Job fairs help companies expand their presence and reach top talent.
But when you rely solely on in-person hiring events, you’re missing out on thousands of candidates, such as disabled persons and people located in different regions.
An out-of-town candidate may not have the time or energy to attend – a mere two hours of distance could stop you from securing a great hire.
You can solve this issue and open your talent pool by hosting virtual job fairs.
Virtual job fairs are a talent acquisition strategy for collecting applications, assessing candidates with skills tests, and showing off your employer brand.
These job fairs enable employers to extend their reach to countless more candidates and fill their talent pool with in-demand professionals.
This article discusses the benefits of virtual job fairs and lists the best practices to host one.
A virtual job fair is a career event hosted and attended digitally. They’re similar to in-person job fairs because they give candidates a chance to learn about job opportunities and get to know an organization, but it’s all done remotely.
The pandemic increased the use of virtual job fairs and recruiting events as talent acquisition trends, and they’re now a common strategy for countless companies.
Virtual job fairs typically have multiple exhibitors attending with virtual “booths,” video interviews, digital avatars, and even virtual swag.
These virtual recruiting events are a great opportunity to widen your talent pool because many more job seekers can attend them, such as people from different regions, people with limited mobility, and remote workers.
How does a virtual job fair compare with an in-person job fair? And what’s a hybrid job fair?
Some of the differences may be clear, but here’s a quick comparison to iron out the details:
In-person job fairs
Hybrid job fairs
Virtual job fairs
- Set up your own booth and provide your own physical resources
- Highly localized, so only people in the nearby vicinity can attend
- Only a certain amount of people can attend due to budget and space considerations
- Additional costs include food, travel, accommodations, and printed resources
- Some booths are physical, and some are virtual
- Some attendees may choose to attend physically if they’re in the area
- Fewer resources are used for printing brochures and FAQs because many attendees can download virtual copies
- Set up a virtual booth and provide digital resources
- Available to anyone who would like to attend globally
- Attendance isn’t limited by budget and space
- No additional costs
Increasingly more companies are choosing hybrid job fairs since they combine the best of both worlds. You can take virtual job fairs, pros and cons, and balance them out with physical fairs.
Hybrid job fairs enable companies to extend their reach further and engage every candidate in the way that’s best for them, whether that’s onsite or remotely.
However, organizations that choose a hybrid model still need to know how to host a virtual job fair – so let’s continue.
Virtual career fairs do a great job of mimicking an in-person fair with a digital platform.
Here are a few virtual job fair examples:
Most virtual job fairs are facilitated by a virtual platform, such as VFairs or Handshake
They generally have a 3D environment with different virtual rooms and booths to “walk around”
Attendees can drop their resumes at any company they’re interested in
Booth representatives can save resumes, share contact information, and conduct quick interviews through chat or video calls
These events often have avatars, animations, lobbies, and custom room designs. This not only helps spread brand awareness, but it’s also more immersive and engaging than simply dropping your resume on a careers page on a website.
Another one of the benefits of virtual job fairs is increased knowledge retention.
You don’t need to worry about them forgetting your guidebook on their car seat. Candidates can download and save all resources you provide, such as pamphlets, documents, and webinars.
Virtual job fairs existed before the pandemic, but they became essential during it. This was a time when companies had to learn how to host a virtual job fair – or they couldn’t host one at all.
It’s also closely tied to the rise of remote work. With thousands of employees working remotely, organizations needed to adopt virtual career fairs to reach and recruit remote employees.
Remote work isn’t going away, so virtual job fairs remain an important tactic in your HR toolbox.
There are also a host of other advantages, so let’s take a look at why virtual job fairs are important for employers:
Reach more applicants in a wider talent pool: Hosting a virtual job fair enables you to reach candidates in different regions, disabled people, remote workers, and people who are uncertain of in-person contact (such as those with autoimmune issues).
Meet more applicants due to a shorter time commitment on their end: Attendees don’t need to bother with travel, parking, and tight scheduling, so you can expect more applicants (and applicants that are more engaged).
Spread your employer brand efficiently: People from different walks of life and physical locations can learn about your company. Even attendees who don’t apply leave the event knowing more about your employer branding and culture.
Fill your talent pipeline: Virtual job fairs help fill your talent pipeline. People who aren’t currently interested and applicants you almost hired are great candidates for future hiring initiatives.
Provide easier campus recruitment: Virtual job fairs are a fantastic strategy for off-campus recruitment, enabling you to secure fresh talent ready to enter the workforce.
Enable your company to take a step into the future of hiring: The future is digital, and many candidates are ready and eager to take a step forward. Learning how to host a virtual job fair shows candidates that your company uses modern methods for hiring.
How does a virtual job fair work for your candidates? These events are as important for employees:
Shorter time commitment: Candidates can find time for your job fair even if they’re in a rush. They don’t have to consider traffic, parking, or even what to get for lunch.
Less travel: Candidates who live outside your area don’t have to worry about commuting long hours to reach the event. This issue alone might stop hundreds of top candidates from attending your job fair.
Better accessibility: Candidates with disabilities, mobility issues, social anxiety, autoimmune issues, and more may be prevented from attending in-person events. But virtual job fairs enable them to connect with great opportunities.
A survey by Handshake shows how much people appreciate virtual recruitment:
71% of respondents said virtual recruitment is a less intimidating environment to learn about employers
75% said it provides more flexibility around scheduling
60% said it made it easier to prepare to meet with employers
67% said it made the job search process more convenient
These advantages for candidates benefit you, too. The more candidates like the hiring system, the more they’ll apply to your organization.
No matter which way you look at it, virtual job fairs are a win-win.
Let’s take a quick look at the top benefits of virtual job fairs for HR professionals and companies.
Candidates can focus on the organizations they’re interested in instead of travel, traffic, lunch, and the rest of their daily schedule.
This enables them to remember to ask the right questions, submit their applications at every company they’re interested in, and connect with the right employers.
In-person job fairs are only available for a handful of prospective candidates. A virtual job fair enhances your accessibility and welcomes more candidates, such as disabled people and those with social anxiety.
This helps you boost disability inclusion in the workplace.
Virtual job fairs are also important for people from different regions. This includes international workers and candidates who are only a few hours away and can’t spare half the day commuting for a job fair.
This is related to the last point. The wider you open your talent pool, the wider you open the door for diverse candidates.
Trying to hire exclusively from your exact physical area is a top DE&I target problem. When you restrict your reach, you can’t help but see less diversity and fewer different perspectives.
It’s also a concern when increasingly more executives are obsessed with returning to the office.
Learning how to host a virtual job fair enables you to discover talent from all over the globe so your organization can reap the benefits of diversity, like expanding your teams’ innovation, productivity, and creativity.
Virtual job fairs are more affordable to run, set up, and maintain a "booth." There’s also no commute or utility costs and no handbooks or manuals to print.
These virtual career fairs also offer a much smaller carbon footprint with no utilities, no travel, and less waste from printed resources or styrofoam cups from refreshments.
Recruiters have a lot of work to do to prepare for a job fair. They need to ready stacks of handbooks, scripts, pamphlets, and physical swag (like stickers, pencils, and magnets), along with handling tasks like setting up the booth.
Recruiters will still have work to do at virtual job fairs, but with online events, all of your handbooks, swag, and scripts are on your computer. And setting up your “booth” is only a click away.
Physically sorting, storing, and scanning applications and resumes can be hectic and overwhelming. Imagine how many great candidates slip through the cracks simply because of lost documents.
Virtual job fairs enable you to digitally store and sort these important resources.
Storing candidate information is even easier if you have applicants perform skills tests for jobs instead of submitting resumes.
This way, you have candidate information in an accessible place, and you can sort them by who’s most qualified.
With virtual job fairs, candidates communicate in whichever method is best for them, leading to better communication.
For example, offering text chat, audio chat, and video chat to candidates enables them to communicate with recruiters in whichever way is best for them.
Some candidates may simply prefer one method of communication over another, but some candidates have little choice.
For example, candidates with social anxiety or speech disabilities may have trouble communicating at in-person events, but virtual job fairs empower them to discuss career opportunities the same as everyone else.
What is a virtual job fair without a toolbox of the best strategies?
Like any other hiring strategy, a virtual job fair needs the right tactics to succeed, such as providing easy links for candidates and promoting your event on all your company channels.
Here are our best practices for hosting virtual job fairs and recruiting events.
Make your values, culture, and perks clear
Show your values and culture through your actions
Clearly communicate your compensation and benefits
Provide easy links to reach your company resources
Make it easy for candidates to find your website, career page, and social media
Choose the right software and platforms
Pick virtual job hosting software that suits your company
Optimize your hiring tech stack for a virtual job fair
Promote your virtual job fair on all your channels
Let your candidates know about the upcoming event
Weave your virtual job fair into your recruitment marketing strategy
Make it easy to sign up and attend
Create an easy signup process
Make the experience engaging for candidates by sending them reminders and relevant job opportunities
Provide multilingual support for your virtual job fair
Get multilingual support for your job fair to ensure every candidate gets a great experience
Gauge language proficiency in interested candidates
Use skills assessments to staff your virtual job fair
Get the right skills behind your event by assessing your employees on tech skills, charisma, and language proficiency
You want your good company culture, values, and benefits to be crystal clear to everyone in attendance.
Culture and benefits are important to candidates, and they can make or break the decision between different organizations.
Here are a few tips on what to put on display:
Show off your company culture
Promote your diversity and inclusiveness
List your compensation and benefits, like pay and healthcare, clearly on your handouts and documentation
Show candidates your commitment to your values
Let’s talk about the last tip.
We believe in the old adage “show, don’t tell,” so the best way to let candidates know your values is to show them in action.
For example, if your company is committed to fair hiring, your booth should use talent assessment tests instead of asking applicants for resumes.
It sends a powerful message when you back up a claim with solid action.
If candidates read your diversity and inclusion statement and learn about your commitment to fairness and equal hiring, assessing them with a skills test shows them you mean it.
At a virtual job fair, easy and accessible links are the equivalent of your handbooks and pamphlets being right on the booth’s table. You wouldn’t want your handbooks to be down the hall, to the left, and in the corner closet.
Ensure all important information and resources are right at your virtual “booth,” with no links more than two or three clicks away.
Here are a few examples of crucial links:
Company website landing page
Company career page with job board
Applications for open positions
Email addresses to important contacts
Social media channels (such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram)
You don’t want interested applicants to get confused or frustrated. Make the process as simple and straightforward as possible.
It’s crucial to get your tech stack right if you’re going to conduct a job fair virtually. This is essentially the equivalent of choosing the right physical location and event management.
The first tool to choose is the platform you’ll host your job fair on. Here are some of the most popular ones:
It’s also important to consider the rest of your online recruitment platforms, including pre-employment assessment software, candidate relationship management software, and applicant tracking systems.
These tools help you make the process smoother for your candidates, such as enabling them to take a skills test instead of submitting a resume when they’re interested in your company.
If you’d like to boost your diversity initiatives at this event, look into our top diversity hiring tools.
Candidates can’t come to your virtual career fair unless they know it exists.
Promote your virtual job fair on all your channels, including your website, your newsletter or emails, your LinkedIn, and any other social media channels.
This ensures you get more applicants, especially those in your target candidate base and those already subscribed to your emails and following your social media.
Promoting a virtual job fair is perfect for your recruitment marketing strategy. It’s an opportunity to engage your audience and maybe even attract the attention of some of the candidates in your passive recruiting strategy.
Nobody wants to jump through hoops to attend a job fair – it’s like virtual event traffic and parking.
Here are a few best practices to make it easy for candidates to sign up and attend your event:
Clearly state the dates and times
Have one large call to action
Don’t make attendants fill out large forms (name and email address should be all you need to start)
Send reminder emails when the time gets close
Make sure it’s easy for the candidates to add to their calendars
Enable candidates to input their job titles or expertise so they receive relevant recommendations
Receiving relevant job recommendations and reminder emails helps engage candidates and gets them excited for the upcoming event.
These tips not only ensure that the process is easy for them, but also more enjoyable.
If you’re using a job fair for increasing diversity or recruiting internationally, it’s important to provide multilingual support at your virtual job fair.
You can ease candidate anxiety by allowing them to interact with the job fair in their native tongue. This enables them to relax, be themselves, and truly show you what they’re like.
What if a candidate looks like a great match for a role, but your team doesn’t speak their language? Or maybe the role in question requires a certain language proficiency?
Use language tests to evaluate a candidate’s language proficiency for a specific role.
Language tests assess a candidate’s proficiency in a certain language in different ways, including speaking, listening, writing, and reading. This proficiency is gauged through the CEFR framework, rating language proficiency on a scale like this:
For more insights, read our blog on how to test for language proficiency.
Providing multilingual support for your virtual job fair lets candidates feel at ease during the job fair, but using skills tests still gives you a chance to ensure they meet all the qualifications. Speaking of…
To pull off a virtual job fair successfully, you’re going to need certain skills.
Outgoing employees are great for hosting these events, multilingual employees help make the fair more comfortable for bilingual folks, and the term “virtual” implies you’ll need a few tech-savvy workers.
You can identify these important skills by evaluating employees with skills tests. Conducting a skills-gap analysis before the big event shows you which employees have these key skills.
And if your employees lack the exact skills you need, take the weeks before the job fair to upskill a few workers who nearly hit the mark in their assessments.
Virtual job fairs and recruiting events are amazing recruitment strategies, so it goes without saying that countless companies are using them with great success.
Here are our top real-life virtual job fair examples.
A virtual job fair centered on solar energy
Power To Fly
A virtual career fair committed to helping disabled and neurodivergent people find work
A virtual career fair trying to solve female inequality in STEM
Maxeon, a solar energy organization, has an excellent value-led virtual career fair.
This company is dedicated to renewable energy, and it does a great job communicating that, which ensures it attracts candidates who not only specialize in solar energy but are also passionate about it.
Maxeon also follows a few other best practices for virtual job fairs:
Offers a quick signup page with the option to add your preferred pronouns
Makes it simple to give resumes and participate in on-the-spot interviews
Offers an interactive workshop to polish your skills
Clarifies what you'll learn, such as career advancement, job stability, earning potential, and the future of careers in the solar energy industry
Offers a community discussion forum to build connections and expand your perspectives
This virtual career fair isn’t a single company’s event, but rather a hosted job fair with many attending companies.
This career fair features:
A quick signup page
An option to add it to your calendar
Relevant job suggestions
Easy ways to connect and communicate with hiring managers
Mobile responsiveness, so candidates can join via smartphone
It also features a one-click “I’m interested” button once candidates complete their candidate profiles to help connect them to employers.
Vault, a university network, holds a virtual job fair annually to support women in STEM.
This virtual career fair connects companies with a wide network of more than 500 colleges to help solve STEM inequality.
Here are some of its key points:
Flexible time frame, with each organization presenting at different times
Specifically reaching out to diverse candidates
Quick video interviews
Easy exporting of candidate documentation, such as resumes
This is yet another value-led event. But leading with your values and culture is one of the most important best practices.
Candidates care about your values and beliefs and want to see you act on them.
Leveraging virtual job fairs and recruiting events is an important tactic in your arsenal of talent acquisition strategies.
These events connect you to hundreds of candidates you couldn’t reach with a standard job fair, and they boost diversity and minimize your admin workload.
Use our best practices to make your event shine: Promote your virtual job fair on multiple channels and use skills tests to find qualified candidates without sorting through resumes.
If you’re thinking of using virtual job fairs as a part of your off-campus recruiting efforts, check out our guide on campus recruitment.
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