We live in a digital world. Job seekers are searching for their next employer in a digital world. Employers must learn to recruit in a digital world as well.
When it comes to career fairs, in-person events may no longer cut it. Like other aspects of talent acquisition—from online job postings and applications to recruiting chatbots to email and text recruiting—virtual career fairs are one way today’s talent acquisition leaders are taking sourcing and recruiting into the digital age. Hosting virtual career fairs helps recruiters break through the noise of endless job postings and reach the right talent, all from the convenience of their office chair.
Connecting with busy job seekers is not an easy task, especially in today’s talent war. One simple solution is to meet candidates where they are: online. Hosting online events like virtual career fairs helps companies attract the right talent regardless of their geographic location, and by casting a wider net, recruiters are more likely to find the best candidate for their open requisitions. Recruiters and job seekers log in to the virtual career platform and then chat in real time, so it can be a quick, easy way to for recruiters to meet qualified candidates and for job seekers to get answers to the many questions they may have, while getting a feel for the company culture and brand..
While tech companies may be leading the virtual career fair trend, this option works just as well for other large organizations in industries such as healthcare, finance, defense and aerospace, school districts, manufacturing, retail, and a whole lot more. And fortunately for employers, there is an increasing number of vendors offering virtual career fair platforms. Now, talent acquisition professionals are challenged with choosing the right solution for their needs. We reviewed the most experienced players in the game and created this post to guide you through the best platforms on the market, listed here in alphabetical order.
Brazen is no stranger to the world of digital talent acquisition services. Founded in 2007, Brazen offers a wide range of tools to help recruiters connect with candidates, including sourcing automation, recruiting chatbots, online chat for recruiters, and of course a virtual career fair platform. This range illustrates how deeply Brazen understands the challenges of talent acquisition. Companies like Northrop Grumman, Walgreens, and CVS Health host virtual career fairs regularly on Brazen’s platform and users report that the tools are “very easy to use and user friendly.” In other reviews, users tout the cost and time savings. Here’s an example from G2Crowd: “Our sourcers loved the ease of use for the tool and the ability to chat with multiple candidates at once, it not only made things much more efficient in the long run, but it saved them tremendous amounts of time by funneling in a large [number] of candidates for recruiters in a short amount of time.”
Brazen’s service allows recruiters to create custom virtual career fairs, at their designated date and time, to target specific industries, job titles, or skills. This flexible service makes it easy for recruiters to focus on their biggest sourcing challenges. For example, one reviewer on Capterra reports using Brazen’s virtual career fairs to reach candidates with active security clearance to work in the Department of Defense space. Other companies use it to find candidates for management-level positions or warehouse and logistics staff. Employers promote virtual career fairs via social media and email lists, and recruiters will soon be able to use text recruiting to invite past applicants from their database.
And beyond the obvious boost to the candidate experience and employer brand, Brazen clients are ultimately hiring two times the number of candidates compared to companies who do not use their virtual fair platform.
The only downside to the Brazen virtual career fair platform may be that it typically works best with larger organizations who have high volume hiring needs. If you are a smaller organization (less than 1,000 employees), you may want to explore some of the options below.
CareerEco was founded in 2009 and hosts a variety of online events, including virtual career fairs as well as online events for universities to connect prospective graduate students and alumni with employers, graduate schools, and other professional organizations. Clients include Georgia Tech, University of Wisconsin Platteville, and career-path specific organizations like the Veterinary Career Network and Hire Heroes (a veterans’ employment advocate). CareerEco recognizes that recruiters can save time and money through online events, but adds an emphasis on the environmental friendliness of virtual career fairs as well, hence the “Eco” in the company name. Of course, the triple win they identify holds true for any virtual events vendor, but it’s a smart marketing angle.
Testimonials hosted on their site are positive, but there is scarcely any feedback to be found elsewhere on the web. It’s clear that CareerEco has a niche carved out, but there is little information available on their website about how their virtual career fairs actually work. For high-volume recruiters outside of academia, CareerEco is probably not a good fit.
Lee Hecht Harrison
Founded in 1967, Lee Hecht Harrison is a well-known company in the HR world, primarily for its outplacement services. The company started to host virtual career fairs and networking events just three years ago, designed to help amicably separated employees find new jobs. LHH’s virtual career fairs are free for employers and they do all the set up and marketing. But here’s the catch (or catches, rather!): the online events are hosted several times a year at predetermined dates, events are generally held from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern time, and each event spans across all sectors.
While recruiters can certainly save money by participating in these free events, the limitations should be enough to give pause. For instance, without narrowing the career fair by industry or position, it’s unclear how many job seekers would align with your candidate requirements. For companies seeking hard-to-find talent, LHH’s virtual career fairs may not be worth the time, even with the alluring price tag of zero dollars.
vFairs was founded in 2008 and offers a platform for companies to host a variety of online events including training, trade shows, expos, and career fairs. Customers span across industries and include a few big names such as Purina and T-Mobile, as well as a number of smaller brands. Similar to the Brazen platform, vFairs allows recruiters to host custom events specifically for their company, at the date and time of their choosing and, while customer reviews are limited, they are largely positive, with users touting ease of use and good customer support as two key benefits. The downside? Because of the wide variety of event options vFairs offers, recruiters may be overwhelmed or distracted by irrelevant features. As one customer wrote, “with so many options and possible areas to explore, customers may have a hard time navigating and finding specific information they are looking for.”
Going virtually into the future
When taking career events online, talent acquisition professionals need to partner with a vendor that understands the challenges today’s tight labor market presents. Finding a vendor that comprehends the TA ecosphere in a holistic way, beyond the immediate goals of sourcing and recruiting, can be a challenge. By comparing vendor services in the context of the broader business model, talent acquisition leaders can make informed decisions about where to invest in a virtual career fair platform that can ultimately save time, money, and improve both the candidate and recruiter experience.
Still not convinced virtual career fairs fit into your recruiting strategy? Read more in this post about how online career events will save your company time and money.
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