The Problem with Job Fairs & The Virtual Solution

Founder and President of Premier Virtual, Steve Edwards knows a thing or two about job fairs. Steve hosted in-person job fairs for nearly nine years, and was first hand witness of the decline in quality of applicants and turnout. In 2018 it was clear to Steve that job seekers prefered to apply online, rather than waiting in line, and that’s why he decided to build his own virtual hiring event platform, and Premier Virtual was launched.

Here we are 6 years since that realization, 4 years since Premier Virtual launched, and after powering more than 7,000 virtual hiring events, we still see many companies and organizations that are skeptical about hosting virtual hiring events. The truth of the matter is that in person job fairs are ineffective, primarily attract the unemployed and do not offer the access that job seekers are looking for.

The benefits that career fairs once offered cannot compare to the benefits that virtual hiring events do. Even as in person events provide a platform for networking and making initial connections. there are several common problems associated with career fairs:

  1. Limited Opportunities: Career fairs often have a limited number of employers and job openings, which may not cater to the diverse needs and interests of all job seekers. This can be especially problematic for individuals seeking specialized or niche positions.
  2. Low Turnout The turnout at career fairs has dropped so low, that you rarely see a crowd any more. Attendance has dropped year over year and there is no reason to believe that will change.
  3. Superficial Interactions: Due to time constraints, the interactions between job seekers and employers at career fairs tend to be brief and somewhat superficial. It can be challenging to convey your qualifications and make a lasting impression in such a short time.
  4. Inefficiency: Job seekers may spend significant time and effort attending career fairs, only to find that they did not connect with the right employers or job opportunities. This can be inefficient and frustrating.
  5. Lack of Diversity: Some career fairs may not adequately represent the diversity of job seekers and employers in terms of industries, types of roles, and demographics. This can limit opportunities for underrepresented groups.
  6. Location and Timing: Career fairs are typically held at specific locations and times, which may not be convenient for all job seekers. This can exclude those who cannot attend due to scheduling conflicts or geographic constraints.
  7. Follow-Up Challenges: Even if you make a good impression at a career fair, the subsequent follow-up and application process can be challenging. Employers often direct job seekers to their online application systems, which can be impersonal and challenging to navigate.
  8. Limited Information: At career fairs, job seekers might not get comprehensive information about the company culture, job requirements, or benefits. This can lead to misunderstandings or mismatches in terms of job fit.
  9. Prejudice and Bias: There’s potential for bias in the initial selection process at career fairs, which may disproportionately affect candidates from underrepresented backgrounds.
  10. Expense: Traveling to and attending career fairs can be costly, especially for those who need to travel long distances, stay in hotels, or take time off work.

To address these issues, job seekers should prepare thoroughly, research participating employers, and have a clear strategy for making the most of their time at career fairs. Employers can improve the experience for job seekers by offering clear information, providing opportunities for deeper engagement, and diversifying their recruiting efforts. Despite these strategies, career fairs are not an effective hiring option. However, these challenges can be solved by hosting virtual or hybrid events.

Virtual career fairs offer several benefits that in-person career fairs may not provide. These advantages can make virtual career fairs a more attractive option for both job seekers and employers:

  1. Accessibility: Virtual career fairs are accessible to a broader range of participants. Job seekers can attend from anywhere with an internet connection, eliminating the need to travel long distances or take time off work.
  2. Convenience: Virtual career fairs are more convenient since they don’t require physical presence. Job seekers can participate from the comfort of their own homes, which reduces travel costs and time commitments.
  3. Diverse Opportunities: Virtual career fairs can attract a wider array of employers and industries, making it possible for job seekers to explore a more diverse range of job opportunities in a single event.
  4. Enhanced Networking: Virtual career fairs often feature built-in chat and video conferencing tools that facilitate one-on-one interactions with recruiters and employers. This can lead to more meaningful and in-depth conversations compared to in-person fairs.
  5. Lower Environmental Impact: Virtual career fairs are more environmentally friendly since they don’t involve the transportation and resource consumption associated with physical events.
  6. Extended Duration: In-person career fairs are typically limited to a single day or a few hours. Virtual career fairs can last for several days or even weeks, providing job seekers with more flexibility to engage with employers at their own pace.
  7. Recording and Revisiting: Many virtual career fairs record the sessions and interactions, allowing job seekers to review the information and revisit conversations with employers at a later time.
  8. Reduced Crowds: Virtual career fairs can handle a larger number of attendees without the overcrowding issues often seen in physical events, improving the overall experience.
  9. Lower Costs: Job seekers can save money by not having to spend on travel, accommodation, and other expenses associated with attending in-person events.
  10. Easy Access to Information: Virtual career fairs often provide digital resources, such as company profiles, job descriptions, and other materials, making it easier for job seekers to research and prepare in advance.
  11. Inclusivity: Virtual career fairs can be more inclusive for job seekers with disabilities or those who have difficulty attending physical events due to various reasons.

The world of career fairs has changed, as just about every facet of the hiring process. Technology has made it much easier to host events online, and increase the quality of interactions. If you are experiencing poor results with your job fairs, and want to learn more about virtual, or how to create hybrid events, visit us at for a free demo today.