be able to leverage their services here.
5). Monitor performance metrics
Quite possibly the most distinguishing advantage that a virtual career event has over a physical one is its ability to track every click, download, upload, chat interaction, and submission, enabling a transparent ROI analysis. Knowing how long your attendees stayed at the event and how engaged they were with what type of content sheds a lot of light into what worked and what didn’t. This valuable information helps in optimizing your next event for a more superior performance.
6). Follow up
After you’ve planned, designed and launched your virtual career fair, you can relax and get to qualifying all the leads that you have gathered, and you can do this in one of the following ways:
- Registration information: Grab contact details from the career fair sign-up form and reach out to job seekers.
- Attendees: People who actually attended the event after registering are more interested in your company than those who could not. Generate a mailing list from their information and follow up with them by sharing post-event marketing material.
- Applications: The resumes that were uploaded across your career fair are already part of your talent pool. Use these profiles to filter and match candidates to job vacancies.
- Chat room interactions: Many visitors will have dropped questions or other information during their chat interactions at the help desk or at individual booths. Use this information to generate leads and engage with them.
- Questionnaires/polls: You can also use surveys and polls to keep the audience engaged during the event. The data collected can be used to cluster visitors based on their responses, and different messages can be sent to these groups accordingly.
Now that you’ve set up a killer virtual career fair, it’s time to get to what it’s all about: getting the right people to tune into the event.
Reaching Millennials and Fresh Graduates
Let’s first talk about the ways of getting the attention of millennials who are actively looking for work. It’s easy to become overconfident and assume that since this demographic is looking for work, you don’t need to put in that much effort to reel them into your event. The truth is, with so much information clutter on the internet, it is very easy for your online career event promotions to get lost amidst the noise, unless you use the right tools to cut straight through it to reach your target audience.
Reinforce your employer brand
It’s a no-brainer that having a positive employer track record is monumental here. Reinforce your employer brand by engaging with your audience early on, to decrease the disconnect between what is being portrayed to them and what they have observed about your company.
It pays to work on your corporate image a couple of months prior to your virtual career fair using avenues like social media, CSR activities, and employee testimonials; by doing this, you help candidates enter the career fair with a certain degree of familiarity and trust in your organization.
Invest in compelling content
Be sure to prepare interesting and relevant material well in advance that you plan to share during the event. Aim to incorporate as many live Q&A sessions, webinars, and discussions because this audience won’t stick around for monotonous presentations. Also, make use of as many interactive videos as possible, supplemented with the opportunity for visitors to engage in live chats about the content they are viewing.
One of the best techniques to increase your event’s engagement score among college graduates is to allow them to interact with both the speaker and their peers before a webinar/live discussion is commenced. This can be particularly useful if your company HR Manager is hosting a live webinar session, since this opportunity can be used to share information about the work life at your company in an emphatic way.
Focus on live networking
When hosting fresh college graduates, live networking will be the backbone of your digital career event, which is why it’s essential to have professionals ready around the clock to sustain two-way communication when the event is live. Since your audience has opted-into the event, they have a certain freedom of choice when it comes to having these chat interactions or absorbing your content at will. Make the most of this by having all your content available “on-demand” so attendees can pick and choose the webinars they wish to attend rather than being forced to watch them on schedule.
Have a great post-event follow-up
Although it sounds too simple to mention, this practice often ends up being overlooked. Sending post-event “thank you” emails and event feedback surveys can leave an enormously positive impression on your audience, especially on the younger lot. You should also consider leaving your virtual career fair open for access for a few weeks after it has been wrapped up. This will keep your content evergreen and will keep bringing in prospects who could not make it to the live event.
Reaching Passive Job Seekers
Unlike regular candidates, this lot is not actively looking for work as they are currently employed elsewhere. Therefore, you won’t find their resumes submitted against your regular job posts. However, this doesn’t mean that they’re not looking for a job, just that they are not as actively engaged in the job-hunting process. Although it is difficult to attract passive candidates, the effort is almost always worth it because they have cultivated more on-the-job skills and teamwork abilities compared to their unemployed counterparts.
A virtual career fair presents a fantastic opportunity to reach out to this segment because it allows them the anonymity of participation that is otherwise compromised in a conventional fair (because some might not want to show their current employers that they are looking for other options), and the general low-pressure environment of a digital space allows them to remotely access your event without putting too much effort into going to a physical premises.
Here are some top tips for maximizing the engagement of passive job seekers at your virtual career fair:
1. Be personable: Incorporate chat tools on each virtual booth to nurture conversations more specific to the exhibiting department, while hosting a networking forum where visitors can engage in group discussions over an array of topics.
2. Ensure your application process is simple: Passive job seekers won’t spend much time filling out forms. To make sure that they stick around and submit their job applications, make sure that you provide quick links and short application formats to get the job done.
3. Be mobile-enabled: Convenient access will be your core USP in attracting passive candidates. Partner with a virtual event platform that constructs an event that runs seamlessly on any screen — be it mobile phones, tablets, or laptops.
4. Make yourself researchable: Make it easy for visitors to research your company by providing informative brochures, introductory videos, live Q&A sessions, webinars, and other resource formats that comprehensively deliver your employer brand.
5. Speed up the hiring process: Use this dynamic platform to engage in discussions with candidates, capture CVs, shortlist profiles, and invite candidates for online interviews right there at the event.
6. Don’t spam: The great thing about sourcing talent through a online career fair is that your visitors pre-qualify themselves for follow-ups once they register. However, be wary of over-communicating with your passive talent database. Keep interactions relevant and brief to ensure maximum impact that lingers long after the event has been wrapped up.
Read more about the engagement of passive job seekers at your event here: Tips to engaging passive candidates at your virtual career fair
Your Checklist for Running Seamless Operations
The big day is here! You’ve meticulously fine-tuned your event planning, gathered exhibitors’ requirements, implemented customizations, and cross-checked every detail that matters. But before you get ready to open doors for visitors to experience the virtual career fair magic, there’s an operational strategy that needs to be in place to ensure a vibrant guest experience, the details of which you can read here:
Want some advice on what best practices to follow as a part of your well defined operational strategy? Let’s jump right in: Checklist for running seamless operations.
1). Ensure ample staffing for chat support
Job seekers should be able to initiate conversations with recruiters and booth reps using the audio, video, and text-based chat functionalities.
If the event is scheduled to run for days or weeks, pre-scheduled chat hours can be displayed as a part of the booth design to ensure that visitors are aware of the timings (and corresponding time zones) in which live conversations with staff are possible.
2). Real-time technical support
Like all other events you’ve hosted, there is always the possibility of your guests running into an unanticipated problem or glitch that needs to be resolved immediately. Your vendor should provide live assistance to enable easy communication between the host and their team during the event.
3). Set up an information desk
Not all your visitors or exhibitors will be seasoned virtual event experts, so it’s only natural that support will be needed to facilitate easy career fair participation. This is why staffing your virtual information desk with an employee well acquainted with the platform is essential to deliver outstanding guest services.
Bonus tip: Create an event FAQ document available for quick download. A little effort will go a long way to leave visitors impressed with this display of foresight.
4). Run real-time reminders
When running an action-packed event with a lot of content for guests to consume, hosts have to take extra measures to help attendees actively participate in scheduled events. For example, live banners counting downtime till the next webinars, or banners steering traffic toward event spaces such as the networking lounge for a special Q&A session, can serve as signals for the audiences to explore the platform.
5) Don’t forget to get social
Hosts can take steps to incentivize visitors to share the event with others via social check-ins, in order to strengthen not just employer branding, but in turn boost visibility on social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn).
6). Add a touch of gamification
By incorporating competitions such as an event leaderboard to award sponsored prizes to guests based on activity, or a scavenger hunt across the event platform to facilitate giveaways, job seekers will be more invested in staying logged in for longer.
7). Include interactive webinars
Add at least one webinar session with a live Q&A feature. To get started, first select your speakers, set up a schedule beforehand, promote it, ensure that the speakers are trained on using the software, and also set up policies for the webinar (such as time limits). Making two-way communication easy to pursue priority, this effort will dramatically reduce the chances of a bored and unenthusiastic guest experience.
Also, remember, have technical assistance ready in case support is needed.
Defining Your Digital Career Fair Content Strategy (A Start-to-Finish Guide)
Today we’ll introduce to you a special kind of royalty — “content is king,” after all. A virtual career fair allows content to take the center stage. Setting up an online platform to allow a visually exciting recruitment event, companies can use this opportunity to build their brands and reputation as employer-of-choice.
A content strategy is required to inspire, inform, and raise awareness about your brand and its initiatives — a tad bit of homework for your team that will pay off well through exceptional talent acquisition and overall event ROI. We cover this topic in more detail in our start-to-finish guide on defining your virtual career fair content strategy, but here’s a summarized list:
Step 1: Determine your event type
Before you embark on a mission to outline your content strategy, it’s important to identify which one of these event hosting categories you fall into:
1) Are you hosting a solo virtual career event only for your company’s openings?
If the answer is no, skip to the next question. If yes, then your exhibitor hall will be home to virtual booths representing your various departments in addition to staff avatars (e.g. finance, sales, marketing, administration, etc.)
2) Are you hosting a virtual career fair allowing sponsorship and participation from other employers?
A common event strategy, you will have to spend less time preparing content and more time gathering deliverables from your exhibitors (a task that your assigned project manager from the virtual platform vendor should ideally be performing). Each company will be provided their custom virtual booth in the exhibitor hall reflecting their branding and desired staff avatars.
Step 2: Start visualizing your desired layout
i). Landing page
For the event vendor to set up the virtual career fair homepage, start searching for design inspiration (your vendor should be able to share ideas and templates) and brainstorm content for:
a) Title of the event
b) Event date and timings (and time zone)
c) Content for homepage such as agenda, logos, FAQs, and introductory videos
d) Cover image and high-resolution logo for the event
e) Attendee registration: Determine information fields you would like to capture on the registration form and setup form
f) Registration communication: Prepare drafts for attendee correspondence (once a job seeker registers for your event, they will receive an automatic registration confirmation email and show a thank you note)
ii) Lobby design
The hub of all event navigation, the “Lobby” is the area your visitors will be routed to once registered and logged in.
a) Select display: Choose if you’d prefer an animated or static lobby and review available designs/samples.
b) Decide lobby banners and logos (e.g. If your exhibitors have paid extra to secure the best logo visibility, their brand promotion should be prioritized over others).
c) Discuss customizations: Explore other possible customizations with your digital career fair vendors, such as wall posters and visitor avatars.
iii) Exhibitor Hall design
Similar to the Lobby, the “Exhibitor Hall” in a virtual career fair is totally customizable to cater to your content preferences including:
a) Hall background image
b) Booths layout
c) Static staff avatars
iv) Auditorium design
Gear up to explore auditorium design alternatives so you can add your logo/logos or customize virtual posters as needed.
Step 3: Putting together content for the booths
With your design in place, it’s time to piece together the online career fair content. Content mediums vary; the virtual platform accommodates various formats including document downloads, video streaming, picture galleries, and live or pre-recorded webinars as its core staples.
i) Booth images, logo and banners: Select high-resolution JPEG or PNG images or messages you would like displayed (and associated URLs if they are to be linked to a website)
ii) Company description
iii) Content tabs: Determine the number of content tabs needed; four should be a bare minimum to cover key information on virtual career fair segments such as “About Us,” “Contact Us,” “Vacancies,” “Chat Schedule,” and “Documents.”
iv) Jobs: To derive the maximum benefit from your online career event participation, aim towards sharing more than ten job vacancies.
v) Videos: An area still up for debate, the current recommended video duration for your streamable content is estimated to be about 2-3 minutes to “hook” the audience.
vi) Documents: From case studies and brochures, to articles and blog links — there’s a lot that can be shared. Your targeted content should speak directly with your ideal candidate and be built to answer practical job seeker questions associated with the organization.
Aim to have five or six great pieces of content at a minimum. However, if you have more than eight documents, perhaps consider uploading the rest in the document repository to expand your presence across the virtual career fair resources.
Step 4: Plan your webinars
The rising importance of hosting webinars has made digital career fairs a job seeker favorite. With organizers hosting anywhere between three and eight sessions on average (you don’t want to overwhelm the audience), bringing together the best industry experts and keynote speakers, here are some best practices to follow:
i) Webinar duration: Audiences prefer between 30 and 40 minutes of webinar duration for highest engagement.
ii) Scheduling: Webinars are easily recyclable content that can be replayed on visitor’s demand.
iii) Incorporate Q&A: Using a Q&A session allows interactive engagements to inspire talent participation and event interest.
iv) Promotional activity: According to recent studies, 17% of your attendees will sign up more than 15 days before the virtual career fair.
Virtual Career Fairs: Acing Candidate Sourcing, Job-Posting, and Evaluation Strategy
Finding the right talent to attend your online career fair can sound daunting; it requires creativity and a strategy to see what truly works for your organization. With online events already being a major player in the world of digital recruitment, we’re sharing our research today to highlight the best practices that will help you compete like a seasoned champion for prospects.
Step 1: How to get started with candidate sourcing?
To ensure flawless implementation, the first step is to determine the event type from the hosting perspective. This will help identify the channels to adopt to spread the word:
i) University and academic institutes:
- Start with email marketing to a segmented list of graduating students or internship seekers, routing them to the dedicated event landing page.
- Use social media channels to promote the exhibitors invited and virtual career fairs.
- Utilize the campus career services division to provide preparatory guidance.
- Run a press release in a local newspaper with widespread circulation.
- Partner with a marketing agency, or independently direct the company’s marketing division, to launch email campaigns.
- Consider running a contest or raffle to award prizes to early-bird registrations.
- Use social media presence to direct audiences to the dedicated event landing page and share content highlighting the virtual career fair exhibitors, keynote speakers, etc.
- Use online ads on platforms such as LinkedIn.
Step 2: How to determine which job postings to promote?
Meeting hiring targets is a priority for all businesses. However, it’s important to take a step back and assess if the position being promoted is of relevance to the event guests.
Positions such as CEO, COO, or CFO take extremely detailed research for recruiters to fill. These executives are few in number and take rigorous and focused communication to attract. With the resumes of these executives not typically taken at face value due to the advanced spectrum of experience they possess, unfortunately, the virtual career fair’s smart resume search filters and communication tools can do little to fuel their efficient hiring.
Step 3: How to ensure access to a qualified audience?
With all the dedication put into executing an online career fair strategy designed to impress, it’s a valid concern for organizers to ensure that the candidates in attendance are qualified to apply for available jobs.
To satisfy this objective, the event hosts can take advantage of customized registration forms to target their intended talent. By incorporating fields in the form of restricting access to job seekers from unassociated industries, or countries not a part of the region being scouted from, hosts can be very mindful of their attendee “composition.”
Step 4: Candidate evaluation — How to communicate with a purpose
To truly have your job seekers immersed in your virtual career fair environment, a candidate communication strategy helps to strike conversations and build connections.
What are some of the key checkpoints to mark off your preparation list? Here’s our recommendation:
i) Schedule chat timings: Determine and promote chat hours when recruiters will be able to respond to attendee questions in real time. Having the unique edge of being able to connect with hiring managers and top employers remotely, without having to commute or stand in queues, is always a huge incentive for visitors to participate in the digital career fair.
ii) Capture current job title in the registration form: To boost the quality of candidate communication, hosts can use the registration form to gather candidate insights such as the current job title. This way, exhibiting recruiters will be able to better identify and assess prospects with polished skill sets that can add the most value to their team.
iii) Use questionnaires: Create tests or screening questionnaires with question types relevant to the position being recruited to hire with a purpose. By allocating scores, the hiring executives can review the questionnaires to determine eligibility for the vacancy.
6 Tips for Showcasing Your Employer Brand at the Online Career Fair
If you plan to make the most out of your virtual recruiting event, it’s best to treat it more like a future employee’s orientation into your company than a run-of-the-mill CV-collecting opportunity. It’s not hard to see why the most sought-after employers invest so much effort into delivering a great virtual career fair experience. It helps them kill two birds with one stone. They make their organization come across as people-focused, thereby bolstering their employer brand and attracting infinitely more job applicants, which satisfies the end goal.
This article on 6 tips for showcasing your employer brand at a virtual career fair comprehensively covers all the little tricks that will help you nail your employer branding strategy at the online event. But if you’re in a rush, here is the gist:
1. Build anticipation beforehand
Any effort dedicated to building an audience prior to the event not only ensures a larger event turnout but also contributes favorably towards your employer brand. If you’re looking to fill very specific vacancies, try to tap into niche groups on platforms like Meetup and GroupSpaces well before your virtual career event, and participate in conversations to spread the word about your upcoming event and what makes it worth attending.
2. Partner with a great platform provider
We’ve mentioned this time and time again, which shows the central role that your provider has to play across all the components that contribute to your virtual career fair’s success. However, in the domain of employer branding, here is what their role will entail:
- Display great visuals to cast a solid impression.
- Mirror reality so candidates get a sense of the real office and people they will ultimately interact with.
- Show candidates a 360-degree virtual tour of your office to inject your online career fair with a heightened sense of realism.
3. Incorporate rich content formats
To establish your organization as a leader in the industry, include a variety of content formats on the virtual booths and help desks. Aim for well-edited and informative videos that shed light on your corporate culture, introduce your departments, and showcase the work life there. Read more on this here.
4. Pick your booth reps wisely
It goes without saying that the people manning your virtual booths play the biggest role in developing your employer brand at the online career fair. To ensure the best candidate experience for your event attendees, your booth reps must:
- Be specialists in their field
- Have deep knowledge about your company’s vision and values
- Be highly responsive to queries
- Be very personable and polite
5. Make webinars your friend
Have your most qualified and eloquent employees conduct live webinars at the virtual career fair and have them introduce your organization, culture, and mission to add the authenticity of human interaction. You can also invite expert guest speakers to the event to further solidify your organization’s authority on its operations. Keep these webinars roughly 45 minutes long or less for maximum impact, and open the floor for a live Q&A session to amplify at-event engagement.
6. Hero storytelling
Having a strong narrative that weaves your corporate vision together with its current operations can be highly potent in this case. Utilize corporate videos, employee testimonials, and client success stories to develop a compelling narrative for your brand that leaves a lasting impression on those who take the time to absorb it.
What Should You Be Measuring At and After the Virtual Career Fair?
To make your digital career fair more insightful, it’s important to track KPIs that reflect attendance, engagement, and hiring activity during and after the event. What are some fundamental success factors to track at the event in real time, in addition to after the virtual career fair, to derive overall performance results from? Here’s what we recommend:
Job seeker participation statistics
Your attendees are the star of the show! Thus, attracting and tracking job seeker participation makes a great first impression and spreads positive word of mouth to lure in more prospects interested in making new career moves:
1). Total registrations: Using a dedicated online landing page to facilitate event registrations (prior to the date the virtual career event actually goes live), hosts can benefit from a larger volume of attendee registrations versus a traditional recruitment event.
The higher the volume, the better the chances of your pre-event marketing and promotional budgets having made impressive progress.
2). The total number of logged-in users: Come one, come all! Once your virtual career fair is in action, measuring attendee traffic will be a great indicator to assess registration-to-attendee ratios.
3). Unique logins: To avoid overlapping of new and repeat visitors, unique logins should be a key statistic for organizers to keep an eye on.
4). The total number of booth visits: A user-friendly and visually engaging online career fair platform with exciting highlights such as webinars and well-staffed booths will be a great incentive for job seekers. A high number of booth visits achieved translates into a fantastic guest experience and content strategy, and also spearheads branding objectives.
Bonus tip: Incorporate a leaderboard awarding candidates different points for different actions across the event platform. The guests with the highest activity recorded can be awarded sponsored prizes.
Employer participation statistics
The virtual career fair is made a hit not just by guests, but also by the hiring organizations in attendance. Some essential statistics to measure include:
1). Total booth visits: By tracking booth visits, hosts can assess the power of employer branding, and industries attracting the most talent.
2). Total tab clicks: With the customized virtual booths designed to be a hub for all information relevant to the exhibitor, all visitor clicks at any booth should be measured to identify how helpful was the content.
3). Clicks per tab: Taking tracking tab clicks a step further, each individual tab click on categories such as “About Us” or “Contact Us” should be measured independently to see which content outperforms others.
4). Total document downloads: To really get down to the nitty-gritty details, virtual career fairs allow hosts to measure total document downloads per booth as proof of the seamless and eco-friendly information sharing.
5). Downloads per document: Not all content is created equal, so prioritize selecting a platform that gives detailed insights regarding the volume of downloads per document for every exhibitor.
6). Total video views: Streamable videos attract great traction by audiences, and total video views per booth helps in determining the exact impact of the visuals.
7). Views per video: Similarly, tracking views per video for every exhibitor’s booth highlights the clear winner/benchmark that has left the best impression on your audience.
8). Chat volume: With booths equipped with audio, video, and text-based chat capabilities, conversations per booth or in the networking lounge helps organizers understand the extent of interactions, in addition to communication frequency.
Auditorium traffic statistics
Last but not the last, webinar traffic needs to be measured to evaluate how well your digital career event connected with your audience:
1). Total number of webinar attendees: An auditorium buzzing with activity is every host’s dream come true! Tracking participation can help monitor success, and enable comparison with pre-set event goals.
2). Attendees per webinar: Measuring participation per webinar helps zoom in to the audience’s needs and interests to better prepare for future recruitment events.
Catch the details of measuring your virtual career fair success metrics.
Maximizing Your Virtual Career Fair ROI (Post-Event Follow-Up Strategy)
Just hosting a rock-solid virtual career fair isn’t enough; it’s an equal part of your game plan to have an outstanding follow-up strategy to continue competing for talent. With the pressure to acquire the best candidates at an all-time high, nurturing long-term ties with your job seekers goes a long way to master hiring and continue reeling in best prospects.
The next stage of your hosting responsibilities is to cast a wide net, demonstrating a compelling post-event follow-up to connect with job seekers, and find ways for engagement to still thrive without a hiccup.
Step 1: Assess your new talent pool
A digital career fair captures pivotal attendee information during registration and tracks their event activity with precision to help measure ROI. This allows the hosting organization to review which industry, job types, employers, content, and networking opportunities did the guests best avail to determine visitor’s preferences, in addition to assessing their overall event satisfaction.
Step 2: Set up email campaigns
Hosts must acknowledge attendees’ efforts and time dedicated to attending the virtual career fair. This can be as simple as sending out “thank you” mailers and sharing key highlights or statistics from the event proving its success (a dedicated mailer for exhibitors is also strongly encouraged).
For the registered attendees that were a no-show, we recommend kicking off a targeted reminder email campaign mentioning that the live event may be over, but on-demand webinar replays and a highly resourceful content library are still available for job seeker utilization.
Step 3: Start shortlisting candidates
Use an ATS to search through resumes, or use the inbuilt filters built into your virtual career platform — the goal here is to be as efficient with follow-ups as possible.
The sooner you connect with your talent to keep the post-virtual career fair momentum in full swing, the higher the likelihood of being able to exercise diligent candidate selection as an employer.
Step 4: Check chat for unanswered questions
Your exhibitors and recruiters will be provided chat logs to keep track of all communications, interactions, and their context. This is a good time to take a step back and ensure that all questions were answered with clarity during Q&A and announced chat schedules so that no job seeker was accidentally overlooked.
The tiniest attention to detail matters when it comes to making or breaking the event experience for the audience.
Step 5: Go social with post-event marketing
Just because the online career fair is over, it does not mean that you can stop raving about your efforts. Highlight and share the event highlights on your social media channels, and even add employer testimonials as an added flair.
Step 6: Collect feedback
Driving continuous improvement in your virtual career fair strategy should be an objective for all hosts to pursue. Gathering employer and attendee feedback via emailed surveys within one or two weeks is a smart way to initiate dialogue, meanwhile collecting ideas to tweak future event strategy.
Read more on developing your post-event follow-up strategy here: Maximizing Your Virtual Career Fair ROI (Post-Event Follow-Up Strategy)
Virtual Career Fair Aftermath: Managing Your Talent Pipeline
It’s great to be able to dodge the unpleasant heaps of resumes when hosting or participating in a virtual career event; what not to love about paperless productivity? No distracting paperwork means you can cut to the chase and start shortlisting talent that best suits your needs. Needless to say, time is always of the essence in recruitment.
Being able to build a candidate pipeline filled with top-quality applicants that visit your booth or event is a great relief. By selecting a top-of-the-line vendor, hosts can even enjoy access to smart resume search filters. This functionality is great to find perfect matches for existing vacancies, however, managing the virtual career fair pipeline after the event needs a different strategy altogether. Read the dedicated article to managing your talent pipeline after a Virtual Career Fair.
Post-Event Resume Management: Planning for Future Hiring Needs
Offering undisputable time savings, higher quality hiring, and ease of use, online career fairs make relevant candidate shortlisting and selection extremely convenient. But the fact of the matter is that not all businesses are focused on the present when hiring, they also want to gear up for future openings. This is where using an applicant tracking system to help consistently not just build, but grow, candidate pipelines can help you step up to the challenge and really elevate event ROI and top talent acquisition.
By introducing a multifunctional ATS to your company, the hiring executives can reap the benefits of not just an ever-increasing talent pool at their fingertips, but also stronger employer branding to attract the cream of the crop.
Why use an applicant tracking tystem?
Providing an impressive gamut of hiring tools, employers should prioritize scouting and securing a one-stop-recruitment technology to add all prospects’ resumes in one centralized cloud-based solution. Whether it’s searching for candidates, conducting assessments, automating communications, or even scheduling interviews, managing candidate pipelines with an ATS after your virtual career fair sets your company up for colossal success.
Encouraging seamless communication, candidate correspondence features take away the frustration of flooded recruiter inboxes. Hiring executives can use mass emailing capabilities in addition to a comprehensive on-site mailbox to reach out to their favorite job seekers with lightning-like speed.
Also simplifying hiring management by removing recurring bottlenecks, organizations can make use of powerful recruitment analytics to always stay aware of their best candidate sources and talent pool dimensions (e.g. gender, qualifications, location). Moreover, by investing in the right mobile-friendly ATS, collaborative recruitment is a huge win for businesses to secure.
Going above and beyond just making it easy for employers, applicants get to build a closer relationship with the company by gaining visibility over their status in the hiring funnel. Eliminating the need for redundant follow-ups, empowering prospects with transparency to always know their hiring status at all times builds employer credibility and improves the overall applicant experience.
The positive impression will help ensure that prospects remember your HR practices as a direct reflection of an inspiring corporate culture — passionate, ethical, responsive, and sincerely invested in the well being of their current and future talent.
Career fairs are a great way of introducing your organization to a diverse group of job seekers. They help companies of all sizes and from all industries promote their employer brand, fill job vacancies with great candidates, and build a healthy talent pipeline for all job openings to come. Any great event comes after a great deal of meticulous planning and timing, and the online space, coupled with dramatic developments in technology, brings enormous relief to the otherwise laborious and backbreaking task of event planning and execution.
This is not to say that because of this facility, your team is relieved of all its duties. Technology is only one part of it all and is only as useful as you make it be. There are numerous benefits in taking your career fairs online but conducting research, collaborating with partners, devising strategies, and optimizing your event in light of these decisions is the only way to hit a home run with your virtual career fair. The effort pays off in spades, and as they say, nothing great is achieved without some old-school hard work. However, a little technological relief has never hurt anyone.
Got some more time? Read how some of these global companies recently wrapped up their virtual career fairs if you’re looking for some inspiration.
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.
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