When hosting a virtual career fair, there are several moving parts that you need to account for; however, it can be difficult to communicate information properly and ensure that all your participants are on the same page due to the decentralized nature of a virtual career fair.
The end result is that participants may end up confused, causing you a lot of headache and an overflowing inbox of inquiries.
This shortlist of 7 best practices provides a quick rundown on the must-do’s when it comes to successfully hosting a virtual career fair.
Regardless of the virtual career fair platform that you end up using, these are best practices that should be followed to ensure that your virtual fair is smoothly implemented:
- Notify your stakeholders early
- Plan your event details early
- Learn your platform
- Set stakeholder expectations
- Provide preparation material
- Make your participants test their equipment
- Provide a virtual help desk
Notify your Stakeholders Early
Like an in-person fair, early communication about your virtual fair is paramount to ensure that all your stakeholders can keep your event in mind.
Even if your virtual fair isn’t set up yet, you should still notify your target audience that you plan to host an event. If possible, you should also provide a specified date so that your stakeholders can put a calendar hold for it.
By doing this, recruiters and job seekers alike can better prepare and keep their calendars open for your virtual fair.
Plan your Event Details Early
Any event, even if it’s virtual, will have several moving parts. To ensure that you can allot proper time for all the various pieces of a virtual fair, you should begin planning at least a month in advance.
Early planning will give you the proper margin of safety to take care of setup steps like:
- Event setup & logistics
- Booth registration
- Job seeker and recruiter preparation
- Event promotion
- Training webinars
On the flip side, a rushed event is a recipe for disaster and will most likely lead to issues such as:
- Unprepared participants
- Technical difficulties
- Low turnout
Learn your Platform
Although it may seem redundant, it is absolutely essential that you fully learn the virtual career fair platform that you’re using. A cursory understanding of your platform will leave you vulnerable to potential pitfalls and issues that you didn’t foresee.
Additionally, if you have a solid grasp of your platform, you can better anticipate and answer questions that will inevitably arise from your stakeholders. This will be absolutely critical during the days leading up to the event when job seekers and recruiters alike begin asking questions about the logistics of your virtual fair.
Set Stakeholder Expectations
A virtual career fair is going to be a different experience than an in-person career fair. Some participants may have never taken part in a virtual fair. Consequently, it’s very important that you clearly set expectations so that you can avoid unrealistic requests and get everyone on the same page.
For instance, when setting expectations, some things to communicate are:
- When should recruiters have their virtual booths set up?
- When are job seekers expected to join the event and connect with recruiters?
- What is the timeframe of your virtual fair?
Recruiter & Job Seeker Prep
- What equipment should recruiters test ahead of the virtual fair? (IE camera, mic, etc.)
- When and how should job seekers share their resumes and cover letters with recruiters?
- What sort of event etiquette should job seekers and recruiters alike have? IE Dress etiquette, punctuality, etc.
By properly setting expectations, you set realistic goal posts for your participants which ultimately leads to higher event satisfaction. If people go into your event thinking that they’re going to get “X” but they get “Y”, that’s a recipe for disgruntled participants.
Provide Preparation Material
To ensure that your virtual event goes smoothly, it’s crucial that you provide preparation material for both your job seekers and recruiters.
Especially in a virtual setting, there will be an additional learning curve beyond a traditional in-person career fair.
On top of traditional prep material such as:
- Dress etiquette tips
- Elevator pitch ideas
- Resume best practices
You will want to have preparation material for the “virtual” component of your event. This can encompass topics like:
- How to set up a virtual event profile
- How to engage with recruiters
- How to navigate your virtual fair
Any upfront preparation that you provide ahead of time will only ensure that your event goes that much smoother on the day-of.
Make your Participants Test their Equipment
Although equipment testing might fall within the aforementioned topic of preparation material, we think it’s important enough to mention on its own.
All too often, employers or job seekers will come into the virtual event without having tested their equipment whether it’s their computer mic, camera, or screenshare. Consequently, when equipment issues arise on the day of the event, they’re caught off guard and end up having a bad experience.
As such, your participants should absolutely test their equipment at least a day beforehand so that they can troubleshoot issues ahead of time.
Provide a Day-Of Virtual Help Desk
If you have the bandwidth, a day-of virtual help desk is something that will help you smooth out any wrinkles that inevitably occur during your event.
Unfortunately, there will almost always be a handful of unprepared participants that run into issues. The help desk will allow you to alleviate their problems so that they don’t cause issues for other participants IE late appointments, no-shows, etc.
A help desk could simply come in the form of a Zoom support room that you can direct participants to if they have problems.
Virtual fairs come in all shapes and sizes. That said, no matter what platform you may be using or event size you may be planning for, these best practices will help you avoid pitfalls during the planning and implementation process. This shortlist is not an end-all-be-all; however, if you keep these in mind for your virtual fair, you’ll be in good shape for a smooth event.