The events industry has been on a roller coaster when it comes to event planning since March of 2020. Shifting career fairs to virtual became the norm, but as we are slowly moving back to in-person we are starting to see a shift of both options being available for job seekers. Some career fairs might be completely in-person, while others might be virtual only – and some could be hybrid events.
To ensure your next event will be successful, make sure to follow these four best practices when planning your virtual, in-person, or hybrid career fair.
Keep it simple
Make the registration process streamlined whether it’s an in-person or virtual career fair. Make sure your registration is easy to navigate on your website and that the registration platform is user friendly. You can even utilize a QR code on your home page that takes jobseekers right to your registration. A good rule of thumb is the job seeker should be able to register anywhere, especially from their smartphone on the go. Always check to make sure your website is compatible and easy to navigate on tablet and phone devices. It’s also important to put the career fair information on you career center page so that potential job seekers looking at postings can also see the upcoming career event and register. You can even put your registration link on your organization’s social media platforms to help attract job seekers from all over that might be interested in attending your event. This tip is especially important if your career fair is being held virtually as your attendance is not limited to location.
When planning your networking options, you need to first break it down by which event you are planning first. For in-person career fairs, you can go the traditional route of hosting a reception after the career fair has ended. This is a great opportunity for job seekers to continue conversations about the open positions they initiated during the career fair. Before the event begins you can also consider a welcome kickoff event at breakfast, start the day with high energy! Any kind of networking is a great way for job seekers to connect to other job seekers to help build their network. Another fun networking opportunity at in-person career fairs is to host a head shot booth. This will allow networking while job seekers wait to update their professional photos. Games and drawings are also great ways to start that networking connection at an in-person career fair. Allowing attendees to check in at various stations and booths will help make the first conversations get started a bit easier. Finally, think about having a resume help center with mock interviews as another ice breaking option.
If you are focusing on planning virtual then you might be thinking out of the box a little to come up with virtual networking opportunities. Utilizing virtual event software can help you make those connections quicker and more streamlined. Virtual career fairs can utilize video, audio, and text-based chatting. Networking and connecting during sessions are also great in a chat feature. Talk with your software provider about what networking options are available to maximize the exposure for your attendees.
Getting the word out
So now that we have learned a bit about registration and networking, let’s dive in a bit more into the event marketing. The great thing about virtual career fairs is you can market to anyone all over the country! There is no limit on attendees as you don’t have to worry about the travel aspect. Make sure you are utilizing your social media channels, website, and career center to market the event. Blogs and press releases are also great avenues to pursue marketing your career fair. You can even host a webinar about the upcoming career fair so attendees can understand what to expect about the event as well as the online event platform you are running the event on. You can market your in-person event very similarly, but keep in mind to communicate travel accommodations and hotel booking deadlines to ensure your in-person attendees have all the information they need. You will also want to make sure to provide a map of the event location as well as a timeline agenda so you’re in-person attendees know where to go. Putting this information on the back of their event name badge is also a great way to keep all the information together. If you are utilizing and event app, make sure to send the app and login information at least a week before the event so attendees and registration and get started on the app. It is helpful to put any video tutorials about technology being used at your event for both in-person and virtual events. Include a contact number should anyone get stuck and need to reach out for troubleshooting.
Follow up and survey
This may seem like a simple practice, but it is one that is often overlooked. Sending post event surveys and thank you emails can leave a positive impact on your audience, while also giving you valuable insight into the event from multiple perspectives.
No matter what option you select for your career fair, it will always be a success as you are helping to connect job seekers to employers to help grow and advance careers. That is a powerful thing to help someone reach their next milestone. Both options provide several benefits so it’s all a matter of picking the best option for your organization.
Check out our customer success story for the Society of Women Engineers. With large employer participating driving revenue, satisfied candidates, and continued growth year over year, it is no doubt that SWE has captured one of the most successful ROI’s for their Virtual Career Fairs.