Keeping It Real: Are Virtual Career Fairs the Wave of the Future?
A thousand times over, we’ve heard that Generation Y is like no generation before them. By now it’s accepted as fact, so common sense tells those in the field of recruitment that certain methods need to be altered to accommodate the needs and interests of this new generation of workers. A few things are said to be true of Millennials that affect the recruitment process:
- They are multi-taskers, easily distracted, with a need for instant gratification
- They are technology driven
- They prefer electronic communication over face-to-face interactions
- They are not fans of dress codes or formal dress in general
- They are not about wasting time or energy on something that will not produce results for them, i.e. “What will I gain from this?”
Combine those “facts” together and you begin to understand how the idea of virtual career fairs was formed. Immediate results, no suits, less interaction, less stress. Virtual career fairs are a way for candidates to promote themselves online to a number of employers at one time. Most fairs are set up kind of like an online map, where users can view each employer booth, click on those they are interested in, download their resume and chat with representatives on the spot.
Virtual career fairs are popping up all over the place and are sponsored by more than just college campuses. Job boards like Careerbuilder and large employers have started to test the waters of this concept and a few sites online have begun to offer services aiding in setting up virtual career fairs.
There are different services are available for employers wishing to sponsor a fair or join a fair that is already been organized. Whether you decide to hold your own or participate in another, there a few key points to consider in order to choose the right venue. First, consider your target audience. Understand what sites good candidates from your target pool will be most likely visit and/or whether or not the fair you sign up with will be promoted to the best and the brightest. Second, use the virtual fair as a supplement to current practices. Don’t trade in virtual reality for the normal hiring process.
Virtual career fairs are not the most popular form of recruitment, but some day they may be. The advantage of reaching candidates across the globe, the ability to assess applicants that are too nervous to approach an employer’s booth in person, and the convenience of virtual fairs make them a trend that could replace traditional career fairs as we know them. They are green too. Think of all the paper saved from resumes. Consider the gas saved from not flying representatives to fair locations (and related travel expenditures as well!). Virtual fairs appeal to all the right sense as they are cost-effective, environmentally-friendly, and efficient.
Traci K. is an HR Professional and freelance writer based in the Midwest, specializing in recruitment and immigration. When she’s not improving unemployment, she keeps busy with her husband and four children.