Are virtual career events a waste of time for employers trying to recruit diverse college students?

Posted October 09, 2020 by

There’s been a fair amount of discussion amongst university relations and other talent acquisition professionals about whether participating in virtual career events to recruit diverse and college students is a waste of time.

I saw one consultant question whether employers have been reminded that it takes a lot less time for them to attend a virtual career event than to travel to a college campus and attend an in-person career fair. From what I’ve heard from career services, employers, and the 20 or so most highly regard virtual career event companies, the employers absolutely are being reminded that a virtual career event takes far less of their time than an in-person event.

My takeaway is that the employers are being rational. We all have a limited amount of resources, whether that’s budget or time. We need to make the best use of those resources. To do that, we need to look at our returns on investment. We sometimes do that with the use of some math and other times just intuitively. Some of these employers are probably using some math and others their intuition, but the basic calculation they’re all making is to consider the return they’re getting from their investments of money and time. Even if the investment of time is a lot lower to attend a virtual than in-person career investment, if the return is so low as to be unmeasurable then no rational talent acquisition professional is going to want to make that investment again, regardless of how low it is.

What we’re seeing over and over again is that virtual career events are well-designed to engage candidates who already are aware of your brand and interested in your opportunities. Some of them have not yet applied and want questions answered before they decide to do so. Others have applied and want more interaction. But if they’re not already aware of your brand and interested in your opportunities, then virtual career events are not a suitable product. You first need to reach the candidate, meaning making them aware of your brand and opportunities. You then move to engagement.

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Posted in Advice for Employers and Recruiters | Tagged