Virtual Career Fairs: The 5 Most Common Questions Answered!

According to NACE – the National Association of Colleges and Employers, more than 90% of employers have attended a virtual career fair this fall. As you can imagine, that is a steep increase from previous years, and as we all know, COVID was the catalyst.
Regardless of how we got here, there is no going back. Everyone who has attended a virtual career fair, either as an employer or job candidate, can agree that this format has many advantages. While challenges remain to replicate the actual ‘meet and greet’, or issues with internet access and potential technical problems, expectations are this technology will continue to improve and become a regular part of the hiring process.
So, what are the most often asked questions when it comes to hosting a virtual career fair? Let’s address the top 5.
1. What are the benefits of a virtual career fair? The most glaring advantage is the reduction in time and cost, thus increasing efficiency and productivity. In a virtual fair, you do not have to shop around for a venue that will accommodate your needs on the day and time you need it. There will be no costs for ‘drape and pipe’ otherwise known as your booth, and you can leave behind all of that printed material and brochures that can often be very expensive and a real hassle to transport.
Virtual career fairs allow you to attend even if you are not feeling well or if the weather decides to take a turn for the worse the day of your event.
Logistics aside, a virtual career fair will open the doors to anyone that has access to the internet and knows about your event. You are no longer limited to the talent pool in your immediate vicinity. If someone wants to move to Florida but lives in New Jersey, they can now attend your career fair, same as anyone locally, and that can be a real game-changer.
Also, the Premier Virtual platform allows for an unlimited number of recruiters in a booth, and the ‘chat that follows’ means you can carry on several conversations at the same time. Recruiters can view all of the resumes and receive all of the data from the event in real-time. This data is often the biggest advantage of virtual because of how easy it is to review and then access again electronically for follow-up.
As companies embrace this format, job seekers recognize innovative and flexible brands, making them more appealing. A savvy job-seeker that prefers to apply online instead of inline will appreciate those companies that are offering that option, creating a competitive advantage over those who don’t.
2. How does a Virtual Career Fair work?
Well, you might be surprised, but it closely mirrors an in-person event. The employers have logos in the lobby that job seekers can attend with a click of the mouse. Once you do, it takes them to the employer’s booth where they can research the company, view open positions, download materials, and see if there is any interest. If so, the candidate can enter into a chat with an available recruiter and even move into a video interview. In the Premier Virtual career fair platform, all chats are one-on-one to ensure privacy, and the video conferencing is built in. If there is a fit, candidates can submit their resumes, and recruiters can make an offer right on the spot. It’s easy to use and navigate, and participants can get a lot done quickly.
3. What are some of the disadvantages?
People will tend to keep a physical appointment more than a virtual one because virtual appointments can be very easy to ignore. To keep attendance rates high, it’s important to send reminders via email and text. Using a platform like Engage By Cell can be a very effective way to accomplish that. Of course, nothing can replicate the physical handshake or eye-to-eye interaction of an in-person event. Participants can become distracted, and recruiters might find it harder to get a good ‘read’ on a person or get that ‘warm and fuzzy; that’s often part of the decision process and before deciding someone is a good fit for the companies culture.
An option to address these shortcomings is quickly growing in popularity, called the ‘hybrid’ career fair that offers both in-person and virtual access. Anyone who prefers to attend in person can do that, and you still open up your talent pool by providing a virtual option.
4. How do I create and market a virtual career fair?
Set-up & Training – Once you have the license to the software, Premier Virtual gives you access to your dashboard. In just 15 minutes, you can customize your event, and go live! It’s that simple, especially now with the built-in setup wizard that’s part of Version 2.0 of the platform. Not every platform offers this feature, so you want to make sure to ask about the setup process.
After set up, you want to make sure that everyone participating becomes familiar with the tool and resources. Premier Virtual assigns an account manager to each client. The account manager will schedule a training session and provide support throughout the process. This kind of training and support is crucial for a successful event. The platform should also have training videos easily accessible for all job applicants that will be attending the event. Nothing will kill your virtual career fair faster than a platform that is difficult to navigate or not user-friendly.
Promote – As with any event, you want to promote it as much as possible. The virtual registration page makes it easy to share links and for attendees to register, and it should be included in all of your marketing efforts. It would be best if you went through the normal channels of social media, press releases, and asking every employer participating in the event to do the same. Use emails and text messaging when possible to increase engagement. A good idea is to invite the local media. Offer them a free booth at your event to promote any positions they might have. It might very well help garner media coverage of your event, and they will also benefit.
Day of Event – Make sure that all recruiters are logged in before the event start. Usually, the most considerable amount of visits will happen at the beginning of the event. You will want to be prepared to handle as many questions or video meetings from job seekers as you can so that you don’t miss any opportunities to hire a star player that gets there early and wants to impress you the most!
5. What is the best virtual career fair platform?
The answer is easy; Premier Virtual has proven to be the best-in-class for many reasons, including some already mentioned in his article. Despite winning awards and the accolades from so many customers (their platform has powered over 1,500 career fairs, connecting nearly 20,000 employers to over 200,000 registered job seekers!), they continue to improve the platform. While there are lots of options out there, Premier Virtual is dedicated to career fairs which gives them a unique advantage over platforms that are not. The founder and CEO of Premier Virtual, Steve Edwards, is a former recruiter who put on in-person events for nearly 9 years. Steve took all of those experiences, both good and bad, and poured it into developing this platform to make it the best possible option for virtual career fairs.
In May of 2021, Premier Virtual is launching version 2.0 with enhanced analytics, real-time reporting, additional custom options, and so much more – all while keeping the platform easy to use to ensure the best possible user experience. Their team is 100% based in the U.S. and their customer service is second to none. Their reliability has also proven itself time and again. In fact, a recent statewide career fair in Virginia had 350 employers and over 15,000 job candidates on the platform at the same time with zero downtime! Ultimately your virtual event will only be as good as the platform it is on. If you have disruptions or downtime the consequences can mean you lose out on a great new hire, and that is a costly consequence.
If you haven’t done so already, make sure to schedule a free demo at www.PremierVirtual.com and see for yourself. The platform you choose will significantly impact the success of your event.

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Can I use Video Conferencing Software to Power My Virtual Career Fair?

You won’t have trouble finding great video conferencing programs on the market. Let’s face it, without programs like Zoom, this entire pandemic would have been a much more difficult landscape to navigate.  However, when it comes to virtual events, there are advantages to using a dedicated event platform like Premier Virtual.

Ultimately, whether or not you can use a video conferencing program to power your virtual career fairs depends on your needs.  If you’re an employer with just a few job openings, you may want to host a virtual career fair to attract more candidates and gain exposure while doing so.  In that case, a video conferencing program like Zoom can be a perfectly acceptable option.

However, if you’re hosting a career fair with multiple employers or your organization has dozens of job openings with locations throughout the state or country, your needs will far outweigh the features that video conferencing programs can offer for a successful event.

Essentially, video conferencing is just one element in a virtual career fair.  While some of these programs offer additional features like chat and breakout rooms, they don’t include the unique features offered by virtual event platforms that will increase your event’s ability to mirror in-person events.

In the Premier Virtual platform, recruiters can review resumes well before ever speaking with a candidate.  They can also view pre-recorded video resumes.  If the employer feels it might be a good fit, they can enter into a one-on-one chat or invite the candidate into an interview using the integrated video feature.  These features make it possible for recruiters to engage with more than one candidate simultaneously, increasing effectiveness and efficiency.

It’s also important to note that this is not a group chat that everyone else in the room can read.  In the Premier Virtual platform, the job candidate’s communication is always ‘one-on-one,’ securing both parties’ privacy.  The Premier Virtual platform also has a ‘smart-chat’ feature that follows the candidate throughout the event.  This feature allows the candidate to start a chat and continue with the event without having to wait in a long queue or for a response from a recruiter that might be busy at the time.  Whenever the recruiter is available and responds, the candidate will receive the chat message and continue the conversation.

This process is much more cumbersome with video conferencing.  The host or employer would have to schedule an interview with the candidate ahead of time, or the recruiter has to ask that candidate to leave the main group and enter into a ‘breakout’ room.

There are many other advantages to using an event platform.  For example, if you have multiple employers, you can customize the lobby so that each company has its hiring booth, complete with logo, bio, job openings, social media and website links, as well as downloadable PDFs.  Everything you need to replicate an in-person event.  Not to mention the robust reporting that employers receive before, during, and after the event that makes follow-up much more effective.

Event platforms also allow you to scale very quickly without needing additional upgrades or bandwidth.  For example, a recent statewide career fair in Virginia had 350 employers with thousands of job openings that attracted over 15,000 job applicants.  Those are numbers that could never be replicated in person or managed properly using video conferencing software.

Monetizing Your Career Fair

One key advantage is the ability to use our virtual platform to monetize your events.  During Covid-19, many chambers of commerce organizations and event organizers in general, have had significant setbacks due to CDC guidelines for in-person events. Using a virtual event platform like ours allows you to easily monetize events by selling booths and securing sponsorships just like you would in a live event.

The bottom line is if you’re managing hundreds of employers, thousands of jobs, and tens of thousands of job candidates, it is simply beyond the capacity of video-conferencing platforms.  When it comes down to virtual career fairs, choosing a virtual event platform that is dedicated to powering them like Premier Virtual is the wise business decision.

If you’d like to learn more about the Premier Virtual event platform, please visit www.PremierVirtual.com for a free demo.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Top 10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Virtual Career Fair Platform

Top 10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Virtual Career Fair Platform

An effective virtual event platform is first and foremost, easy to use, at all levels.  The participants need to have little to no learning curve, resulting in a positive user experience.  It’s equally important for the host and other participating organizations or vendors to be able to quickly ramp up, which requires excellent support and a knowledgeable sales team.

With this in mind, all of your questions ultimately should address whether or not the features make the event easier to set up and use.  After all, even the best technology is useless unless it makes sense to everyone.

Some platforms focus more on certain types of events than others.  For example, if you have a trade show or a career fair, some platforms will offer more features and benefits because they specialize in such events. For this article, we will focus on platforms that specialize in virtual career fairs.

1) How will my recruiters or hiring companies communicate with the candidates?

The best platforms offer easy-to-access chat features that allow candidates to initiate a conversation with the recruiters. Also, there should be an integrated video chat, as well as an option to add whichever video platform your company already uses.  This is important in the case of government agencies that may have firewalls or restrictions that do not allow for third-party teleconferencing access.  You don’t want to be troubleshooting that the day of the event.

In addition, it’s important to understand if the chat is one-on-one or group chat.  The best platforms offer one-on-one chat with the ability for the recruiter to quickly access a list of pre-programmed answers to be able to chat with as many applicants as possible.  Finally, advanced chats will follow a candidate throughout the event, meaning the job candidate doesn’t have to wait in that recruiter’s booth (or in the queue) to receive an answer before moving on.  At any time when the recruiter answers, the candidate will receive that answer in their chatbox.

2) What happens if the candidate or hiring company has an issue registering or during the event?

For the job candidates, registering for the event includes adding all of the contact info, uploading their resumes, and so on. This should be as easy to navigate as possible.  Make sure to ask for a demo to see how this process works since many of the issues reported during the event revolve around user login, and uploading information.  This holds true for the hiring companies that want to customize their booths, adding bios, links, and downloadable documents.  With any issue, the best platforms offer 24/7 support and quickly respond to requests through either email, chat or even live calls.

3) How many recruiters can participate at the same time?

The best platforms offer an unlimited number of recruiters to participate. Typically events receive a large amount of foot traffic as soon as they start, so having extra recruiters at the start of the event is a good strategy.   Each recruiter must understand how to access their admin dashboard and how to chat with a candidate or invite them into a video interview.

4) Do you offer training?

This leads to the next question…how will the host, hiring companies, and candidates be trained to use the platform? Again, the most important feature is ease-of-use, but when it’s a user’s first time, there will be some getting used to it.  All platforms should offer a library of detailed training videos for each type of participant.  These videos should be readily accessible as soon as the participant registers. Also, the best platforms offer a dedicated account manager that will schedule an onboarding call to show you exactly how the platform works, and make sure everyone on your team is ready.  Beyond that, you can ask if they offer any other live webinar or group training options for your employers or registered job candidates, that are helpful the day of the event, usually just before it goes live.

5) How quickly can I set up and launch my event?

If you have an urgent need, you’ll want to know how quickly you can start using the platform. Premium providers make it easy for you to set-up, so that you can host your first event literally within 24 hours. This flexibility can save you in a pinch, but as with any successful event, you will want sufficient time to promote and get everyone trained ahead of time.

6) Is pricing based on the number of booths or resumes?

This is a very important question since some of the best-known platforms do have charges for booths or resumes that exceed a certain threshold. Your initial price may be based on 100 booths or resumes, and if you go beyond that you are charged accordingly.  This can be prohibitive and results in charges you did not budget for.  The best platforms offer a flat rate price, with no upcharges. Pricing can also be discounted when you sign up for yearly, or multi-year licenses that are paid upfront.  Keep in mind, the more you use the platform the more value it offers, and the less you pay per event on a flat-rate/licensing model.

7) What kind of reports will I receive?

The data collected and reports you receive, offer some of the biggest benefits of participating in a virtual career fair. Your employers or hiring managers will love it when they receive a complete list of who attended the event, who visited their booth, a copy of all the questions asked, and of course, all of the resumes submitted.  The best platforms offer real-time reports that update as the event goes on, and some have integrated APIs that automatically move that data to your existing CRM tool. You can also ask if there are reporting tools such as ‘ranking a candidate’ or other ways to make notes during the event which are very helpful to improve the follow-up process.

8) How many people can be on the platform at the same time?

The reliability or stability of a platform is ultimately the most important factor. If the platform crashes or lags, it will interrupt the event, causing candidates to leave or have a poor experience.  Make sure to ask if the platform you are considering has had any issues like this, or you can check their reviews on reputable sites like G2, Capterra, and Select Software to see what others have said.  Premier Virtual recently powered an event for the workforce board in Virginia that saw over 15,000 job candidates and over 350 employers on the platform at the same time, with no downtime! That’s the kind of reliability you want to know your platform will provide.

9) Can I use the platform for other types of events or purposes?

It’s amazing once you have this tool, how many other purposes you can use it for. Make sure to discuss with your sales rep all of the different possibilities including things like; internal training, onboarding, webinars, trade shows, etc, and see how the platform can be adapted to handle these requests.  Once you start using the platform for other purposes you add more value, reducing your cost per event and increasing the return on your investment.

10) Is there a wait time between events, or can I host unlimited events?

Finally, make sure to ask if the use of the platform is truly unlimited when you license it. Some platforms require you to wait up to 14 days between events which can limit your options.  The best platforms do not require any wait time between events and believe me, you will want to use the platform as much as possible once you have it!

If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us to schedule a free demo so we can address any other needs you may have.

How to Successfully Host & Market a Virtual Career Fair

Premier Virtual has powered more than 1,000 virtual hiring events in less than 1 year! Let us show you how you can host your own event.

About this webinar: 

Regardless of the challenges Covid-19 poses, virtual hiring events have proven much more effective and efficient than their in-person counterparts.

In this webinar Premier Virtual CEO, Steve Edwards and a round-table panel of current clients will discuss the best practices for hosting and marketing your event.

These clients all have multiple successful events under their belt and their experience is invaluable. The panel will also be answering any questions from attendees. As we confirm our panelists, we will update the list here.

Premier Virtual has powered more than 1,000 virtual hiring events in less than 1 year. These events have helped more than 10,000 employers fill critical positions from over 100,000 registered job-candidates that attended.

We look forward to your participation, click here to register for free. 

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