Comprehensive Guide To Virtual Hiring Events

While in-person hiring events do have their pros, virtual hiring events are certainly the way of the future. In a candidates’ job market, recruiters and organizations need to quickly engage both active and passive job seekers, communicate early and often, and engage candidates across their hiring journey if they are committed to improving their overall recruitment process and hiring success rate. Candidate experience and engagement are key. And virtual hiring events are your secret weapon in competing for top talent.

With the industry abuzz with virtual hiring events (also known as virtual career fairs or virtual job fairs), where do you start? How do you organize one? What are the benefits, and how do candidates get the most out of an event like this?

In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through all you need to know about virtual events and how to maximize your virtual hiring event platform. Plus, we'll share some insider tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your virtual hiring event. But before we dive in, let's cover the basics.

Table of Contents

What is a Virtual Hiring Event?

Why Should You Go Virtual?

How Do You Plan a Virtual Hiring Event?

What Else Does a Virtual Event Offer Hosts?

Tips for Job Seekers Attending a Virtual Hiring Event

Conclusion

What is a Virtual Hiring Event?

A virtual hiring event brings candidates and recruiters together in a virtual setting – a virtual event platform – to have high value conversations through text, audio, and video chats. A virtual hiring event is also similar to an in-person job fair but is more convenient and accessible for both candidates and recruiters. Furthermore, virtual events may also include elements like live broadcast messages (think: webinar) – but also offers so much more. Job seekers can access the event from anywhere in the world from a computer, tablet, or smartphone via a good internet connection. During a specific time frame, attendees can join the hiring event and peruse virtual booths as they would at an in-person career fair. 

At these virtual booths, potential candidates can get in line to speak with someone at the company and while they are waiting, peruse anything from job openings to downloadable company information, image galleries, streaming videos, and more. These virtual booths are also managed in real-time by dedicated recruiters or HR teams, meaning attendees can chat and communicate with 'real' people throughout the event. 

Another big bonus? Because of the digital nature of these virtual hiring events, guests can log in without traveling to a physical location. This also means that organizations are opening up their recruitment drive to local, national, and international talent pools. It also means less travel time required for your recruiting team, who can run these booths from the comfort of their own homes or workplaces. 

In addition to booths that connect job seekers and employers, virtual career fairs can also host speakers in live streamed video, enabling your career fair lots of options to drive engagement, share information, or even draw attendees for a portion of the event (such as concluding keynote session by a prominent figure or company spokesperson). With live broadcast video booths, multiple speakers can present, and attendees can chat in a live comments stream. This adds the ability for an engaging educational component to your events, setting your application process apart and attracting even more candidates.


Why Should You Go Virtual?

We understand that sometimes you just can't beat an in-person meeting with someone. And there's nothing like a firm handshake and direct eye contact when meeting a potential new candidate. Any potential employer would want to know if their first impressions formed through video conferencing matches up in real life. The good news? Countless employers are keeping this part of the hiring process in place - just further down the hiring journey, when investing the time and money into traveling and arranging in person interviews or meetings has a much higher ROI (many call this a hybrid recruiting strategy).

There are so many benefits of adding virtual events to your hiring strategy. Here are just a few:

  • Attendees Can Save Time & Money: Virtual hiring events bring career opportunities to people who are sending job applications everywhere, allowing them to save time and money. Job seekers no longer have to allocate time and money traveling to an in-person event, broadening your potential talent pool and opening up opportunities to a more diverse range of candidates. While some people can take a quick cab or bus ride to a location for an in person event, many may have to travel quite a distance, arrange work schedules or child care, and manage other logistics to be able to attend an in-person event – which can be inconvenient and costly (which ultimately means, you’re reaching fewer people).

  • Higher Visitor Attendance: If marketed correctly, a well-planned virtual event will attract more attendees and result in a higher attendance rate. Thanks to the convenient, “log in from anywhere” experience, those who register in advance for your event are much more likely to actually attend. (Bonus: many platforms will help you automate reminders to drive event audience numbers up, too).

  • Expands the Talent Pool: Following on from the point above, while traditional interviews can limit your reach, virtual events can completely open up your talent pool. By not limiting themselves to a physical location, employers can attract top candidates across the country and even the globe and reach new talent pools, such as HBCUs, mid-market locations, and specialized talent. Everyone from campus recruiting to corporate recruiting teams can benefit from the ability to reach and expand their talent pools with virtual events.

  • Creates a Connection: Even without meeting in person, virtual career fairs still encourage and foster an environment for connection between organizations and job seekers, thanks to the ability to quickly conduct video and audio calls with candidates in your booths. This connection can then easily be translated into moving top candidates on to next steps of their job application with features like rating, reviewing, and leaving comments on every conversation you have with a candidate.

  • Measurable Results: Unlike in-person events, virtual career fairs enable you to measure so many more metrics and trends. Look for a virtual event software that enables you not only to see who attended your events, but that also captures and measures information like attendance rate, number of chats completed, movement of candidates into the pipeline, and more. You also want to be able to review candidate resumes, key interview answers, event registration insights, and other key details about each candidate who attends. This type of data can improve how you screen candidates, offer valuable insight, and help improve key aspects of your upcoming events.

  • Real-Time Feedback: Often, virtual career fair software offers exhibitors a one-to-one chat feature. This chat option enables job seekers to connect with organizations and receive real-time feedback. This instant connection also provides candidates the platform to ask important questions before deciding to apply for a job.

How Do You Plan a Virtual Hiring Event?

If you're looking to plan your own virtual hiring event, there are certain elements you'll need to consider in order to create a successful event. From setup to marketing, you'll need to work your way through a detailed checklist. Some important areas to consider when planning our own event include the following:

Partner with the Right Virtual Career Event Platform

The first (and perhaps most crucial) step to hosting a successful online job fair is to partner with the right virtual career platform. Of course, different vendors will offer various features to suit varying budgets – from the most basic to top-line offerings. You'll need to explore the best option for your organization.

Choose the Right Date & Time 

Think about the best time to host your virtual career event. What time works best for attendees across the country – or even the world? Will attendees be more likely to join over weekends or after-hours if they are currently employed or at college during the day? Also, think about how long you'd like to keep the event running in terms of what your budget can allow and the reach you'd like to achieve.

Have a Strategy in Place

Naturally, online job fairs will form part of your greater recruitment strategy. But really think about your set of objectives and goals as you enter into this new, virtual space. You’ll potentially have a larger talent pool to choose from, so choose candidate questions that will help you quickly identify your top candidates. Also, think about ways in which your recruitment strategy can be adapted (and even accelerated) in a virtual arena.

Think About Design

Career professionals might be the ones on a job search, but remember that they also decide if your company suits them. It's therefore essential to spend time designing your online job fair in its entirety. The options are vast, and brands can offer experiential brand experiences where candidates can immerse themselves in the organization, its culture, and employer branding. Each element should be well-thought-out and designed with your ideal candidates top of mind.

Content is King

Content options are also endless when it comes to planning your virtual career events. In order to showcase your company in the best possible way, you'll want to add a mix of different content such as videos, social media links, reviews, documents, PDFs, and podcasts. Of course, your brand voice, message, and company culture will need to come across in each branded element. Finally, get your marketing team’s best writers to put together an optimized event description so that you can reach a wider audience online.

Enable Your Team for Success

As many of us know, the perfectly planned event can fall completely flat if not executed correctly. If your staff or management team aren't up to speed or comfortable with hosting and operating the technical side of things, your event could go pear-shaped. Easily avoidable mistakes like these might negatively impact the experience from both the employer and job seeker’s point of view, so always include time for trainings and tutorials before the start of each event.

Develop and Implement a Marketing Plan

Another crucial step to consider is how you will market and attract the right type of candidates to your event. As you would a traditional event, be sure to market your virtual career fair consistently through email, your career page, advertising, public relations, and social media platforms.

    What Else Does a Virtual Event Offer Hosts?

    Besides connecting employers with great talent, a virtual hiring event can provide so much more when it comes to showcasing your organization to potential employees. A few of these features include: 

    • Customizable Branding Options: Unique software capabilities allow you to build, manage, and market your own events. Plus, you can create customizable landing pages, virtual lobbies, and virtual booths, to name just a few of the offerings.

    • Custom Registration Forms: Many virtual career platforms can provide custom event registration forms that collect data from job seekers and include certain filter questions. This way, recruiters and organizations only chat with the most qualified candidates.

    • Chat History: Virtual career platforms also offer text-based chat that is automatically saved in your chat history tab. This nifty feature means that you'll have all your discussions recorded on the day – meaning you won't forget meaningful conversations and essential details about your top candidates after the event has concluded.

    • Booth Filtering: Sometimes, it can feel like you're faced with a sea of booths when you're on the attendee side. Many companies offer a booth filtering system that gives candidates an easy way to get to the most relevant and applicable booths. This easy navigation tool allows for a great candidate experience from the get-go.

    • Mobile-Friendly Experience: About 60% of candidates access virtual hiring events from their smartphones – this means that it's crucial to create a mobile-friendly event in every way possible. So be sure to look for a virtual career platform that has software that is 100% compatible with mobile phones as well as desktops and tablets.

    Tips for Job Seekers Attending a Virtual Hiring Event

    Now that we have covered essential points from a hosts' point of view, what about the attendees? As you would do some prep going into a traditional career fair, there are a few things you can do to really make the most of your virtual experience. Above all, as an attendee, you need to stand out from thousands of other job seekers while getting the most out of the event yourself. Below we share a few tips for attendees when joining a virtual hiring event:

    Research Your Top Organizations Beforehand

    An oldie but a goodie, doing your homework on some of your top organizations is always a good idea. A company that offers plenty of opportunities for career development would be ideal. Be sure to take a look at companies you might not have heard about before – you never know, they might surprise you.

    Think of Some Important Questions

    Have a couple of questions up your sleeve when you e-meet with prospective employers. These can either focus on the role itself or relate to the company specifically – a well-thought-out question can make a lasting impression.

    Dress the Part

    Sure, you might be sitting at home on the sofa while attending a virtual career event but still dress smartly. Not only will this make a good first impression to potential employers, but it will help put you in the correct frame of mind when it comes to putting your best (and well-dressed) foot forward. Oh, and don't slouch on the couch, have a messy background, or have your cat constantly walking across your screen. Treat it as if you're at a formal interview.

    Have Your Resume at the Ready

    Updated and saved somewhere easily accessible, have your resume ready to go. This way, as soon as you enter an organization's virtual lobby that you like the look and sound of, you can have your resume ready to submit while chatting with one of the representatives.

    Take Plenty of Notes

    Naturally, you will be meeting with many people and organizations during the event. So, take notes! Write or type up things like the names of the people you've met, job descriptions you like the sound of, and any important information about an organization that's caught your eye. Trust us, you'll be overwhelmed with information once you log off, so keep this information handy for later.

    Tech it Up a Notch

    Avoid any technical glitches by upgrading your software and having your laptop, tablet, or phone fully charged. Have your charges and cables next to you, so you're not frantically fumbling around with 2% battery before chatting to someone about your dream job.

    Follow-Up

    Who doesn't love a follow-up note? A simple post-event note is a great way to show your appreciation, stand out from the crowd, and leave a lasting impression on your top recruiters or organizations.

      Conclusion

      So there you have it, our comprehensive guide to virtual hiring events. We hope this has covered all you need to know when it comes to planning and executing your next virtual career event.

      Remember, if you do have more questions or would like additional information on what we do and how we do it, please feel free to reach out to joe.matar@brazen.com. He'll be more than happy to chat through any queries you may have.