8 Tips for Making Your Virtual Job Fair A Success

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s the need to be creative and think outside of the box. Really this applies to everything we do now: From turning family gatherings to family zoom calls; attending in-person concerts to streaming concerts live; watching sports with fans to watching sports with digital fans; eating at packed restaurants to eating outside and socially distanced from others; and more. Everything that we were used to doing has been modified in some way. The same thing has applied to businesses. Traditional strategies that have worked in the past, have to be reinvented. Job fairs are a part of this mix.

Whether you are used to attending job fairs or holding your own, they now have to be virtually reinvented. So how can staffing companies transform the traditional job fair into a virtual one, but still get their bang for the buck? Here are 8 tips for making your virtual job fair a success.

1. Commit to It

Before you begin planning your virtual job fair, avoid the demeanor that it won’t be as good as an in-person event. A virtual job fair can be just as effective (perhaps even better) as long as you have the right resources and are fully committed to it. Don’t hold back on investing in resources just because it’s a virtual event. Commit to getting the resources needed to make the event a success.

2. Find the Right Platform

In order to select the right platform, first decide on the goals and format of your job fair. Do you plan to keep it simple and hold one session at a time or do you plan to have breakout rooms? Do you want to use a standard webinar platform or do you want to use a platform that allows for networking, booth time, the ability to hold more than one session at a time, etc.? All of these factors will depend on the virtual platform used for your fair.

If a webinar platform is used, such as GoToWebinar®, you can hold one session at a time and allow candidates to hop on for the sessions they are interested in attending. Each of the clients participating in the job fair can hold a session and talk about their company, positions they are looking to fill, and ideal candidates for these positions. At the end of each session, time can then be allocated for candidates to ask questions. This format is less intimate, but it allows clients to promote their company to candidates and allows candidates to learn about your clients. If the goal of the job fair is to be informative, then this format could work well.

If you are looking to hold a job fair that is more interactive and allows candidates to talk with clients, then you might want to look at doing a different format. Some webinar platforms, such as Zoom®, allow for breakout sessions. You could still have sessions with all attendees, but also incorporate breakout rooms. Each of your clients participating can have their own breakout room that allows for candidates to hop into the rooms they are interested in. This gives candidates the opportunity to ask questions and talk one on one with an employer. Depending on how many candidates choose a given breakout room, it may not be one on one conversations, but it would still allow for a more intimate conversation versus holding one large session for everyone.

If you want to go above and beyond, there are even fancier platforms that allow for the above and more! Recently, I used a platform that had virtual booths, one on one networking time, and sessions for all attendees. If you’re looking to invest a little more in your virtual fair, then this is a great option. Each client can have their own virtual booth, designed with their company’s branding. Candidates can then enter their booth and have one on one video conversations with clients. The platform I used even had a “register interest” button in each booth. So, if a candidate was interested in a job opportunity with the client, they can select a button and say they are interested in learning more. Clients can still give a presentation during a session time, but will have the bonus of also having a virtual booth for candidates to visit. There are several platforms that offer amenities similar to these if this is something you would be interested in doing.

Overall, there is no universal right or wrong platform to use for a job fair, but finding the right platform that will meet your goals is the most important.

3. Organize A Strong Program

Once the format is finalized, the program and agenda should be put together. What clients will you invite to participate? Will each client have the opportunity to give a presentation? Will there be a keynote presentation? Will there be workshop sessions for candidates throughout the event? Will there be a happy hour/networking session at the end? Organizing a strong and attractive program is essential. Afterall, you are trying to make it an event that people will want to attend! So how do you do that?

One factor to consider is if you are going to hold one job fair for all of the industries you staff in or if you will have a separate job fair for each industry. If your staffing firm works with different industries, it might make the most sense to hold separate job fairs for each industry. The more niche and specific the job fair is, the more enticing it will be for candidates and clients in that industry to attend.

Next, it’s time to decide what clients will be invited to participate. Unless you are a small staffing firm, chances are you won’t be able to invite all clients to participate. See which clients have a lot of job orders to fill, invite your key clients, invite clients you know will want to participate, and invite clients that candidates would be interested in talking to. You can also consider asking prospective clients to participate. If you have a couple of “hot” prospects you are looking to do business with, invite them to participate in the job fair! Maybe they will land up meeting a candidate they like and will want to do business together.

Besides lining up the right set of clients to participate, the agenda is also important. Will it mainly be client/candidate interactions or will other programs be incorporated throughout the fair? Starting the job fair with a motivational key note speaker and/or holding workshop sessions during the course of the event, could be ways to further entice candidates. The greater value provided to candidates, the more likelihood they will attend. Clients can even sponsor some of these additional sessions. It will give them extra exposure and they will appreciate the offer to sponsor it. It’s a win, win!

4. Promote and Market the Event for Success

Once the clients are lined up and the agenda is put together, marketing the event to candidates is the next important step. Not only do you want to have a lot of candidates in attendance, but you want to have qualified ones that clients would be interested in hiring.

Before you begin marketing, think about the graphics that will be used to promote the event across your marketing channels. If your staffing firm does not have an in-house designer, consider outsourcing these graphics to a professional graphic designer. The right marketing graphics, can go a long way. If the graphics look boring or amateurish, it won’t attract the right audience, or perhaps not even attract anyone! If your marketing graphics look professional though and portray the message that it is a “must attend” job fair, you will be able to attract more candidates to your event.

After the graphics are designed, the marketing can begin! Use your ATS to build a list of candidates to invite and create an email campaign. Send a few emails to this distribution list leading up to the event. The more promotion they see for it, the greater chance they will sign up. Texting is also a great way to follow up with candidates after the initial email. It adds a personal touch that candidates wouldn’t receive in a regular marketing email. If your ATS has a texting integration, you can easily send mass text messages to your candidates and personalize the first name. You can also follow up with a plain text email. Plain text emails look like they came from someone versus a regular marketing email. Plain text emails are another good way to follow-up and send personalized messages in bulk.

Mix in social marketing with your email and text messaging promotion as well. To ensure followers see your organic posts, try boosting them. According to a Hootsuite study, only about 5.5% of Facebook® page posts are seen by their page followers. If you pay to boost your organic posts, you will be able to reach a much greater audience.

Also consider running ads on Facebook, LinkedIn, and job boards to reach new candidates you aren’t already working with. It would cost a little more to run paid ads, however, it’s a good option if you want to expand your audience to reach new candidates.

5. Collect Resumes Beforehand

Leading up to the event, gather the candidates resumes that will be in attendance and send it to the clients that are participating. This is a good way for clients to get to know the candidates that will be attending. They can also make note if there are any specific candidates, they are interested in speaking with.

6. Make It Fun

Job fairs don’t have to be all serious, make it fun! Everyone feels a little bit “bluer” these days, not being able to do things we are used to doing. That is why it’s important to embrace new ways of doing things and have fun with it. What if you had a raffle? All candidates that register and attend the event, are automatically entered into a raffle drawing to win a prize. Maybe clients also want to give away a raffle prize to candidates that visit their booth. Or what about a social media contest? If they post to social media and use the job fair hashtags, they will be entered into a raffle drawing to win a prize! A social media contest, helps your staffing firm receive extra exposure from your candidates. Everyone likes prizes. This could be a simple and easy way to get candidates to attend and have fun while doing it.

At the end of the job fair, if you really want to go out with a bang, end with something fun! I’ve seen virtual concerts, magic shows, trivia, family feud, and more. These are all fun ways to end the day on a high note.

7. Make It Free

Unless it’s impossible to financially make the job fair free, make it free for clients and candidates to attend. A price for attending a job fair will automatically turn people away. A free event though, won’t cause any harm in attending and will attract more clients and candidates to participate in it.

8. Follow-Up After the Event

Everyone will be excited after the event; however, success doesn’t end there! Connecting candidates and clients after the event for interviews is ultimately the next goal after the job fair.

Personally, follow up with clients afterwards. Ask them how it went. Ask them if they spoke with any candidates, they are interested in. Also, follow up with candidates. Send a survey and ask them to select the positions/company’s they are interested in learning more about. This information can then be relayed back to the client. It’s possible some candidates won’t get a chance to talk to clients one on one, but are interested in a position they have open. If breakout sessions aren’t planned during the job fair, sending a follow-up survey to candidates will be even more important, since clients won’t have that one on one interaction time.

Follow-ups after the event are essential in order to get the most out of the job fair. The job fair is meant to connect clients and candidates. The next step is taking those relationships that were formed during the event and turning them into job offers.

A New Wave of Staffing

Planning a virtual job fair is certainly different then an in-person one. There are many factors to think about and consider, however, virtual fairs can be just as effective as in-person ones, as long as you are fully committed and invested in it. The most important part is knowing what you want to get out of the virtual fair and formatting it to accommodate your goals. Virtual job fairs are a “new wave” of staffing and are here to stay. So, how will you reinvent the job fair?


A Guide for Deaf People in Getting Jobs

Finding a job is never easy. Looking for a job that you want often involves patience and persistence, and the job search can become easier with guidance. It is important to view your job search as a positive and rewarding experience. You may experience some ups and downs during your search, and you must not give up. Below is an easy guide that can help you with your job search as a deaf or hard of hearing job seeker.

Looking up job listings

You should start looking at listings on job boards or websites to find jobs that you might like. Be sure to use the right keywords when you search for jobs online. In addition, using hashtags on social media sites to find jobs are becoming more common these days. For example, #DeafJobs or #DeafTalent in job postings are widely used on social media sites that target deaf and hard of hearing job seekers. Also, many employers look for deaf and hard of hearing candidates through job postings on DeafJobWizard.com. This website has a wide range of job vacancies from entry-level to executive-level, so check it often for new listings.

Network and get job recommendations

Many people get hired through networking and recommendations. They often get their jobs by networking or talking with someone inside the company about the job openings. This strategy is mostly true for all sectors and sizes of companies or organizations. Employers also often hire people through recommendations. That said, you are likely to have better chances in landing a job by someone recommending you than competing for a job in the open market. You can start by networking with your friends or even employees from the companies or organizations for any suitable jobs where you can apply. If you want to work in a particular field, then you should contact your peers who are already working in that field for job recommendations.

Contact employment programs working with deaf and hard of hearing people

Many states have employment programs or career centers specializing in working with deaf and hard of hearing job seekers in securing employment. These programs and centers can offer customized employment services based on your needs. Such services include helping you with your resume writing, interviewing skills, or finding jobs, as well as any support and training that you might require. If you are interested in getting additional help, you can search online for a deaf employment program or career center close to you, or you can get in touch with your local deaf and hard of hearing service center or office for a referral.

Ticket to Work Program

If you are a recipient of Social Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and seek to work, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has a ” Ticket to Work ” program that is designed to help deaf and hard of hearing people get training and find jobs. The Ticket to Work program is a free and voluntary program that gives Social Security recipients with choices that can help them to go to work. Contact your local SSA office for a referral.


Why Do I Keep Getting Job Application Rejections?

We have all been there, we find the perfect job, we apply, we wait… then days, or in some cases weeks later, we get the rejection confirmation.

But why?
This can be a difficult question to answer. There can be a wide range of reasons for a company not proceeding with your application for employment. Sometimes we can get frustrated with the process and quickly try to blame something or someone for our lack of progress in our job search.

So, take a deep breath and lets focus on some of the issues or problems that could be holding us back!

What are some of the reasons why you keep getting rejections?
While this is not an extensive list, there are some basic things that we can and should consider. Take a considered approach as you work through them…

Job Advertisement
An important part of the process is looking at the details contained in the job advertisement. Do you have a full understanding of the role and the specific requirements the company is looking for?

For Example: while a company may advertise for an Administration Assistant, something you may have done in the past, there might be some specific skills, tasks or experiences they are looking for that may not be obvious from the position title.

In my many years of recruitment, you will be surprised how many applications are received from individuals that don’t meet the requirements of the role, or come from completely different backgrounds and sectors.

While there is nothing wrong in crossing sectors or taking another career path, in fact it can be a very positive move, you need to understand the skills you have to offer, what is cross transferable and what skills meet the requirements of the role. You need to clearly highlight those transferable skills in your resume and cover letter, these may not be immediately clear to the recruiter or hiring manager.

If you are unsure if your skills meet the requirements of the role, why not call their HR team and ask. Tell them you want to clarify your fit for the role and have an open discussion about it. During such conversations, you can get access to key information that will allow you to fine tune your resume/cover letter to further enhance your prospects of moving to the next stage.

Check the Application Process/Requirements!
At the end of each advertisement, there is often a piece of information on how to apply. This can be a simple send your resume and cover letter by clicking the apply now button.

However, make sure you follow any specific requests. If you apply for a role that specifies “send a cover letter outlining what specifically prompted you to apply for this position with company x along with your resume”, make sure you have the appropriate content in your cover letter.

If the advertisement requests a cover letter, then do send one.

You want to show that you can follow instructions and that you have an eye for detail.

I recall one specific role that I was recruiting for, I asked for a resume, cover letter and a two page statement asking the applicant to address how their skills met the specific requirements of the role. The role was a very specific position and required exceptional attention to detail skills. Out of 70+ applicants, only 5 followed the process, and thus, demonstrated attention to detail.

Is your resume and cover letter fit for purpose?
Seems simple, right?

Well… only if they are. They need to be easy to navigate, the key information needs to be readable within 5 – 20 seconds of someone viewing the document.

If you’ve held a number of specific careers, you should have stand-alone focused resumes that allow you to truly demonstrate your specific skills and experiences to that sector with depth, rather than a wide-ranging overly general resume.

Are your contact details correct?
Basic, I know, but…
You will be surprised how many times I’ve tried to contact an applicant and they have had the wrong mobile number, and or email contacts on their documents. This simply sets the wrong impression and shows a lack of attention to detail.

Are you sending the right version of your resume/cover letter?
Before you send your application, check your resume and cover letter. You may have done some updates and you could send an old version missing key information.

When recruiting, I would receive at least 10 resumes a day that had been checked by a friend that added tracked changes. The applicant did not review or accept the changes and would simply apply with the resume with the changes, clearly highlighted… often showing grammar and spelling errors. So, always check before you apply.

Your Cover Letter, have you addressed it to the right business and person. This is something that is often forgotten. People tailor their cover letter, forget about it and a few weeks later use that cover letter to apply for a new role – this error can ruin your application chances.

Any Suggestions?
There can be a wide range of reasons why you may not be moving forward in your job search. We recommend speaking with an expert and ask them to complete a resume review/health check.

A recruitment agency, or a resume services agency could assist you with this and often the service can be free of charge.

If you consistently receive rejections, the best thing you can do is step back, and take some time to build and improve your resume and cover letter and seek out expert advice.