Low application rates got you down? You’re not alone. Employers in many industries are experiencing startlingly low volumes of applications, and industries with the highest numbers of open positions may be feeling the worst of it.
The answer? In a nutshell, virtual recruitment events are the way forward. Hosting a wide variety of virtual career events offers other ways for job seekers to engage with an organization, outside of an application form. This approach can be part of an effective strategy to attract more talent, keep candidates engaged, and ultimately boost application rates.
Using virtual recruitment events and platforms can also help you tap into new talent markets, engage with more passive talent, and improve the candidate experience. The net result, for our customers using an online recruitment events strategy, is better conversion rates to application and, in many cases, better quality hires.
Rather than doubling down on your investment in paid advertising to promote job listings, consider leveraging a sourcing marketplace to drive candidates directly to virtual recruitment events. This strategy sets your organization—and its roles—apart from the sea of competing employers who are still clinging to the “traditional” recruiting process that candidates are rejecting. Offering alternatives to an application keeps candidates from landing in the ‘resume black hole’ and gets candidates interacting with your recruiting team sooner—which helps reduce candidate ghosting. Employers who drive job seekers to virtual recruitment events also tend to see more of the right candidates applying, which drives down the cost per conversion significantly. If they're using a virtual recruitment platform to host these events, they can also keep track of candidates and their resumes for long-term hiring pipeline management.
For all types of recruitment events and virtual workshops, consider listing the events and registration links in your job ads and on your careers site, and promote them on social media and through email/text communications. This makes it clear to job seekers and potential employees that they have other options outside of a standard application.
Let's talk about three virtual hiring event types that have been proven effective to boost application and candidate engagement rates:
1. “Meet the Leadership” Events
Getting to know your leaders can help job seekers and prospective candidates decide whether they want to work at your organization, both before, during, and after a virtual hiring event. Host “meet our hiring managers” events for early career positions or host virtual events with company leaders and members of the C-suite for higher experience levels, and be sure to include their names and titles in the event description if they have established personal brands to drum up extra interest and attention.
Virtual recruiting event ideas that feature your leaders are a low ask of candidates and are an easy way for them to engage with you when it’s convenient for them and using the internet-connected device they prefer. You can host these virtual information sessions on multiple days and times if needed for added availability. We recommend mixing prerecorded content with live broadcasts, Q&A sessions, or breakout rooms for discussion/pre-screening for maximum accessibility and scalability.
These types of events offer job seekers the opportunity to learn about your organizational culture, team dynamics, and company values, not to mention your future employment opportunities. Fast Company points out that leaders can show candidates “who [they] are from the very beginning: that [they’re] against exploitation, especially of underrepresented communities, and will reward people genuinely for what they are worth.”
2. “A Day in the Life” Events
Job seekers love to hear from current employees and learn what it’s really like to work at your organization. Host virtual events that center on employee testimonials and behind-the-scenes videos. Virtual employee Q&A sessions are also effective and you can invite attendees to submit questions in advance and/or during the event, so they can get answers directly from their potential coworkers.
These events offer another perspective on your organizational culture and can also include messaging about your mission and values, community involvement, career potential, and other topics that candidates are curious about.
3. Employee Resource Group Discussion Events
Featuring members of your employee resource groups (ERGs) in virtual recruiting events is another effective way to attract and engage with top talent, not to mention a fantastic opportunity to highlight the best parts of your company culture during your virtual job fair or public professional development event. There are many different ways to do this, including ERG-led panel discussions about a current event or another specific topic that would appeal to your target talent audience outside of a single job opportunity (i.e. ‘supporting Black women in the workplace’ or ‘what inclusion looks like at ABC Company’).
Events Drive Engagement
Of course, applications still matter in the recruiting process. But job seekers need—and deserve—more options for engaging with your organization, and you owe them more than just limiting your first interactions with them to simple job descriptions. When you focus on driving candidates to a virtual career fair or event registration instead of an application, you can broaden your reach, boost candidate engagement, and eventually boost application rates and better control hiring costs.
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