Top companies and institutions often use a career fair to generate and identify employment leads, to screen candidates and to hire applicants.
While effective, physical career fairs can be rather limiting. In many cases, the attendees will be from the geographical area around the venue. Similarly, the size and scope of a traditional career fair can be limited by venue capacity and budget.
Virtual career fairs do not face these same limitations and can open recruiters to a wider, and potentially deeper, global talent pool.
If you are thinking of hosting a virtual career fair, here is what you need to know:
What is a Virtual Career Fair?
Virtual career fairs are events focused on boosting businesses and hiring opportunities. Instead of in person, this event is hosted through a virtual event platform. The virtual environment offers innovative and dynamic alternatives compared to traditional hiring events.
A virtual job fair includes virtual booths for each business, that will be staffed by hiring managers or recruiters. Job seekers can visit these booths, engage with the staff, and learn more about each company/business and each open position.
These events can also include virtual meeting rooms and ‘private’ spaces that can be used to conduct more in-depth interviews. Some events, depending on their size, scope, and intention, may also include information sessions or keynote addresses from industry leaders.
One of the biggest benefits of a virtual hiring event, or career fair, is that people do not have to travel to attend. This means that the potential hiring pool is larger and the likelihood of attracting the world’s top talent or highly qualified candidates increases dramatically. Potential employers are able to customize their booths and sort through potential applicants in real-time, reducing wasted time, and producing more qualified and actionable hiring leads.
Virtual career fair benefits include:
- Higher attendance rates and more diverse attendee pools
- More efficient recruiting
- Better information exchange via downloadable content like video and handouts
- Better employer branding
- Useful and actionable real-time data and information on attendees
Steps for Creating a Virtual Career Fair
Fortunately, creating a virtual career fair is much like creating a traditional one. There are a few slight differences which we will cover in the steps that follow.
1. Define Your Goals
Before you can create or host any event, virtual or otherwise, you need to define your event goals.
What type of event are you hosting? A virtual career fair, sure, but is there a specific theme or industry that you will focus on? Will you target job seekers fresh out of college?
Once you identify these goals you can start to define your target audience and begin to curate which employers you will invite to participate.
With these plans in place, you can then set your event budget.
2. Set Your Budget
Before you get too deep into the planning process, you need to establish a budget. A budget can act as a guard rail and prevent you from spending too much money and destroying your return on investment.
By establishing a budget you can not only understand how much you should be spending in each area but also how much you need to raise from sponsorships.
Because you do not have to book a venue or incur the typical costs associated with a physical event, you may find that you can pull off a great virtual career fair with a much smaller budget.
Here are some of the important factors to keep in mind when planning your budget:
- Marketing costs, including print media or paid online social media marketing
- Event platform fees
- Technologies like webcams and ring lights if necessary
3. Choose a Virtual Event Platform
There are a lot of options available when it comes to virtual events platforms. Most people have experience using Zoom or Google Hangouts. An events platform is similar to these platforms but it allows the event host to customize the event and make it more interactive and dynamic.
Look for a platform that best suits the needs of your virtual career fair. At a minimum, look for a platform that allows you to:
- Design an event website: You should be able to create a fully customized and branded event website that not only acts as a source of information for a potential job seeker but also doubles as a registration page where you can capture significant information about attendees that will be useful to recruiters and exhibitors.
- Set up networking sessions: One of the benefits of a career fair is networking. Job seekers are able to connect with leading employers and company recruiters, and employers and company recruiters can connect with qualified, skilled, job seekers. Make sure your platform allows you to set up virtual meeting rooms and networking sessions that can further connect these individuals, providing additional value all around.
- Customize exhibit booths: Each company that you invite to your virtual event will want to add their own branding and flair to their virtual booth. This will create a more visually dynamic environment for attendees and it will help the recruiters stand out and appeal to their target audience.
- Set up chat options: Foster connection between recruiters and attendees will be essential. Find a platform that offers real-time live chat so information can be exchanged in the moment.
4. Develop Your Virtual Event Marketing Strategy
You will want to promote your event to reach the widest audience possible. A virtual career fair will be full of job opportunities and so need to make sure people are aware of your event or those opportunities and positions will remain unfilled and your event will flop.
Make sure to share your event in job directories so it can be seen by potential employers. It should also be advertised on social media channels to reach qualified job seekers. Promote the event on LinkedIn but also on Facebook, Instagram, and even YouTube. If you need to get more than standard organic reach, consider putting some spend behind it and creating social media ads.
Give all relevant event details to your invited exhibitors and recruiters as they can share the information through their social channels as well. And if you have event sponsors, don’t forget to get them in on the promotion too.
Lots of people will show an interest in online events but they won’t always attend. Be sure to post frequent reminders leading up to the date of the fair so people don’t forget. Send personalized emails or text messages to any individuals that have registered for the event.
Since the events platform can categorize attendees much more in-depth than a basic video conferencing app, then you can promote to attendees that their resumes and portfolios are automatically forwarded to recruiters and exhibitors. Recruiters and exhibitors then have a pool of candidates that they can choose to reach out to.
5. Launch Virtual Career Fair
Now that you’ve set up your career fair, all you have to do is launch it!
Send out reminders to all registrants the night before. Include detailed information on how to log in to the platform and make sure to share all contact details for your tech support team just in case something goes wrong.
Contact the exhibitors in advance to make sure they know exactly what branding assets they will need and what they can do on the platform with regards to video and downloadable content. Give them details on how to post jobs and how to use the platform’s full capabilities to their advantage. Provide them with tech support information.
Mobilize your team and encourage them to be proactive in their support so that all elements of the career fair go according to plan.
6. Follow Up
Your event was a raging success! Now all you have to do is follow up with all the participants.
Follow up with attendees and thank them for coming to your virtual career fair. Provide them with post-event surveys so you can gather critical feedback on your event from an attendee perspective.
Follow up with employers as well. Thank them for their participation and ensure that they have all the information they need to reach out to any job seeker that interacted with their booth.
You can also follow up with those who were interested in the event but could not attend. Share with them the highlights of your event so that the event is memorable for everyone.
And finally, reach out to any event sponsors to say thank you. Fill them in on important event metrics, like total attendance or interactions with their displays, so that they can evaluate their own performance.
Virtual career fairs are an excellent way to connect job recruiters with a highly-skilled and qualified talent pool. And this qualified talent pool has the benefit of meeting strong, interested employers who are at the forefront of their industry. Once you are ready to start planning your virtual career fair, reach out to Accelevents. Our virtual platform can support all of your event needs while boosting your event brand. Don’t hesitate—get started today!