Are online career fairs worth your time?
Jobs fairs have been around for years, and have in the past offered candidates the opportunity to connect with a range of companies all in one place. However, they also come with their downsides. They often attract vast amounts of people, and from a candidate’s point of view, can involve standing in queues for ages to get a very brief opportunity to impress a possible employer. From the employer’s perspective, while they do give them a chance to meet lots of people, they are not only time and resource hungry, but also expensive.
Over the past few years we have seen the growth of the internet as a recruitment tool for employers to connect in a virtual environment with job seekers. But are these virtual online career fairs a passing fad or do they offer a serious alternative to more traditional style events?
There are a number of reasons that people are transitioning to virtual jobs fairs: they can extend and speed up the candidate selection process; and also come with obvious cost advantages. In a sluggish economy, networking online saves employers on travel expenses, costly exhibition displays, printed marketing collateral and other associated expenditures. For jobs seekers a virtual fair requires, at most, the cost of an entry fee, sometimes a webcam, a headset and a free VOIP programme like Skype or Google Hangout.
Opening the talent pool up to smaller companies
Also for many small businesses virtual job fairs are the perfect solution as they don’t have the type of money needed to support their presence at a physical show and so don’t have access to the huge pool of talent that they attract. But an online event allows them to move in the pool with the top companies, and also to brand themselves better.
Of course, that’s not to say that virtual job fairs are a perfect solution. Much about any potential candidate can be gauged via body language and eye contact. Since they remain largely anonymous in a virtual setting, employers can miss out on important cues indicating that a candidate may or may not be a good fit for them. Technical difficulties can also be a significant drawback for virtual career fair participants. As such, a backup plan is always advisable in the event of an internet meltdown.
Yet the positives far outweigh the negatives.
Allowing you to think local and look global
With a traditional career fair, your sample of candidates is always limited to a regional area. A virtual career fair ensures that you will have a larger, more varied selection of candidates to choose from. Online advertising for your career fair is likely to attract people from a wide range of related fields and geographic areas. By appealing to a larger group of job candidates you stand a far better chance of attracting a higher quality of potential employees than with a traditional career fair.
On top of this, by staffing virtual booths during an online career fair, hiring managers and recruiters can easily set up interviews and chats with potential candidates at certain times for the convenience of all involved.
Streamlining the recruitment process
Hiring managers can even use an existing database of resumes, applications, and employment queries to target certain individuals in advance and send exclusive invitations to the event. In effect, they are controlling the number in attendance and selecting the attendees that best suit the company. By streamlining the process in this way, recruiting through a virtual fair becomes a much more efficient process.
Furthermore, while it’s always true that you might find the perfect candidate on your own doorstep, it’s equally possible that your perfect job candidate is in Australia. Global outreach is at the heart of what the virtual career fair offers, and it puts you at a distinct advantage. Instead of finding the job candidate who is close to what you want – but not quite ideal – you can expand your global reach and target the exact person you’re looking for to fill the job position, wherever they are in the world.
For recruiters this cannot be underestimated; virtual jobs fairs can put you in touch with candidates you may not normally be able to interview or connect with. And it does this while also saving you time and money… that’s got to be a pretty compelling story for most recruiters.