What to look for in a virtual career fair platform

Jul 06, 2020 - Cat DiStasio

Congratulations! You’ve decided to take your in-person career fair virtual. Soon, you’ll be reaping the benefits many employers have discovered this year, as a surprisingly pleasant side effect of the coronavirus pandemic.

Now you have to shop for a virtual career fair platform. With so many options on the market and new vendors emerging all the time, that can seem like a daunting challenge. Like any major investment, you want to make the right choice the first time.

Before you sign a contract, here’s what you need to know about the virtual career fair platforms you’re considering. With answers to these questions, you’ll be well-equipped to make an informed decision about your next recruiting technology partner.

Is it a full funnel virtual career fair platform?

Many vendors offer tools that are little more than instant messaging services or online chat rooms. While that may work for some employers, most organizations want a more robust solution that includes recruitment marketing tools, in-event experience design, and automated follow-ups. These additional offerings allow you to create an immersive candidate experience, which improves candidate engagement as well as the quality of talent you can attract. Additionally, it means that you’ll give candidates a seamless experience from one step to the next without delay.

Can you build the events yourself?

Some virtual career fair platforms require clients to send their event details to an account representative, who is the only person who can set up an event. This creates delays and opportunities for error. It’s more preferable to use a platform that allows you to set up and control events yourself, meaning you can create events faster and more efficiently. While any quality vendor will always offer additional support when you need it, the best results come when you can be fully in control of your event setup.

This also means your team will need training to learn how to use the platform effectively. Beware of vendors who do not offer any training or who charge an additional fee for training new users on the platform.

Is the vendor equipped to support your events?

Always ask about capacity to ensure the vendor has the infrastructure to host your events, while hosting events for other clients. You also want to find out whether there are limitations to the number of booths or participants each event can support. Many vendors try to skirt capacity issues by managing a universal schedule for all their clients, meaning clients may not be able to host a virtual career fair whenever they want. Look for a vendor with enough infrastructure to offer the flexibility and control of making those decisions based on what your business and your candidates want, rather than being at the mercy of the vendor’s bandwidth.

If this is confusing, think about what’s been happening recently with the conference tool Zoom. Practically overnight, Zoom scaled from 10 million daily meeting participants (in December 2019) to 300 million in April 2020 as a result of the pandemic’s shelter in place orders. This massive growth caused problems with connectivity and made it impossible for some users to host a meeting when they needed to, or blocked some participants from joining a meeting already in progress. While it’s unlikely any virtual career fair platform will see that kind of growth any time soon (or ever), it’s easy to understand how a vendor’s capacity can impact the quality of your virtual recruiting events.

Can you customize the user interface?

The look and feel of a virtual career fair is the first factor that affects candidate experience for the event, so it’s important to get it right. You want a platform that looks professional, is easily accessible for all types of devices, and reflects your brand. This can mean customizing events with your brand colors, adding customized logos and banners, and setting up event booths in a way that aligns with your other recruitment messaging. When you test drive a potential virtual career fair platform, ask yourself, “Does this platform help our employer brand be perceived the way we want?” If the answer is no, keep looking.

Virtually a match

Chances are, once you’ve collected all the answers to these questions, the right choice will become clear. It is essential to demo any product you’re considering, and see how it looks not only from the back end but also from the candidates’ point of view. After all, a smooth and impressive candidate experience is at the heart of your desire to host virtual career fairs, isn’t it?