This article was originally published by Sarah Marie for NY Weekly – click here to access.

When COVID–19 forced companies to transition to online and work from home setups the world turned to digital platforms and tools to stay connected. With many jobs lost and industries changing and adapting to what the new demands and necessities were, the hiring process has completely changed. Steven Edwards, CEO of Premier Virtual, has been helping companies hire qualified candidates for over a decade and has given a little insight on how the pandemic has affected job hiring practices and how the virtual space is only going to grow.

Edwards saw a shift happening in hiring practices a few years ago and started working on adapting his business to serve those needs. In early 2020, his business partner and himself launched a new platform for online hiring and recruiting through Premier Virtual, quickly becoming an unrivaled leader aiding companies with their hiring and recruitment needs through the pandemic. Premier Virtual is the number 1 virtual career fair platform in the workforce development industry nationwide and has connected thousands of employers with qualified candidates. They have transformed the traditional job fair into a highly efficient recruitment system for any level of employment, including top-level executives, benefiting employers and job seekers all over the world.

When recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and holding in-person events were not an option, hiring practices were adapted to be completely virtual. Companies found themselves overwhelmed with applications on online job sites like Indeed, and qualified job seekers felt discouraged when they saw that hundreds of other people were applying for every job. Employers reported having difficulty finding qualified applicants, and applicants found the competition to be simply daunting.

Quality of hire has become a growing concern for many companies, and with so many applicants, they have started to look for a more streamlined recruitment and hiring process. More and more companies are turning to online candidate screening and assessment tools to narrow down targeted qualified contenders. Social media has become a heavily used recruitment channel. Interviews can happen through email, text message, chatbot, and more.

Aware of these concerns and ever-changing industry needs, Premier Virtual created a unique and innovative platform that enables companies to create a custom virtual hiring event. The platform is fully customizable; employers can set different parameters for submitting applications, testing skills, interviewing, etc. Outside companies also have access to licensing the software. Through this software, Premier Virtual has supported thousands of companies connecting with and employing individuals, even in the hardest of hit places and times over the last two years. The platform has powered 2,500 events to date, connecting 25,000 employers to 250,000 job seekers, and has earned industry-leading ratings on review sites like Capterra and G2. Edwards prides himself on the dedication of his team, and how they have truly impacted and changed lives across the world.

Edwards is a veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division of the United States Army and describes what his company does as a parachute that prevented many industries from crashing to the ground during the pandemic and kept them going. Connecting companies and individuals from all over the world, getting people connected to jobs in a time when they needed it most, Edwards knows that the virtual job and career fair model is here to stay. He is ready to take on whatever the industry needs; his goal is to better people’s lives every day.

“Our platform is opening up these opportunities for people, maybe those that live in rural areas, and those that might not have been able to apply for these jobs, people from all over the world. We are connecting companies with top-level talent, making this an easy-to-use, stand-alone platform that allows companies to increase their candidate pool, and get more qualified applicants opportunities to apply. This is bettering people’s lives, every day,” he said.

Edwards and his team have supported companies and organizations of all shapes and sizes in all industries as the hiring practices have evolved and will continue to do so. They are always seeking ways to improve and make the platform better, setting the bar for the rest of the industry. Connect with Edwards and the Premier Virtual team on the company website.