Published Date: 05/12/2014
By Reneé Watkins
Hosting a physical job fair can be an expensive undertaking for any company. Unless you already have your own well-equipped facility, there are fees for facility rental, equipment, furnishings, insurance and even security. Depending on the overall success of the event, the cost of a single recruit can be very large indeed.
In fact, Recruiting Scope, an online resource for professional recruiters, determined in a recent study the average cost per recruit at a successful, in-person job fair can be as high as $121. Compare this with the average cost per recruit of $19 by hosting a “virtual” job fair.
Virtual job fairs provide an online environment using a variety of mediums like teleconferences, online chats and webcasts to join recruiters and candidates in an interactive experience. Information like resumes and online applications can be exchanged digitally and reviewed in real-time.
In addition to the dramatic reduction in cost per recruit, a virtual job fair also allows you to reach a larger group of potential candidates far outside the restrictions of your own geography. Imagine having a global audience attend your next job fair! A well-known global professional services firm presided over a virtual career fair that spanned 40 countries and more than 10,000 candidates in a two-day period.
A virtual job fair can also speed up the recruiting process, creating opportunities to conduct video interviews with viable candidates without the typical expenses of travel, etc. by either side.
Other reasons to explore a virtual job fair include:
- A physical job fair presents a limitation on time spent with each candidate, as there are many candidates to see in a short amount of time. To fully qualify a recruit, you want to maximize the level of engagement before bringing them in for a face-to-face interview to ensure a good fit for the position and the corporate culture. Virtual interviews can provide that level of engagement.
- Interviewing across a virtual channel can be a more comfortable and secure setting for both the candidate and the recruiter. A virtual interview process also enables for the candidate to speak with multiple persons within your organization at the same time or in succession. This is a process not often possible during a physical job fair due to time and scheduling constraints. Depending on the skillset and background presented, a recruiter can pass a candidate along down multiple paths within the organization, virtually, to gain a greater amount of feedback.
- Another excellent use of a virtual recruiting center is the delivery of a consistent corporate message. With a physical job fair, there is a finite amount of information you can make available to candidates. Different information may be applicable to different candidates. With a virtual recruiting center, information can be built over time and divided along career paths for ease of navigation. Tips on resume presentation and interview skills can be made available. Online surveys and quizzes to help candidates determine their desired career paths are also a popular feature. Updates can be made as well, without the expense of reprinting materials.
- While physical job fairs have a static beginning and ending date, virtual job fairs can be continuous, providing a constant stream of new applicants from which to actively recruit.
It is important to note, having a career page on your corporate website is not the same as a virtual job fair. Virtual job fairs are advertised through a number of online channels and media. They are specifically designed to emulate a physical job fair and to provide a similar experience to candidates. Career pages are typically very passive in nature with regard to recruiting, whereas virtual job fairs are both active and interactive with respect to the candidate’s experience.
Similar to a physical job fair, a virtual job fair can be the first impression of your organization a candidate receives, and therefore the experience can be extremely important in the recruiting process.