Don’t let Covid-19 stop you from holding Career Fairs – go Virtual!

Finding the right talent has always been a challenge for recruiters, but add a global pandemic into the mix and things become even more complicated. In these uncertain times, conventional recruitment channels reliant on face-to-face interactions have largely been thrown out the window. These new challenges in our ‘new normal’ require innovative solutions.

Career or job fairs have been a mainstay in the recruitment world for many years, offering organisations the opportunity to gain access to considerable numbers of candidates in a single sitting. Typically, these events are held in large event spaces or on university campuses full of branded swag, with multiple employers looking to entice candidates to pop over for a conversation and potentially a brief interview. Critics have argued that career fairs are a thing of the past, due to perceived inefficiencies for direct hiring, while others argue these events bring advantages beyond immediate hiring measures.

“If they are all recruiting the same way, why would any of them get a different outcome than their competitors?”

Lazlo Bock, former Senior Vice President of Google’s People Operations and author of Work Rules!

While there are definite benefits to traditional career fairs, there is also a need to overcome some of the drawbacks and update the format for the current world we live in. This is where Virtual Career Fairs can be an incredibly powerful tool for keeping your recruiting funnel active and maintaining a strong talent pool.

Benefits of traditional Career Fairs

Access to a large number of candidates
The clearest reason for a job fair is to gain opportunities to secure more quality candidate leads for your talent pool. With industry-specific events, you can reach multiple prospects who are interested in, or have experience in your company’s industry. 

Build brand awareness
Another key reason for employer attendance at career fairs is to boost both employer and corporate brand awareness. Attending alongside other industry-specific competitors or potential partners is a surefire way to increase brand awareness, while delivering positive experiences to jobseekers can work wonders for your employer brand. 

Instant responses for employers and candidates
As opposed to the traditional wait-and-see style of applying for a role with a CV, candidates and hiring managers can move straight to an informal interview to assess suitability. This can foster a more personal connection right from the start.

Time saving for mass hiring
While results may vary depending on the level and specificity of skills you require, these events can be a great way to hire en masse in a shorter period of time than via multiple individual applications. 

Disadvantages of traditional career fairs

One of the major disadvantages to career fairs is their usually high cost to hire ratio. Setup costs include venue hire (including the premium for best spot), sponsorship, signage, giveaways, portable technology, staffing, travel and lodging. These costs can be prohibitive for some employers, especially if you don’t get the foot traffic you were after. 

Large crowds can be stressful on candidates
There aren’t many of us that would admit to being comfortable in large crowds, and jobseekers are just the same. Trying to find the right opportunities to speak to employers through throngs of people can be overwhelming, especially for those more introverted, while live interviews are far less private and troublesome in a large venue.

Mass appeal
Despite being industry or job specific, career fairs are generally quite open and require less pre-attendance background checks for qualifications and suitability. Therefore recruiters will likely spend time screening and talking with multiple candidates who may not be remotely suitable. 

Loss of opportunities
Live events will undoubtedly come with a lot of missed opportunities, both subtle and overt. Candidates missing your signage or not travelling to your area, waiting too long to speak to someone, challenges with manual processes and many other problems can arise at in-person events.   

Specific time of day or location dependent
Another major disadvantage is that some of the best candidates may not be able to take time out of their schedule in regular hours, or even be able to travel to the specific venue. This can be a particular challenge for targeting those already employed or other passive candidates. 

What is a Virtual Career Fair and how does it work?

A virtual career fair is a scheduled online event that allows individual or multiple recruiters to advertise jobs and interview candidates, all through a specific microsite or other channel. Candidates who register can easily browse through employers and jobs before signing up to meet and discuss opportunities with recruiters via chat rooms or video calls.

Why should you move to a Virtual Career Fair?

Take it from Randstad, global leader in HR Services: “If you’re looking for something new to add to your recruiting arsenal, harness the power of the digital space, reach a lot of qualified candidates at once, and do so with a minimal budget – consider holding a virtual job fair.”

Virtual career fairs are a phenomenal way to go beyond the benefits of a physical career fair, while minimising the downsides. Utilising virtual hiring events is not only the perfect solution to tackle Covid-19 social restrictions, but also an adept long-term strategy that allows recruiters to take a more objective and analytical approach to talent acquisition. 

Widen the candidate pool even further
As CNBC notes, virtual hiring events take the hassle and time out of attending a traditional job fair with limited local candidates. This helps recruiters and employers interact with potential employees from all over the world and a variety of disciplines.

Save time, money and effort
Virtual Career Fairs are efficient with no need to travel, saving time and money. Virtual solutions will decrease your cost per lead, while efficiently optimizing your time spent actually deciding who to hire.

Advanced pre-screening and assessment for highly qualified candidates
Whether the job you are hiring for requires a very specific skillset or more generic experience, through analytical pre-assessment, every candidate can be vetted and assigned to the most best-fit jobs. 

Instantly add talent to your talent pool
With virtual events, there is no fear of loss of leads through chance, human error or other missed opportunities. All leads are registered, assessed and pre-screened to ensure that your talent pool can be immediately populated with identified high-quality prospects and all their information. 

Target specific or underrepresented groups
Due to the flexibility and ease of setup, Virtual Career Fairs can focus on any number of underrepresented groups and subsets to target. Whether it’s Women in STEM or targeting Neurodiverse candidates, organizations can take advantage of increasing diversity and inclusion efforts with highly specific and directed career fairs. 

Reduce physical appearance bias
As mentioned in Forbes, every jobseeker encounters some type of unconscious bias based on their physical appearance, with research showing that a female job seeker’s appearance can have a particularly negative impact on her success. By starting with a digital first impression, these implicit biases can be reduced.  

Less stressful on candidates and recruiters
This one is for the introverts. A lack of physical crowds means less noise, more intimate interviews, and not missing out on quality hires who fear the hordes.

Take your next Virtual Career Fair to the next level

Using X0PA AI Virtual Career Fair, recruiters can easily increase the visibility of jobs, automatically assess and pre-screen highly qualified candidates at scale, and create a strong and well-nurtured talent pool for future engagement. Candidates who join X0PA AI hiring events are automatically matched to suitable jobs, before being encouraged to meet recruiters via X0PA ROOM video interviews, Microsoft Teams or Zoom to discuss the role further. 

Enhanced Pre-Screening, Hiring and Selection
Recruiters can customise virtual hybrid assessments and questionnaires to assess candidates  to ensure best fit before reaching the interview stage. Additionally, through integration with the X0I Chatbot, candidates can be greeted and have their CV and application pre-screened based on recruiter-defined questions and scoring matrix set-up.

Interview multiple candidates at once

The Virtual Career Fair feature integrates with X0PA ROOM, a hybrid video interview and assessment platform. For hiring managers looking to scale their interview and hiring process seamlessly, ROOM enables companies to interview multiple candidates at once through one-way recorded interview functionality.

Create a talent pool for future engagement
Companies can add talent from virtual career fairs directly to their talent pool and easily organise, manage and engage with the candidates. Talent acquisition professionals can then build and nurture a qualified talent pipeline to fill immediate and future roles in the business.
Customisable to corporate branding
Employers are able to make the events their own and ensure the individual employee experience is maintained with logos and banners for consistency with corporate branding.

Post event analysis

Track where candidates are coming from and measure the success of all engagements through analytics such as number of applicants, interviews conducted, jobs filled, and even skills and demographics of the applicants.

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