In the current world of social distancing, online classes, and working from home, more and more career centers are looking into hosting a virtual career fair for the first time. For those of you that are used to hosting in-person fairs, there are lots of questions and unknowns that might be holding you back from committing to a virtual event. We’re here to help try to answer some of those questions.
One of our long-time customers recently hosted their first virtual career fair inside the Career Fair Plus app. They were happy to share their lessons learned from the event and some feedback from their students and recruiters to help other schools in taking their first steps into virtual fairs.
“I think this career fair was successful in opening up opportunities for myself and others, especially considering the current situation. I would certainly participate in a process like this again.”
As with any event, the key to success comes down to three things: communication, communication, communication. Remember, this may be your students’ and recruiters’ first virtual event as well, and the more information you can provide ahead of time the more confident and successful everyone will be.
“It was hard to know what to expect from it. I didn’t know if it was more a phone interview or just an information session.”
When communicating, email is still the most effective way to get information out to both students and recruiters. Of the students surveyed, 45% of them found out about the event through email, compared with only 1.5% who found out from the website. It’s important to get emails out to students and recruiters as early as possible so that they have plenty of time to prepare for the fair. Of course, email is useless without good content.
For recruiters, the first thing is to help them get registered for the fair and get set up with an account and schedules in Career Fair Plus. Without an account or schedules, the recruiter won’t be able to accept appointments or see students’ details. It’s also critical for recruiters to understand that signing up for a schedule at the fair is a commitment to reach out to any students who sign up, just as if they were sitting at a booth at an in-person fair. Our customer reported that at least one employer at the fair failed to reach out to any of the students in their schedule. This leads to a terrible experience for the student and gives the employer a bad reputation.
“Advantages are you knew information about the recruiters and companies going in, as well as having that information at your fingertips.”
Career fairs are about employers advertising jobs to students as much as they are about students looking for the right job. Encourage employers to provide as much information as possible in their Career Fair Plus company entry and their virtual fair schedules so that students know exactly what the company is looking for.
“Thank you for finding a way for us to still get résumés! I really appreciate your efforts.”
Communicating with students early is equally important. The most critical thing for students is to have a complete profile. This means having their GPA, major, phone number, and other fields filled out with accurate information. Most importantly, it means uploading their résumé. If they don’t upload their résumé they leave out the most useful piece of information they could give to a recruiter.
“I liked having the times set in advance and having a chance to review the résumés first.”
Any email to students should also make it clear that the recruiter will reach out to them by phone at their scheduled time. And, just because they will be speaking with the recruiter over the phone and they don’t have to dress up doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t prepare. Any materials that you can provide to your students to help them get ready for a phone interview will improve their confidence.
“Time was too short. 15 minutes is better…”
Aside from maintaining good communication with your recruiters and students, there are a few other things that you can do to help make your virtual fair a success:
- Work with recruiters to make sure they have enough time for each student. Many recruiters reported feeling rushed with only 10 minutes, and no time to catch their breath between calls. Consider lengthening time slots to 15 minutes and inserting a break period every 3-4 calls so recruiters can collect their thoughts.
- The beauty of a virtual fair is that there is no set-up or tear-down. If you have too many students competing for too few slots, consider extending the fair to multiple days.
The final question that may be nagging you is: do students and recruiters actually like virtual fairs? Our customer shared some great feedback with us that paints a pretty clear picture:
- 81% of recruiters surveyed rated their overall virtual fair experience an 8/10 or better;
- 81% of recruiters surveyed responded 8/10 or better to the question of if they would participate in another virtual career fair;
- 97% of students surveyed said the virtual fair helped support their career goals;
- 74% of students surveyed gave the virtual fair a rating of 8/10 or above;
- 95% of students surveyed rated the ease of using the Career Fair Plus app as good or excellent.
These are pretty overwhelming results, especially when compared with the possibility of not hosting a career event at all.
Hopefully, if you’ve made it this far we’ve answered some of your questions and helped you feel a bit better about making the leap to hosting a virtual fair. If you still have questions, or you’re interested in learning more about how you can host your virtual fair in Career Fair Plus, visit www.careerfairplus.com and click the Learn More button to send us a message and schedule a call.