According to ON24, the global leader in webcasting and virtual event solutions, one of the fastest growing applications for virtual event technologies is the virtual career fair. The total number of virtual job fairs produced on the ON24 platform doubled in 2011 over 2010 totals. In addition, the virtual job fairs attracted the largest audiences.
“While the top application for ON24’s virtual event platform remains marketing and demand generation, the growing acceptance of the virtual career fair alternative has been dramatic,” said ON24 CMO Denise Persson. She attributes this to economic factors and the inefficiencies of traditional recruiting methods.
Despite the improving economy, unemployment remains an issue for most companies, she explained. “But even companies that are hiring have trouble finding qualified candidates. Traditional techniques aren’t effective or efficient in a global economy, yet their costs are high. Employers need a larger talent pool from which to draw and assistance matching open positions with available candidates. The solution is the virtual job fair.”
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Benefits of virtual job fairs include cost-effective, faster recruiting and greater reach. Employers can also offer downloadable materials and conduct “mini-interviews” on the spot within the ON24 environment. Examples include:
IBM held an internal virtual job fair to recruit employees for opportunities in a rapidly growing market, Africa. Targeting the 19,000 IBM employees with connections to Africa, IBM Recruiting sponsored a job fair featuring information about career opportunities and access to relocation experts. Close to 1,000 candidates were identified, and IBM has raised overall awareness of job opportunities in Africa.
SAE International is a global association of more than 128,000 engineers and related technical experts in the aerospace, automotive and commercial-vehicle industries. SAE uses the ON24 platform for its virtual career fairs, online events that successfully, efficiently and affordably connect hundreds of job seekers with hiring companies in the mobility industry.
There are many benefits for job seekers as well. A virtual career fair can shorten the time needed to find a job and also provide instant access to thousands of open positions. “This sort of experience just can’t be duplicated at a traditional job fair,” Persson said. Other benefits for candidates include:
Virtual career fairs provide both candidates and employers with a convenient way to connect – reducing the time and costs associated with traditional career events. Job seekers also have opportunities to quickly and efficiently interact with professional recruiters from multiple hiring companies in the online venue. “Both job seekers and hiring companies find that the virtual environment provided by ON24 is a great place to meet, connect and communicate. It is a fast and engaging process that saves everyone time and money,” Persson explained.
Below are some insightful tips from ON24 on actions made during a virtual career fair:
1. Do you use emoticons or Internet abbreviations? – While several of us type “OMG” or “J” online, these shortcuts may not be appropriate for online interviews conducted over chat. A good rule of thumb is to avoid abbreviations and slang during the interviews. Recruiters tell ON24 that job seekers need to take every communication during a virtual show seriously.
2. Browse before sending your resume – Several companies participating in virtual career fairs tell ON24 that the resumes they receive are often too broad and not specific to positions that are posted. Instead of blanketing every booth with your resume, you may consider looking at the jobs first and tailoring your resume to
for the positions that most interest you – something you can’t do at a physical job fair.
3. Wear a nice shirt and clean up your home office – While many people think they can attend a virtual show in their pajamas, a good conversation with a recruiter can lead to a Skype conversation in minutes. Job seekers who don’t want to lose momentum should make sure they are wearing a nice shirt (avoid white and patterns, which don’t look good on webcams, in favor of blues and greens). Also, since Skype conversations usually capture the background behind you, make sure it’s clean and professional.
4. Check your social media sites – While most job seekers have their resumes ready, they need to know that during a virtual career fair things happen quickly. So, if recruiters start chatting with you during the show, they may also be looking at your LinkedIn profile – as well as your Facebook or Twitter postings. Make sure your professional details are updated and anything embarrassing on Facebook is hidden from public view.
5. Relax (but not too much) – A virtual career fair provides job hunters with the opportunity to explore employment opportunities in a more relaxed way, without the anxiety and feelings of intimidation that often accompany face-to-face interviews. While confidence is a good thing, prospective employers report that candidates are often more candid within a virtual job fair than they are in person. Resist the inclination to be TOO relaxed. Set some clear goals before attending a virtual job fair, and prepare for the questions you’re likely to hear. Jot down your answers and keep them in front of you; after all, unlike an in-person interview, you can refer to your notes while you’re chatting with employers online. Remember, these employers will be interacting with hundreds, if not thousands, of candidates, so whatever you can say or do to make yourself stand out in a positive way to hiring managers will help you.