Posted March 15, 2012 by

Virtual Career Fairs Benefit Job Seekers and Employers

If you are a tech savvy job seeker or employer, you might benefit from participating in a virtual career fair.  Job seekers can learn about employment opportunities, while employers can find the candidates they need.

Virtual career fairs are similar to career fairs but take place on your computer.  You can meet with recruiters, conduct interviews, and watch live speeches online.

According to ON24, the global leader in webcasting and virtual event solutions, one of the fastest growing applications for virtual event technologies is the virtual career fair. The total number of virtual job fairs produced on the ON24 platform doubled in 2011 over 2010 totals. In addition, the virtual job fairs attracted the largest audiences.

“While the top application for ON24’s virtual event platform remains marketing and demand generation, the growing acceptance of the virtual career fair alternative has been dramatic,” said ON24 CMO Denise Persson. She attributes this to economic factors and the inefficiencies of traditional recruiting methods.

Despite the improving economy, unemployment remains an issue for most companies, she explained. “But even companies that are hiring have trouble finding qualified candidates. Traditional techniques aren’t effective or efficient in a global economy, yet their costs are high. Employers need a larger talent pool from which to draw and assistance matching open positions with available candidates. The solution is the virtual job fair.”

Benefits of virtual job fairs for employers include cost-effective, faster recruiting and greater reach.

Job seekers benefit from the following:

  • No driving time & expense
  • No babysitting costs
  • Faster turn-around time from interview to hiring
  • No dry-cleaning of “interview outfits”
  • No cost of printing resumes
  • No waiting in line

Here are some tips for job seekers to keep in mind during virtual career fairs:

  1. Do you use emoticons or Internet abbreviations? – While several of us type “OMG” or “J” online, these shortcuts may not be appropriate for online interviews conducted over chat.  A good rule of thumb is to avoid abbreviations and slang during the interviews.  Recruiters tell ON24 that job seekers need to take every communication during a virtual show seriously.
  2. Browse before sending your resume – Several companies participating in virtual career fairs tell ON24 that the resumes they receive are often too broad and not specific to positions that are posted.  Instead of blanketing every booth with your resume, you may consider looking at the jobs first and tailoring your resume to the positions that most interest you– something you can’t do at a physical job fair.
  3. Wear a nice shirt and clean up your home office – While many people think they can attend a virtual show in their pajamas, a good conversation with a recruiter can lead to a Skype conversation in minutes.  Job seekers who don’t want to lose momentum should make sure they are wearing a nice shirt (avoid white and patterns, which don’t look good on webcams, in favor of blues and greens).  Also, since Skype conversations usually capture the background behind you, make sure it’s clean and professional.
  4. Check your social media sites – While most job seekers have their resumes ready, they need to know that during a virtual career fair things happen quickly.  So, if recruiters start chatting with you during the show, they may also be looking at your LinkedIn profile – as well as your Facebook or Twitter postings.  Make sure your professional details are updated and anything embarrassing on Facebook is hidden from public view.
  5. Relax (but not too much) – A virtual career fair provides job hunters with the opportunity to explore employment opportunities in a more relaxed way, without the anxiety and feelings of intimidation that often accompany face-to-face interviews.  While confidence is a good thing, prospective employers report that candidates are often more candid within a virtual job fair than they are in person.  Resist the inclination to be TOO relaxed.  Set some clear goals before attending a virtual job fair, and prepare for the questions you’re likely to hear. Jot down your answers and keep them in front of you; after all, unlike an in-person interview, you can refer to your notes while you’re chatting with employers online. Remember, these employers will be interacting with hundreds, if not thousands, of candidates, so whatever you can say or do to make yourself stand out in a positive way to hiring managers will help you.
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