8 Best Practices for Career Fair Events
Successful virtual recruiting events don’t happen by accident. Savvy talent acquisition leaders put a lot of work into creating virtual events that attract top talent and deliver a stellar candidate experience that creates a foundation for a productive recruiting process. We’ve been listening to our customers’ success stories for years, and we’ve seen a number of best practices emerge that any organization can use to create a new virtual recruiting strategy or level up existing practices.
Here’s a look at eight key best practices every virtual recruiting strategy should include, and how each step gets you closer to crushing your recruiting goals.
Decide What Type of Events You Need
Before you plan the details of a virtual event, decide whether a virtual or in-person recruiting event is better suited for your needs, or if you’ll be hosting both types of events as part of a hybrid recruiting strategy. There are a lot of different types of virtual recruiting events and it’s important to be intentional about what types of events you’ll host, depending on your specific goals. Some types of virtual recruiting events are better suited for different parts of the recruiting funnel, while others help employers target certain types of candidates. For instance, virtual recruiting events are particularly effective for recruiting passive candidates.
Prepare for virtual career events in advance
Planning virtual career events requires TA leaders to consider all the details well in advance. From the number of recruiters needed to the questions and resources they’ll need access to, getting organized ahead of time helps virtual recruiting events flow smoothly, meaning recruiters can engage with more job seekers and candidates spend less time waiting. Other key decisions to make include the date and time of the event(s), preparing a website landing page, and creating a promotion strategy (more on that next).
Promote your virtual career events
Nobody will come to your party if you don’t send out any invitations. While invitation-only virtual career fairs are an option and may be a good choice for prequalified candidate pools, most of your hiring events will be open to the public. Getting the word out requires a multi-pronged recruitment marketing strategy including social media, programmatic advertising, email and text lists, as well as content on your careers site. Promoting virtual hiring events is an ongoing effort and, done well, can help you grow your talent community and strengthen your employer brand over time.
Use candidate personas
Candidate personas are an often overlooked tool in talent acquisition, and it’s a real shame. Creating a candidate persona for each role you’re trying to fill provides a roadmap for recruiting, informs decisions about where and how to promote your events, and helps recruiters find better ways to engage through conversations. A well-composed candidate persona tells you what matters to your ideal candidates, which helps you create targeting messaging and promotion tactics that will get their attention.
Hone your interview questions
There are a lot of reasons to craft your interview questions well before your virtual career events. First and foremost, using standardized interview questions means you can provide a consistent candidate experience and reduce implicit bias. It’s also important to ask the right questions to get the most out of your virtual hiring events, so you gather the information you need to evaluate candidates and make the best decisions about who should and should not advance. You’ll ask different questions of different types of candidates, such as college students and recent grads. On some virtual career fair platforms, like Brazen, you can also prepare pre-written answers for frequently asked questions, which help recruiters keep the conversation going.
Make the most of video during career fair events
Video is an effective way to engage with job seekers, especially when used intentionally in career fair events. Think about your virtual recruiting events and consider how videos can help you tell the story of your organization, from the company’s history to your organizational culture to the individual experience of employees. Decide which types of videos make the most sense for your upcoming virtual events and decide which need to be recorded in advance and which video messages are better delivered live during your event.
Create a deliberate strategy to improve diversity and inclusion
Like most results in talent acquisition, diversity, equity, and inclusion won’t happen without intention and effort. Your talent acquisition approach needs a DEI strategy just as much as the rest of your organization. Perhaps the best way to support DEI through recruiting is to start by diversifying your pipeline, by making your organizational commitment to equity clear (on your website, in your social media posts, etc), and focusing on candidates’ experience, skills, and abilities rather than solely on educational achievements. Partnering with diversity groups, either in your area or in your industry, is another highly effective way to attract more diverse candidates.
Use technology to create an immersive candidate experience
As you think about planning your recruiting events, whether virtual or in-person, it’s important to stay focused on the candidate experience. Once you’ve created candidate personas (as we suggested above), you’ll have a guide to the interests and preferences of your ideal candidates, and you can incorporate them into your recruiting events. If you really want to attract and engage with top talent (you do, right?), take cues from consumer brands and use strong brand messaging along with multimedia assets to create an immersive candidate experience. If candidates enjoy your events, they’ll be more likely to continue the relationship, giving you a better chance of hiring the best candidates for every job. A stellar candidate experience isn’t just about flashy graphics and video, of course. It’s also about making recruiting events easy for candidates to attend. Soon, Brazen will add a scheduled chat feature, which allows recruiters to invite and schedule conversations with specific candidates ahead of time. This feature lets candidates know they are special and, as a bonus, helps recruiters organize their conversations with potential hires.
Well-planned events lead to top notch hires
Use these best practices as a guide to keep you on track when planning your recruiting events, both virtual and in-person, as well as when creating your overall talent acquisition strategy. As virtual recruiting events become even more prevalent, the list of best practices is sure to expand, but these basics will give you a foundation for hosting events that accurately illustrate your employer brand and organizational identity, attract top talent in your industry, and keep quality candidates engaged throughout the funnel. From first impression to offer letter, recruiting events help employers build trust, foster connections, improve diversity, and make better hires to take your organization where you want to go.
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