Virtual Recruiting Events Are Here to Stay

Jan 15, 2021 - Tiffany Monhollon

COVID-19 precipitated massive changes in the way we live and work. According to Gallup, 51% of Americans transitioned to entirely remote work at the beginning of the pandemic, and 33% are still conducting all their work remotely as of October.

Although some employees have been returning to the office, remote work has become much more normalized. In fact, the same Gallup poll revealed that about two-thirds of U.S. employees who have been working remotely during the pandemic would prefer to continue doing so. This shift in workers’ mindsets has significant implications for employers, especially when it comes to recruiting for new roles. In fact, many prominent companies have announced plans to allow employees to remain fully remote permanently, meaning that other employers are likely to retain remote work options or adopt similar policies even after the pandemic ends, in order to compete for top talent.

Whether your company is planning to stay remote for the short term, gradually return to the office, or consider a permanent work-from-home solution, at least some of your recruiting will likely remain virtual from here on out, as the rise of hybrid recruiting (the combination of virtual and in-person recruiting tactics) is helping companies get better results at lower costs than a fully offline approach. One of the most important components of virtual recruitment is hosting virtual events. This guide will share an overview of how virtual recruiting events work and why they should be an integral part of your recruitment strategy--even in a post-COVID world.

What are virtual recruiting events?

A virtual recruitment event connects employers with job seekers, using technology such as virtual event platforms, chat rooms, videoconferencing, and audio calls. Virtual hiring events can be used to reach job seekers at all stages of the recruitment process, from their initial research through the interview phase. Some examples of virtual recruiting events include online career fairs, virtual info sessions, digital networking happy hours, and professional development webinars.

What are the benefits of virtual recruitment events?

One reason both employers and job seekers benefit from virtual recruitment events is that location is no longer a limiting factor. With online recruiting events, campus recruiters can reach candidates from even more universities, and students can introduce themselves to employers who don’t usually recruit on their campus. Since there’s no travel or venue costs involved, virtual recruiting events are relatively inexpensive for employers, too.

Another benefit for employers hosting virtual recruitment events is the ability to share marketing and recruitment materials for candidate use during and after the event. You can use a virtual event platform to host testimonial videos, brochures about internship or entry-level programs, job postings, and external links to social media profiles, the company’s career website, and Glassdoor reviews. You can also ask candidates to submit their contact information directly through the virtual event platform, which is helpful for targeted follow-up communication.

Virtual events can also help organizations tap into their broader team by enabling staff in addition to recruiters to attend their virtual events. For example, many organizations are inviting hiring managers and team members from a variety of departments to their virtual career fairs, since this doesn’t incur additional travel costs or constitute a major time obligation. This empowers employers to showcase a broader, more diverse range of their business and helps candidates get a better feel for what it’s like to be a part of the team.

How can you integrate virtual hiring events into your recruitment strategy?

Recruiters should integrate virtual events at every touchpoint of the recruitment funnel. For example, you could host a series of virtual info sessions to generate more interest in the company overall or for a specific program such as the next cohort of summer interns. During the application stage, you might host virtual “coffee breaks,” panel discussions, or networking events so that prospective candidates have the opportunity to speak with employees across the company and get a better idea of what it’s like to work there. For applicants who reach the interview and offer stages, you could add professional development events, such as webinars on how to succeed in a virtual interview or how to break down an offer letter.

Virtual career fairs are also an excellent option to meet a lot of candidates at once, collect resumes, and recruit for specific positions. You can either host virtual career fairs on your own if you have a lot of roles to fill, or you can take part in a career fair hosted by a larger organization such as a university, trade group, or the government.

Organizations are also hosting events like virtual benefit fairs or topical events such as those highlighting diversity, equity, and inclusion topics they bring employees on to discuss. With a virtual events platform, the world of talent acquisition events opens up tremendously.

What are some of the best tools for virtual recruiting events?

In order to take advantage of the full potential of online recruiting events, you should seek platforms that include event management, promotion, and analytics features. Look for virtual event platforms that include video, audio, and live chat features so that there are multiple modes of communication available. If you are interested in webinar formats, make sure your platform has the capacity to broadcast to a large audience, record a presentation, and moderate a Q&A. Other features to look for include an “event booth” where you can host recruitment materials like videos and brochures, as well as robust training and support resources so the event goes off without a hitch and candidates have plenty of information to peruse while they wait for a 1 to 1 chat with a recruiter, for example.

Finally, it’s important that your event platform allows for easy follow up. For example, Brazen has an API that connects to your ATS, allowing you to transfer information about candidates directly from the event platform.

Note that a virtual hiring event platform is different than a virtual interview tool. While virtual interview tools can facilitate one-on-one conversations between recruiters and candidates, online interview tools do not have the same robust, interactive features as a virtual hiring event platform or easily scale to many participants. Virtual hiring event platforms are designed to keep candidates engaged before, during, and after the event takes place, while virtual interview tools typically focus on only the interview aspect of the candidate experience. Assess your company’s needs and current suite of recruitment tech to determine which option is best for you.

Use virtual events to enhance the candidate experience

Even when the pandemic ends, virtual hiring events will be an important tool in talent acquisition. They present an opportunity to meet a larger pool of candidates, build your employer brand, and save money on the travel and venue costs typically associated with in-person recruitment events. Developing a seamless, candidate-driven virtual event strategy now can bolster your employer brand well into the future.

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