How to Plan a Low-Stress, High-Volume Virtual Hiring Event
At the end of May 2021, there were over 9 million open jobs in the United States. Many employers struggled to find the talent they need. At the same time, the Great Resignation pushed many workers to exit jobs and careers they no longer found fulfilling.
This could be the perfect time for a virtual hiring event, as plenty of job seekers and hiring managers are looking at the same time.
For a virtual career fair to accomplish the goals you’ve set, you need a clear strategy for who you want to attend and how you’ll prepare those groups for a smooth day of connecting.
What Makes a Virtual Career Fair Successful?
The pandemic forced everyone from conference organizers to trade show hosts to go digital practically overnight. But even post-pandemic, there’ll still be a big benefit to holding a virtual career fair — it can attract a bigger audience.
A virtual hiring event is a two-sided market: You need both employers and potential employees for the perfect match. Miss the mark on recruiting employers or employees, and the whole thing falls apart quickly. Cover both groups when creating and marketing this event.
What’s a great way to create a virtual career fair? Target certain industries, regions, or seniority levels. Post example job opportunities or the number of openings at participating companies to help get the right people to attend.
By making a few key decisions in advance, you can plan a thriving virtual career fair.
Decide If Jobs are In-Person, Work-from-Home, or Hybrid
You’ll likely get a broader audience (and more top talent) if your employers are offering work-from-home positions.
One of your first decisions is whether to limit the type of jobs offered. You may decide your employers only offer remote jobs or can’t hire for unpaid internships. And, you can decide whether employers need to have a certain number of open jobs to come.
If you’re trying to meet the needs of a particular niche, mention those needs on your website and in recruiting materials.
Plan for Sourcing
Since you’re not limited geographically, create hiring campaigns that target the people you want to attend. If most of the jobs are local to a certain area, use social media ads to zero in on those zip codes. If you have five employers in cybersecurity, can you post about your event on cybersecurity job boards, email lists, association newsletters, Facebook groups, and websites?
Explain whether virtual interviews will be mostly informational or whether companies will be ready to talk to potential applicants about open jobs.
Ask both companies and jobseekers to RSVP on a registration form so you can adjust your marketing plans if you see a mismatch in attendee numbers on either side.
Discuss the Flow of the Day
You might not have to worry about social distancing or other coronavirus precautions, but there’s another level of planning involved in your virtual hiring event. In person, it’s easy to see when someone’s at a table talking to a recruiter. Other interested people will just wait in line. But with a virtual event, you need to make sure registrants know the guidelines to make it a good experience.
If people need to book 15-minute calls with hiring managers, the flow will be different than having employers give presentations and get bombarded with potential applicants at the end.
To keep it organized, tell people what to expect in a few ways. Hit those visual and audio learners with a short video. Recap that same information in text form in a checklist a few days before the event.
Pick the Best Platform
Some video conferencing solutions aren’t robust enough to host hundreds or thousands of people at once. Having everyone in a Zoom conference room, for example, feels cluttered and noisy. Think about the tech platform that will help you provide simple navigation. You can use a tool like Gather to set up the virtual version of your event to look just like a hiring fair.
How to Help Employers Get the Most Out of a Virtual Job Fair
It’s the event organizer’s job to prepare employers for what to expect. Here are a few ways to help them with their virtual booths and overall strategy:
- Encourage them to have handouts or lists of open positions accessible online so registrants can find them quickly.
- Send a best online event practices email explaining the value of wearing headphones, signing in on a computer vs. a mobile device, and having good lighting.
- Introduce them to your virtual event platform in advance. Use volunteers to show the employers the different rooms and forums where they can connect with interested applicants.
- Help them find ways to connect their company culture to the discussion — if the focus is too much on open position details and pay rates, it misses one of the most important things employees care about.
How to Help Jobseekers Prepare
Instruct attendees about the flow of events, but also tell them about any specific rules ahead of time. If you’re using a digital booking system to reserve time to connect with an employer in a Zoom room, what’s the no-show or rescheduling policy?
Help jobseekers make connections during a virtual hiring event by:
- Telling them where to post their cover letters or resumes
- Explaining whether they need to target specific companies and roles before the big day or connect in real-time
- Hosting webinars in advance about follow-up strategies and dos and don’ts for the live event
- Reminding them about the importance of a professional looking background and a quiet room during the virtual event.
- Providing contact details for a digital help desk where people can go if they need help
- Sending an email reminder the day after the fair suggesting they connect with people they met on LinkedIn
Pick Your Goals and Date for Your Next Job Search Fair Today
Now that you’ve gotten inspired by all the possibilities of a virtual career fair and determined how to promote and run on, learn how Gather can help you create a custom virtual career fair. Before you know it, employees will be hearing “you’re hired!”.