In-person career events can serve a valuable purpose. But often, hiring managers and recruiters will allocate significant resources or spend hours setting up an event space, only to spend the day engaging in lukewarm conversations with half-interested prospective candidates.
A staggering 97.6% of workers report they would be happier working remotely, at least some of the time, and for the rest of their careers. Could the rise of the virtual hiring event also cater well to today’s workforce and result in a better return on investment?
What is a virtual hiring event?
A virtual hiring event is an online event designed to connect job-seekers with recruiters and hiring managers.
Candidates have the opportunity to network with company representatives, learn about job openings, and submit their resumes to prospective employers. For hiring organizations, it’s a chance to connect with and market their company to a diverse range of top talent.
Virtual recruiting events come in all different shapes and sizes but can include:
Virtual Career Fairs
Typically targeted at graduates, a virtual recruitment fair enables junior candidates to network and engage with several prospective employers at a single event. At a virtual career fair, attendees may be asked to create an online profile ahead of the event. They will have the opportunity to connect with hiring managers via an online platform. Brochures, leaflets, and other resources from hiring organizations will be made available for download after the event.
Virtual Career Days
Some organizations opt to host career days of their own as a way to identify top candidates, collect resumes, and market their brand to prospective talent. Attendees will learn more about the employer, hear from existing employees and engage with the hiring manager(s).
Webinars are a less interactive form of virtual hiring event but a great way for hiring managers to reach a wide range of candidates. It’s another good way for organizations to market themselves and showcase the best aspects of their workplace culture.
Virtual professional development events
For job seekers, professional development is a top priority. Virtual professional development events, including masterclasses, seminars, and training sessions, can help employers attract qualified candidates invested in learning new skills or honing their existing ones.
What are the benefits of a virtual recruit event?
Virtual hiring events are associated with many benefits. For starters, they present fewer logistical challenges than in-person events. There’s no requirement for hiring organizations to spend time, money, and effort setting up a booth in an echoey exhibition hall. At the same time, candidates won’t be expected to travel across the country to reap the benefits. As a result, virtual events can target a larger geographical area, broaden your talent pipeline, and attract a diverse range of talent.
Virtual career events also enable a highly personalized approach to recruitment. For example, an event could focus on attracting war veterans, women in tech, or members of the LGBTQ+ community.
How to host a virtual hiring event
Virtual job fairs and recruiting events might seem like an easy win for hiring organizations, but they require careful planning and good execution.
The following six tips will help you to organize a successful virtual hiring event.
1. Choose your platform carefully
You know that collective feeling of frustration when a video conferencing platform malfunctions or the signal cuts out mid-meeting? Now imagine that happening during a virtual recruitment event with dozens of candidates in attendance. Safe to say it won’t reflect well on your brand.
If you’re hosting a virtual event, you’ll need to invest in an interactive solution that best meets your needs. You’ll want to communicate with ease, keep candidates engaged, and be able to measure the impact and ROI of your event.
Different solutions offer different packages, which might include networking tools, virtual stands, break-out chat rooms, video interviews, workshops, or panel discussions. Make sure you decide where your priorities lie and do your research before committing to a solution. The bigger the event you’re planning, the more important it is to invest in a reliable platform.
2. Plan ahead
At in-person recruitment events, you can depend somewhat on serendipitous encounters and authentic interactions. You might strike up an interesting conversation in the queue for coffee or attract candidates to your stand with a beaming smile and a free branded notebook.
At virtual events, you’ll need to work a little bit harder to structure the day, build relationships, and keep your attendees engaged – and that means lots of forward planning.
Firstly, you’ll need to decide on your objectives – what kind of candidates are you trying to attract, and what do you want them to take away from your event? Is your priority to collect as many resumes as possible, position your brand as a leading employer for diversity and inclusion initiatives, find talent with a specific skill set, or give unique insights into your workplace’s culture?
Once you’ve laid out your goals, you’ll need to consider how best to cater to your attendees. How many people are expected to attend, and what is your maximum capacity? Will you structure the day around a few different group sessions or encourage people to sign up for focus groups? How will attendees reach out to the people they most want to engage with?
Next, you’ll need to think about your budget. How much will the event software cost, and will you try to get sponsorship?
Finally, you’ll need to decide what information and content you’ll share with candidates after the event. For example, you could create e-brochures detailing job openings at your organization or make presentations available for download.
3. Streamline the sign-up process
A long, drawn-out sign-up process for your virtual hiring event is a sure-fire way to deter curious candidates.
Yes, you want to collect relevant information about your attendees so you can follow up after the event and build out your talent pool. But at the same time, you don’t want to put them off at the first hurdle.
Registration for your event should be quick and simple. Think about the details you really need to know and stick to that. The time to demand resumes and cover letters or send out complex questionnaires will come once you’ve wowed candidates at your event and left them feeling eager to come and work for you.
4. Make your event stand out
No one wants to sign up for a virtual event that involves being lectured by your company’s CEO for two hours about how fantastic it is to work for their organization. Unleash your creative side to plan fun, engaging, and memorable sessions for your attendees. Some virtual recruiting event ideas include:
Lots of platforms provide the option for you to customize a virtual stand. You’ll be able to leverage eye-catching imagery, engaging video content, and link-outs to relevant content to communicate with your attendees.
Live chat features
Attendees will feel much more engaged if they can ask questions and share feedback in real-time with your speakers. This is particularly important if you’re running a panel discussion or workshop.
Job application features
There’s no time like the present. If your number one aim is to recruit talent for specific roles, why not provide the means for them to do so at the event. You could go one step further and invite committed candidates to have one-to-one chats with a hiring manager in a virtual breakout room.
Ask Me Anything (AMA)
An AMA session invites attendees to ask your employees any questions they want. They might be interested in finding out more about employee benefits, workplace culture, or what a specific role will entail. Encourage your employees to answer openly to establish trust with candidates and demonstrate your organization’s commitment to transparency and honesty.
A fireside chat is an engaging way to communicate information. For example, you could ask a junior employee to interview one of your senior leaders.
Virtual office tour
You could add a more personal touch to your event by providing candidates with an exclusive office tour. Show them your meeting rooms, where they would be likely to socialize with their colleagues and the best place to get a sandwich in the local area.
Virtual happy hours/coffee mornings
There’s nothing people love more than a freebie. Unfortunately, at a virtual hiring event, you won’t simply be able to hand out branded merchandise to anyone and everyone that passes by your stand. Instead, consider sending out a gift card to each of your attendees to buy a cocktail, a coffee, or a slice of cake and join you for a fun and low-pressure virtual networking event.
5. Market your event
If you want to attract the right type of candidate to your event, think carefully about how to market it.
You’ll need a virtual event page and a good social media campaign to raise awareness and drive sign-ups. Make sure you also encourage your existing employees to promote the event to their close connections and social media networks.
Don’t forget to send out a reminder email shortly before the event to everyone who has registered to boost your attendance rate. You don’t want all of your hard work to have been in vain.
6. Follow up with your attendees
You’ve probably made a great deal of effort to build out your talent pool and make new connections – so you mustn’t let them slip away. Be sure to follow up at least once after the event, thank your attendees for coming, provide any relevant information, and invite them to apply for a job opening or attend future events.
Vervoe’s remote interview software is designed to help you make great hires that optimize your remote work team.