The pandemic taught us something: To be innovative and to think outside the box. This applies to all we do: From family zoom calls to family gatherings; attending concerts in person to streaming them live; following sports with fans to digital fans; eating in packed restaurants to eating outside with socially distant others; and many more. Every thing we used to do has been altered in some way. Businesses are the same. Businesses need to reinvent old strategies that worked in the past. This mix includes job fairs.
You don’t have to go to job fairs anymore. How can staffing firms transform the traditional job fair into something virtual, while still getting their bang for their buck? These are 8 tips to make your virtual job fair a success.
1. Be a part of it
Avoid the misconception that a virtual job fair is less effective than an in-person one. If you have the right resources, and are committed to it, a virtual job fair can be as effective as an in-person event. You shouldn’t be afraid to invest in resources even though it’s virtual. You must commit to obtaining the resources necessary to make the event a success.
2. Find the right platform
First, decide what your goals and format are for your job fair. Are you going to hold one session per hour or will you have breakout rooms? Are you looking to host a webinar on a standard platform? Or do you prefer a platform that allows you to network, have booth time, and allow you to hold multiple sessions at once? The virtual platform you use for your fair will affect all of these aspects.
You can host one session per webinar platform, such as GoToWebinar(r), and let candidates jump on to the sessions that interest them. Each client can host a session to talk about their company and the positions they are seeking. Candidates can ask questions at the end of each session. Although this format is less intimate it allows clients to market their companies to candidates and candidates to get to know your clients. This format is best if the job fair’s goal is to provide information.
You might consider a different format if you want to host a job fair that is interactive and allows candidates the opportunity to speak with clients. Zoom(r) allows for breakout sessions. While you can still hold sessions with all attendees and incorporate breakout rooms, it is possible to also have sessions that are open to the public. Each client can have their own breakout area that allows candidates to access the rooms they are most interested in. Candidates can ask questions and have a one-on-one conversation with their employer. It may not be one-on-one conversations depending on how many candidates choose to meet in a particular breakout room. However, it will allow for more intimate conversations than holding one large session.
There are many platforms that offer more options if you’re looking to do even more. A platform I recently used had virtual booths, one-on-one networking, and sessions for all participants. This is a great way to make a bigger investment in your virtual fair. Clients can create their own virtual booth with their branding. Candidates can then visit their booth to have one-on-one video conversations with clients. Each booth had a button to register interest on the platform that I used. If a candidate is interested in a job with the client, they will be able to select a button to say that they are interested. Clients will still be able to give a presentation at a session, but they will also have the option of having a virtual booth that candidates can visit. If this interests you, there are many platforms that offer similar amenities.
There is no one right or wrong platform for job fairs. However, it is important to find the best platform that meets your needs.
3. Organize a Strong Program
After the format has been finalized, you can put together the agenda and program. How many clients are you inviting to the event? Each client will be allowed to present a presentation. Is there a keynote presentation? Are there any workshops for the candidates? Is there a happy hour/networking at the end of the event? It is important to organize a strong, attractive program. You want it to be an event people love to attend. How do you achieve this?
Consider whether you will hold one job fair that covers all industries or if each sector will be represented at a different job fair. It might be a good idea to have separate job fairs for different industries if your staffing company works in multiple industries. Candidates and clients will find it more appealing to attend a niche-specific job fair.
Next, you need to decide which clients will be invited. If you’re a small staffing agency, you may not be able invite all your clients. Find out which clients have lots of job orders, invite your key clients and invite them to participate. Invite clients you know would be interested, and invite candidates who are open to talking to you. Potential clients can also be invited to the job fair. Invite potential clients to the job fair if you have some “hot” prospects that you want to do business with. They might meet a candidate that they like and want to do business with.
The agenda is important as well as lining up clients who are available to participate. The agenda will determine whether the focus of the event is client/candidate interaction or if other programs will be included. A motivational speaker or workshop session could be a way to attract more candidates. Candidates will be more likely to attend if they are provided with value. These sessions can be sponsored by clients. They will be more visible and appreciate the opportunity to sponsor it. It’s a win-win situation!
4. Promote and market the event for success
After the clients have been chosen and the agenda has been prepared, it is time to market the event to potential candidates. You want to attract qualified candidates to your event.
Before you start marketing, consider the graphics that will be used for promotion of the event through your marketing channels. Consider outsourcing graphics to professional graphic designers if your staffing company does not have an in-house design team. Marketing graphics can make a big difference. Graphics that look dull or unprofessional will not attract the right people, or even anyone, and may be rejected by the audience. Your event will attract more qualified candidates if your marketing graphics are professional and convey the message that it’s a “must-attend” job fair.