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The ultimate guide to navigating virtual career fairs

The rise of remote work has also spawned the virtual career fair. Learn how to navigate two types of virtual career fairs as an applicant or an employer.

Remote work is flourishing, and it is here to stay. As the workplace has moved online, hiring events have followed. As an employee or employer, how can you keep up with the virtual career fair trend?

First, we’ll examine the pros and cons of virtual and in-person career fairs. Then, we’ll look at the two main types of virtual career fairs. Finally, we’ll help you get the most out of them, whether you are an employer or a job candidate.

Check out this article for further information

Virtual career fairs vs. in-person events

A career fair, job fair, or career expo is “a recruiting event in which employers and recruiters meet with potential employees and where job seekers find more about job openings at potential employers.” Picture room filled with tables and booths for each company or different departments within a company.

Both virtual and in-person career fairs are informative and offer opportunities for job interviews. The advantages of virtual career fairs include reduced expenses (no need to rent a hall) and the removal of geographic restrictions (you can recruit talent from anywhere in the world rather than just locally).

Types of virtual career fairs

Career fairs may feature many companies or just one large company. How they are hosted online also falls into one of two categories.

Video conferencing

Some fairs use video conferencing software such as Zoom. These may allow applicants to listen to informative presentations, ask questions, and break away into private channels for on-the-spot job interviews.

Immersive career fairs

Immersive career fairs are meant to mirror the traditional in-person job fair experience. These feature a “lobby” with avatars walking around and customizable “booths” that participants can visit.

Getting a job at a virtual career fair

The first step is finding a virtual career fair. Look for bulletins at your school or job placement office. You can also check online listings like this one.

Next, prepare for the online hiring event. Research the company or companies involved. Read over your resume and update it. Craft and rehearse a short “elevator pitch” you will use to introduce yourself.

Use good etiquette during the interview. Be careful not to talk over the interviewer, and look directly at the camera. Don’t get distracted by your surroundings. Make sure the room is tidy and that pets, children, and other family members will not interrupt.

Even though you’re attending from the comfort of your own home, don’t stay in your pajamas. Dress professionally, style your hair, and put on your makeup. You want to be ready to turn on your camera for an on-the-spot interview via video conferencing.

Pro tip: Wear a button-down shirt, blazer, suit, or dress – complete with pants or a skirt that you would wear to the office. Too many times, video conferencing users have been embarrassed when they didn’t fully dress beforehand, assuming they would only be viewed from the waist up.

Using virtual career fairs as an employer

Virtual career fairs mirror the in-person hiring events you may have been involved in in the past. Your company size and budget can help determine the type of career fair that is right for you.

Small companies

Small companies may opt for less expensive video conferencing options. In fact, many companies may already subscribe to video conferencing services for internal use.

Preparing for a video conferencing career fair will involve scripting informative presentations, having one or more hiring managers on hand to conduct interviews, advertising the event, and utilizing skilled staff to handle the technical aspects.

Alternatively, small companies may be able to join immersive multi-company online job fairs. These fairs often cater to a specific employee demographic, such as students in STEM or disabled workers.

Large companies

Large companies with many positions to fill across multiple departments might opt for an exclusive, immersive online career fair. There are many companies that offer virtual career fair platforms.

The expense for this type of event is about half that of a live, in-person career fair – around $15,000 USD as opposed to $30,000 by one estimate. But extensive planning is still required. Your platform will walk you through customizing the appearance of the career fair, setting up booths, and other technicalities.

Key takeaways

  • Just like remote work, virtual job fairs are here to stay as part of the employment landscape.
  • Like in-person hiring events, virtual career fairs allow job seekers to learn about openings and interview for positions.
  • Virtual career fairs are typically cheaper than in-person events and allow employers to draw from a larger pool of talent, not bounded by geographic restrictions.
  • Simple events may be structured around video conferencing software such as Zoom.
  • Platforms also offer completely immersive online events with participant avatars, lobbies, rooms, and booths.
  • Get the most out of your virtual event by preparing for it as you would an in-person event.

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