Virtual Events: How to go from Good to Great
The pandemic has disrupted how students and employers experience recruitment. Luckily, the plethora of digital tools available made it possible to speedily transition to online recruitment. The urgency to find employment is more important in this job market than ever before, which is why schools have transitioned to hosting virtual career fairs, networking events, and student treks.
In our experience hosting hundreds of online events, we have found a couple key factors that differentiate a good virtual event from a great one.
Have a plan
Try to reflect on what you want to get from your virtual career event. As a school, you must reflect on event objectives, so that you can make key decisions around the structure of your event. Do you need a one-day event jam packed with sequential sessions, or is an event with sessions over multiple days better? Maybe you want to have streams of sessions by industry or type of employer, but also need to manage potential conflicts among employers running sessions in parallel. At Careernomics, we have 15 years of experience in online events, and are here to advise you in the creation and planning of your virtual career event, so you can meet your goals.
Keep it human
True connections are made when things are unforced and informal. Think of the cocktail hour wrapping up a full day career fair. This is a time to interact without pressure so personal connections can be made, allowing students and recruiters to get a feel for whether their personalities and values align. Recruitment doesn’t happen in the amphitheater during an impressive presentation, but rather afterwards, when recruiters and students can actually get to know each other. We enable that environment with relaxed coffee chat and one.on.one sessions.
A variety of session types
A lot of hard work goes into recruiting employers, so once you have a company on board, why limit yourself (and them!) to a webinar? A corporate presentation is good, but a Presentation + a Panel + a Live Booth is great! Using multiple session types allows for engagement in various formats. Moreover, multi-session capability means you can cater to each employer’s needs, as well as propose the appropriate session type for a particular situation. For example, an experienced recruiter from a long-established company might benefit from one.on.one sessions, while a representative from a startup could enjoy a free flowing yet exciting Live Booth that allows them to connect with candidates.
Tried and tested tech
It goes without saying that you need a robust platform that can handle a high volume of students and parallel sessions, provide analytics, and offer excellent customer support. Make sure to participate in a demo first, so you can see the UX for yourself. You want to get a feel for how your students and employers will experience the event. Sometimes, it is the simple things that can make a difference in the experience. Things such as having a queue counting down the minutes before your turn in a coffee chat session, being able to register employers for the event yourself, and the capability to target specific sessions to a group of students can really make a difference between a good and great event.
Bang for your buck
Thankfully, virtual events cost a fraction of a live event. This means you can consider investing in a platform-as-a-service model, where someone manages and markets your online event for you. Make your own life easier by delegating the marketing and tech support to Careernomics. Not only do we make your life easier by providing you with marketing materials and guides, but we also make employer’s lives easier by setting up their booths, company profiles, and taking them through a test-run before the big day. And best of all, we don’t lock you into a subscription you may not want or need, so we are highly invested in making sure you make the most of your event.
Broaden your horizons
Saving the best for last, a great virtual event will do what an in-person event can’t: break down the barriers of location, time zones, and travel. Embrace the online setting and invite employers from other states and countries who might otherwise not have made the trip! Now that they can participate from the comfort of their homes, attendance should increase. This makes for an interesting event and provides added value for international students, too.
Here’s to wishing everyone a great career fair this spring!