Career fairs have been a go-to for high-volume hiring for decades. In the past decade, we’ve seen an increase in online marketing that allows us to reach candidates through targeted online campaigns. Some companies have dipped a toe into the virtual space for events, but prefer an in-person format. In the current marketplace, in-person events have been impacted due to restrictions related to the spread of coronavirus. This doesn’t mean you have to put your hiring events on hold though. With online hiring events, you can reach many qualified candidates at once and maintain an active hiring funnel even when you can’t meet candidates in person.
Online Hiring Events
A virtual career fair, or online hiring event, takes place at a certain time on a specific channel. During the session, which works similarly to how webinars are structured, recruiters and job seekers meet in a virtual space via chat rooms, teleconferencing, webcasts, and/or text and email to exchange information about job postings.
Recruiters that hire at a high-volume typically approach hiring with a combination of online and print advertising, as well as through on-site applicant walk-in hours or after-hours events. Considering that many candidates are passive and already work 40 hours a week, digital engagement is what works for a talent marketplace where we’re competing for workers. Online hiring events allow you to scale your recruiting efforts by holding multiple online events, segmenting the events by position, or even geographically reaching a candidate audience that is in the process of moving within driving distance of your location.
Related: How to Promote a Hiring Event
How Online Hiring Events Work
Since the goal of your hiring event is to get “face-time” with potential employees, there are a lot of ways you can approach this, but each has one thing in common: A first impression of your company that showcases your employer brand through your recruiting team as representatives of your company, standing by and available to respond in real time. It’s crucial to communicate these events across your locations and involve your hiring managers in the events. This is going to be the reason why curious candidates move into your talent funnel from awareness to consideration, and the more they know about your open positions and benefits, converting them to applicants in a short period of time.
For online hiring events, you’ll want to ensure that you’re optimizing the event for mobile. Many technology companies offer hosting platforms for webinars and chat, and these can be used for an event-specific hosted job fair. You can also set it up via any webinar platform that allows you to present to a group of registered attendees. Using the presentation model, you can then have recruiters “manning your booth” (chat) online, answer candidate questions for a general audience, but also move the conversations into another channel for a one-on-one virtual interview.
Check out these companies who offer event hosting platforms:
Pro Tip: Check with your Applicant Tracking System (ATS), as they may have an events hosting platform feature included as part of their solution.
Now that you’re ready to host your online hiring event, here are some things to consider:
Test your platform before you set up registration
You’ll want to stage a “mock” hiring event with the technology you’re using before you can promote your event. Nothing is worse than finding out at the worst possible moment that your attendees can’t see/hear/communicate when you’re holding your event.
Provide information via email or text message upon registration
That gives attendees alternate ways to communicate with your team in case they have technological issues. It’s helpful to offer a method of communication to attendees that might have to skip the event at the last minute.
Start small, then scale
Once you’ve tested your online hiring event with a small set of candidates, say 10-20 attendees based on a 30-50 registration, have a “post mortem” with your recruiting team and find out what worked, what didn’t, and what you can do better the next time with a larger audience.
Targeting Candidates for Your Online Hiring Event
This is another advantage of the online hiring event. You can use online ads and other tools to reach candidates with your event information. The more highly targeted your campaign is, the more likely you are to reach the right talent your company is looking for and make hires fast.
Your registration can be set up to prequalify only the talent you are targeting – those with specific experience – and then invite them to your event. This means that, unlike an in-person hiring event, you won’t have to deal with turning away people at the door because you can pre-qualify registrants who provide resume and qualification information before the event. You can even segment these events to candidates who are currently working for your competitors (useful if your company’s benefits, perks, and salaries are a good reason for a passive candidate to leave their current employer) so you can specifically highlight what makes your company different and better.
Defining Success for Your Online Hiring Event
Finally, when you’ve identified what format works for your online hiring events, this is where you decide what to scale. Once you’ve tested with a small set of candidates, say 30-50 attendees based on a 70-100 registration, have a “post mortem” with your HR team and find out what worked, what didn’t, and what you can do better the next time with a larger audience. Could you bring in more hiring managers? Present industry-related content with value for your attendees (even if they don’t apply, they’ll remember you)? Expand your targeting outside of your geographic area? All of this depends on the success of the first few events, the number of registrations (impacted primarily by targeting and reach), the number of attendees (impacted primarily by campaign) and the number of applicants (primarily impacted by the quality and format of your event). Use the data, make the necessary adjustments, and immediately kick off the next event.
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