The Buyer’s Guide to Virtual Recruiting Events and Job Fairs

Rodney HessBy Rodney Hess
July 9th, 2024 • 12 Minutes

RecruitmentMarketing.com can help you put together your brand experience and event activations strategies, and bring those events to life. To learn more about our event services, reach out to info@recruitmentmarketing.com to receive a custom proposal—and we can make recommendations on technology, or work with what you have.

COVID-19 pushed many companies to adopt virtual methods due to travel restrictions and remote work mandates. Before the pandemic, few organizations had strategies for virtual events. However, as companies adapted, virtual recruiting events gained popularity. 

By September 2020, virtual events became a core strategy for about a third of marketers, showing a rapid shift to digital solutions​. 

It’s the following benefits of virtual events that have led to their continued use​.​

6 Advantages of Virtual Recruiting Events

  1. Wider Reach: Virtual recruiting events eliminate geographical barriers, allowing companies to attract candidates from a global talent pool. This broader reach enables employers to find diverse candidates from different regions, improving the overall quality and diversity of their talent pool.
  2. Cost-Effectiveness: Hosting virtual events cuts down on expenses related to physical events, such as venue rentals, travel, and accommodations. This makes virtual events accessible to organizations of all sizes, especially startups and smaller companies with limited budgets.
  3. Increased Efficiency: Virtual events streamline the recruitment process by enabling multiple simultaneous interactions, automated scheduling and efficient data collection. These processes reduce the time-to-hire and improve overall recruitment productivity.
  4. Accessibility: Virtual platforms lower barriers for candidates, including people with disabilities or those who might find it difficult to attend in-person events due to time, travel or financial constraints. This inclusivity leads to a more diverse candidate pool and helps organizations build a more inclusive workforce​.
  5. Data-Driven Insights: Virtual events provide valuable metrics and data analytics, offering insights into candidate behavior, engagement levels and event effectiveness. You can use these insights to refine your strategies and improve the outcomes of future events​.
  6. Target Audience: Virtual recruiting events benefit companies of all sizes seeking to hire top talent. Startups can leverage the cost-efficiency and broader reach to compete with larger corporations on reaching their target audience. Meanwhile, large organizations can enhance their recruitment strategies by accessing diverse global talent pools and using analytics for informed decision-making.

Virtual recruiting events have become a key part of the recruitment process, making it more efficient, inclusive and data-driven. As you continue to navigate the post-pandemic landscape, virtual events should remain an important component of your talent acquisition strategies.

Understanding Virtual Recruiting Events

Types of Virtual Recruiting Events

There are different types of virtual recruiting events, each designed to meet different organizational needs and candidate preferences. They range from company-specific gatherings to industry-wide job fairs and hybrid events, each offering distinct advantages and logistical considerations.

Company-Specific Events

These events are hosted by a single company to showcase their employer brand, company culture and specific job openings.

Benefits:

  • Targeted Audience: Attracts potential candidates specifically interested in the company.
  • Control Over Content: Allows greater control over the event’s content and messaging.
  • Focused Interactions: Provides opportunities for in-depth presentations and focused interactions with candidates.

Industry-Wide Job Fairs

These large-scale events connect multiple companies from a specific industry with a diverse pool of job seekers.

Benefits:

  • Wider Range of Candidates: Access to a broader range of qualified candidates with relevant industry experience.
  • Brand Exposure: Increases brand exposure within the industry.
  • Cost-Effective: Participating in a pre-organized event is more cost-effective and comes with an established attendee base.

Hybrid Events

These events combine virtual and in-person elements, catering to candidates with different preferences.

Benefits:

  • Cater to Preferences: Offers a more immersive experience for candidates who value and are able to invest in face-to-face interactions.
  • Flexibility: Allows attendees to choose between attending virtually or in-person.

Considerations:

  • Logistics: Requires additional logistical planning and coordination for both virtual and physical aspects.
  • Cost: May increase overall event costs due to the dual nature of the setup.

Virtual Events Formats

Flat graphic at a woman attending a virtual event for recruitingIn addition to types, virtual recruiting events also have several formats to choose from, each offering different ways to engage with potential candidates and showcase your company.

Live Webinars

Live webinars are interactive sessions where company representatives present on topics related to the industry, company culture or specific job openings. They allow for real-time Q&A and audience engagement.

Benefits:

  • Employer Branding: Effective for building your employer brand and showcasing expertise.
  • Broad Interest: Attracts a wide range of candidates by offering valuable insights and information.

Interactive Booths

Interactive booths are virtual spaces within the event platform designed to mimic physical career fair booths. Recruiters can engage with candidates through video chat, text chat or document sharing. They often include pre-recorded presentations or downloadable resources about the company and open positions.

Benefits:

  • One-on-One Interactions: Facilitate direct, personalized engagement with candidates.
  • Immediate Screening: Allow for immediate assessment and screening of potential candidates.

Pre-Recorded Presentations

Pre-recorded presentations allow companies to showcase their culture, leadership messages or detailed job descriptions on-demand. These can be viewed by attendees before the live event, maximizing efficiency.

Benefits:

  • Flexibility: Provide flexibility for attendees as well as facilitators with busy schedules.
  • In-Depth Information: Offer detailed, pre-planned, comprehensive information and create buzz before the event.

Networking Lounges

Networking lounges are virtual spaces designed for informal interaction between attendees and company representatives. They facilitate casual conversations and candidate-driven networking.

Benefits:

  • Foster Connections: Encourage relationships beyond specific job openings.
  • Relaxed Atmosphere: Create a more informal and comfortable setting for interaction.
  • Long-Term Relationships: Help build long-term connections with potential talent.

Each of these formats offers distinct advantages that can enhance your recruitment strategies. If you don’t know which one to choose, experiment with different formats to help you find the one that best achieves your hiring goals.

Planning Your Virtual Recruitment Event

Setting Goals and Objectives

Defining your goals and objectives is the first step in planning a successful virtual recruiting event. Clear goals will guide your strategy and help you measure success effectively.

Define Your Specific Recruitment Needs

Identify the primary purpose of your event by considering your specific recruitment needs:

  • Immediate Openings vs. Talent Pipeline: Are you aiming to fill immediate job vacancies or to build a talent pipeline for future needs? Immediate openings require more aggressive recruitment tactics, while pipeline building might focus on brand awareness and relationship-building.
  • Specialized vs. Entry-Level Roles: Do you need to recruit for highly specialized positions that require specific skills, or are you looking for entry-level candidates who can be trained? The type of roles will influence the content and format of your event.
  • Target Audience: Are you targeting recent graduates, experienced professionals, or a mix of both? Understanding your audience will ensure you meet their needs and expectations.

Establish Clear and Measurable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Flat graphic of a woman at a computer attending a virtual job fairClear and well-defined KPIs are essential for tracking the success of your virtual recruiting event. These metrics will help you evaluate the effectiveness of your event and identify areas for future improvement.

Quantitative KPIs

  • Number of Registrants and Attendees: Track the number of people who register for and attend your event to measure interest and reach. Set targets (and, later, strategies) for limiting attrition between registration and actual attendance.
  • Number of Qualified Applicants: Measure the number of qualified applicants submitted during or after the event to assess the quality of your candidate pool and event marketing.
  • Number of One-on-One Interactions: Count the number of individual interactions between recruiters and candidates to gauge engagement levels.

Qualitative KPIs

  • Candidate Satisfaction: Use surveys or feedback forms to assess candidate satisfaction with the event experience. High satisfaction levels indicate a positive candidate experience. This can also be measured quantitatively.
  • Brand Awareness Metrics: Monitor social media engagement, website traffic, and other indicators of brand awareness to see how well your event has increased visibility for your company.
  • Quality of Hire: Evaluate the performance of candidates hired through the event to determine the long-term success of your recruitment efforts. This can include metrics such as job performance, retention rates, and cultural fit.

With these objectives in place, the next step is to choose the right platform to support your goals, ensuring a seamless and engaging experience for all participants.

Choosing the Right Platform

The platform you choose will determine the functionality, engagement and overall experience for both recruiters and candidates. When evaluating virtual event platforms, consider the core functionalities and advanced features they offer.

Core Functionality

  • Ensure the platform supports both individual and group calls to facilitate various types of interactions.
  • Look for platforms that offer public chat, private messaging and group chat options to enable comprehensive communication.
  • The ability to share and manage documents is essential for providing candidates with resources and receiving application materials.

Advanced Features

  • Polls, quizzes and gamified activities can boost engagement and make the event more interactive.
  • Breakout rooms are useful for smaller group discussions and personalized interactions. You may also want to consider if the ability to record breakout sessions is a non-negotiable for your team.
  • The capability to stream pre-recorded presentations or live keynotes can add value to your event.
  • Dashboards that track engagement metrics help you measure the success of your event and gather insights for future improvements.

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Platform

  • Budget: Platforms vary widely in cost. Assess your budget and compare it with the pricing models of different platforms, considering the features, admin seats and attendee capacity each offers.
  • Volume & Scalability: Choose a platform that can handle your expected number of attendees and can scale up if your needs grow in the future.
  • Ease of Use: The platform should be intuitive and user-friendly for both attendees and recruiters, accommodating varying levels of technical expertise.
  • Integrations: Ensure the platform can integrate seamlessly with your existing recruiting software. This will allow for smooth data transfer and efficient management of candidate information.

The platform sets the stage for a successful virtual recruiting event experience. Next, you need to develop high-quality content to captivate your audience.

Building a Compelling Event Experience

Design an Event Agenda

Flat graphic of a man and woman at a computer attending a virtual recruiting event

Start with a strong opening session to introduce your company and capture attendee interest. An effective agenda should balance informative presentations, interactive elements and networking opportunities:

  • Opening Session: Kick off with an introduction that highlights your company’s mission, values and what makes it unique. Use this session to set the tone and build excitement.
  • Variety of Sessions: Include a mix of presentations on industry insights, company culture and specific job openings. Interactive elements such as Q&A sessions and panel discussions can enhance engagement.
  • Networking Opportunities: Schedule dedicated time for networking to allow attendees to connect with recruiters and other participants. This could be in the form of breakout rooms or networking lounges.
  • Scheduled Breaks: Plan short breaks to prevent fatigue and provide opportunities for informal interactions.

Develop High-Quality Content

Your content should showcase your company culture and career opportunities effectively:

  • Compelling Visuals and Storytelling: Use engaging visuals and storytelling elements in your presentations and videos. This can help convey your company’s values and work environment vividly.
  • Employee Testimonials: Feature testimonials from current employees to give potential candidates a real sense of your company culture and what it’s like to work there.
  • Career Paths and Growth Opportunities: Highlight specific career paths and growth opportunities within your company. This can attract candidates looking for long-term career development.

Leverage Multimedia

Remember, there are a number of multimedia elements available to you to ensure your audience stays engaged and interested:

  • Pre-Recorded Videos
  • Interactive Tools
  • Downloadable Resources

Once you have the main content of your virtual event built out, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to get your event in front of the right candidate pool. That’s where marketing comes in.

Marketing and Promoting Your Virtual Event

You can’t have a recruiting event if nobody shows up! Spend the time (and ad dollars) to make sure your target candidates are aware of it. 

Identifying Your Target Audience

Define Ideal Candidate Profiles

Start by outlining the skills, experience and qualifications required for the positions you are recruiting for:

  • Detail the specific skills, educational background, and work experience needed for your open positions.
  • Consider the age, location, and career stage of your ideal candidates, from recent graduates to experienced professionals or career changers.
  • Develop detailed buyer personas to represent your ideal candidates. These should include information about their career goals, preferred communication channels, and job decision factors.

Reaching Relevant Talent Pools

Once you have defined your ideal candidate profiles, focus on reaching them through various channels:

  • Use social media platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram or TikTok, but don’t just post to your profiles and hope people see it. Allocate an ad budget so you can target candidates based on job title, industry and location. Tailor your ads to highlight the benefits of attending your event and the opportunities available.
  • Post your event information on relevant job boards. This includes general boards like Indeed or Glassdoor, as well as industry-specific boards.
  • Partner with university or college career centers that align with your ideal candidate pool. Offer presentations or participate in their career fairs to attract upcoming graduates. Consider partnering with a higher education platform like Handshake.
  • Connect with professional associations in your industry. Use their communication channels, such as newsletters and social media groups, to reach qualified candidates.
  • Encourage current employees to share the event information within their networks. Leveraging employee referral connections can attract high-quality referrals and increase event attendance.

The next step involves crafting a compelling marketing campaign that captures attention and drives registrations, making sure your efforts lead to a high turnout and engaged candidates.

Crafting a Winning Marketing Campaign

Develop Compelling Messaging

Your messaging should highlight the benefits for job seekers and emphasize what makes your event and company unique:

  • Clearly communicate the advantages of attending your event, such as connecting with top employers, learning about career opportunities, and participating in interactive sessions.
  • Emphasize the unique aspects of your virtual event and company culture to stand out from competitors. Showcase what sets your event apart.
  • Use persuasive calls to action (CTAs) that encourage immediate registration, such as “Register Now for Exclusive Access” or “Secure Your Spot Today.”

Leverage Diverse Marketing Channels

Use multiple marketing channels to reach a broader audience and maximize your event’s visibility:

  • Social Media: Create engaging posts with visuals to promote the event across your company’s social media channels and relevant industry groups. Use hashtags and tags to increase reach.
  • Email Marketing: Segment your email lists to target specific groups, such as qualified candidates, alumni networks, or professional contacts. Send personalized email campaigns with clear CTAs.
  • Press Releases: Issue press releases to relevant media outlets to announce your virtual event and attract wider industry attention. Highlight key details and unique aspects of the event.
  • Content Marketing: Publish blog posts or articles on your company website that discuss topics relevant to your target audience. Subtly promote your event within this content to drive interest and registrations.

Develop a Landing Page

Create a dedicated landing page for your virtual recruiting event. This page should be informative and easy to navigate. You should include:

  • Event Details: Clearly display the date, time, and format of the event.
  • Participating Companies: List the companies participating in the event, if applicable.
  • Featured Job Openings: Highlight key job openings that will be available.
  • Agenda Highlights: Provide an overview of the event agenda to give attendees a sense of what to expect.
  • Easy Registration: Include a straightforward registration process with clear CTAs to encourage sign-ups.

Marketing the event is one of the toughest parts. Once that’s over, it’s mostly smooth sailing! Now you can focus fully on managing the event itself.

Managing the Virtual Event

Flat graphic of a man at a computer attending virtual recruiting eventsPre-Event Management

Attention to detail during the pre-event phase is crucial for setting the stage for success. One missed step could mean a clunky and unorganized experience for your candidates, which will reflect on your employer brand.

Streamlined Registration

Implement a user-friendly registration process that collects relevant candidate information while minimizing steps:

  • Consider offering social login options, such as LinkedIn, to simplify registration.
  • Clearly communicate deadlines for registration and any pre-event requirements, like resume uploads.
  • Send automated confirmation as well as reminder emails with login details and access information for the virtual platform.

Clear Communication

Provide detailed instructions on accessing and navigating the virtual platform:

  • Offer tutorials or FAQs to help attendees familiarize themselves with platform functionalities.
  • Post the event agenda, session schedules and contact information for support.

Recruiter Training

Prepare recruiters to utilize the platform effectively:

  • Train recruiters on using features like video conferencing, chat functionalities, and document sharing.
  • Practice using interactive tools to facilitate engaging sessions.
  • Conduct mock interviews or Q&A sessions to prepare recruiters for candidate interactions.

You can’t expect a successful event without thorough preparation. Planning a mock event ahead of time will ensure everyone knows what to expect and how to use the tool.

The next step is to ensure seamless execution during the event itself.

During the Event

You’ve spent all this time and energy planning out the event. Now it’s time for the big day. Don’t let it fall apart when you’re so close to the finish line. Here is how you can make sure your event goes off without a hitch:

Technical Support

  • Dedicated Support Team: Have a dedicated support team or staff member available to address any technical issues promptly.
  • Clear Reporting Channels: Provide clear channels for attendees to report technical problems, such as a help desk or support chat.

Active Engagement

  • Live Chat and Polls: Use live chat, polls, and Q&A sessions during presentations to encourage real-time interaction.
  • Networking Lounges: Facilitate informal conversations in networking lounges, allowing candidates to interact with recruiters and other attendees.
  • Gamified Activities: Utilize gamified activities or interactive polls to maintain engagement and make the event more enjoyable.

Capturing Interactions

  • Record Presentations: Record presentations and Q&A sessions for future reference or follow-up with candidates who may miss live sessions.
  • Capture Chats: Save chat conversations and gather candidate information for post-event analysis and follow-up.

Congrats! You’ve hosted your first successful virtual recruiting event. Kick back and relax—but only for a bit. Your event may be over, but the work isn’t just yet.

Post-Event Follow-Up

The success of a virtual recruiting event extends beyond the day of the event. Effective post-event follow-up is essential to maintain momentum and capitalize on the connections made.

Personalized Communication

Send personalized thank-you emails to attendees to show appreciation for their participation:

  • Express gratitude and highlight key takeaways from the event.
  • Remind attendees of the career opportunities at your company.
  • Include clear calls to action, such as applying for open positions or connecting with recruiters on LinkedIn.

Candidate Engagement

Engage with promising candidates who expressed interest during the event:

  • Schedule follow-up interviews or assessments based on candidates’ qualifications and interests.
  • Keep the communication channels open to nurture relationships with potential hires.

Data Analysis

Analyze the data collected during the event to measure success and identify areas for improvement:

  • Review registrations, attendance, and engagement metrics to evaluate the event’s effectiveness against your KPIs.
  • Assess the effectiveness of different marketing strategies and content formats used to promote the event.
  • Identify areas for improvement and optimize your strategy for future virtual recruiting events.

Effective post-event follow-up not only helps in nurturing potential candidates but also provides valuable insights for refining your recruitment strategy. With thoughtful and strategic follow-up, you can ensure that your virtual recruiting events continue to yield positive results and attract top talent.

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