Virtual Career Fairs
When I was a recruiter there was nothing I dreaded more than going to a career fair. This probably had something to do with me being an introvert and not wanting to disrupt my daily routine, but as a small company with a minimal recruiting budget, it was also because they never really felt worth the time.
Career fairs seem to be designed to benefit companies with the biggest brands and budgets. A lot of the time candidates go to career fairs looking to get face time with recruiters from certain companies that are hiring a lot. This leaves the rest of the tables standing around fighting to engage candidates. To top it all off, career fairs are costly. The buy in can be several thousands of dollars and then you need to have staff, travel, swag etc. If you’ve never recruited at a job fair then you might not know career fairs can be a lot of work. There’s prepping documentation, buying the perfect swag and candy, traveling to the venue, and most importantly following up with candidates after the day is over. We do this because we hope our next rising star is walking amongst us at this career fair. But all of that has changed since the pandemic. Virtual career fairs have been popping up all over the place and they are poised to replace in-person career fairs forever.
Virtual career fairs have an opportunity to become an effective recruitment strategy for many companies. They can be more cost effective, attract a wider range of talent, and take up less of your recruiters time. Not to mention, they can level the playing field when it comes to attracting the candidate.
Kendra Garrett, Staffing Manager, represented Ajilon at a Lee Hecht Harrison event and said “it was a really cool experience...it was set up like you were actually in a hotel”. Kendra’s pro tip is to make sure you find the right event, preferably a local event or specific industry event, not a larger national event.
Virtual career fairs are not new, they’ve actually been around for quite some time. Generally speaking, you can expect a more traditional networking event with a short panel or company summary and opportunity to book some phone screens. Companies like vFairs, Brazen, and Handshake are building full platforms that are meant to replicate the experience of walking the floor of an in-person career fair.
These platforms show a bit of promise to improve the candidate experience and generate viable leads for recruiters. But before you go investing in virtual career fairs as a strategy, consider these tips first:
I want to stress the first point - you need to understand your audience. Career fairs have a very tangible ROI and could reduce your cost per hire and time to fill metrics. But they will never be successful if your ideal candidates are not attending career fairs.
Virtual career fairs might not be the best strategy for you, but with events moving online, it’s worth taking a look.
if you’re in the Boston area don’t forget to check out Startup Boston Weeks' Job Fair on September 24th.
Here are a few other job fairs you might find interesting:
Want to add your career fair to the list? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.