Meetings Tech

ON24 Reports Major Growth in Virtual Career Fairs

By Matt Alderton
March 13, 2012

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Virtual Career Fair Tips for Jobseekers

Looking for a new opportunity? Consider the following tips from virtual events provider ON24 before attending your first virtual job fair:

1. Avoid using emoticons and Internet abbreviations: "While several of us type 'OMG' or 'J' online, these shortcuts may not be appropriate for online interviews conducted over chat," ON24 says. "A good rule of thumb is to avoid abbreviations and slang during the interviews. Recruiters tell ON24 that job seekers need to take every communication during a virtual show seriously."

2. Browse before sending your resume: "Several companies participating in virtual career fairs tell ON24 that the resumes they receive are often too broad and not specific to positions that are posted," ON24 says. "Instead of blanketing every booth with your resume, you may consider looking at the jobs first and tailoring your resume to for the positions that most interest you — something you can't do at a physical job fair."

3. Wear a nice shirt and clean up your home office: "While many people think they can attend a virtual show in their pajamas, a good conversation with a recruiter can lead to a Skype conversation in minutes," ON24 says. "Jobseekers who don't want to lose momentum should make sure they are wearing a nice shirt (avoid white and patterns, which don't look good on webcams, in favor of blues and greens). Also, since Skype conversations usually capture the background behind you, make sure it's clean and professional."

4. Check your social media profiles: "While most job seekers have their resumes ready, they need to know that during a virtual career fair things happen quickly," ON24 says. "So, if recruiters start chatting with you during the show, they may also be looking at your LinkedIn profile — as well as your Facebook or Twitter postings. Make sure your professional details are updated and anything embarrassing on Facebook is hidden from public view."

5. Relax (but not too much): "While confidence is a good thing, prospective employers report that candidates are often more candid within a virtual job fair than they are in person," ON24 says. "Resist the inclination to be too relaxed. Set some clear goals before attending a virtual job fair, and prepare for the questions you're likely to hear. Jot down your answers and keep them in front of you; after all, unlike an in-person interview, you can refer to your notes while you're chatting with employers online. Remember, these employers will be interacting with hundreds, if not thousands, of candidates, so whatever you can say or do to make yourself stand out in a positive way to hiring managers will help you."
Based on forecasts from U.S. economists, who expect that the United States will add anywhere from 125,000 to 275,000 new jobs this year, virtual events provider ON24 predicts that one of the fastest growing types of virtual events in 2012 will be virtual career fairs.

In fact, the company announced last week that it already has seen major growth in virtual recruitment: The total number of online job fairs hosted on the ON24 platform doubled in 2011 compared to 2010, it reported, adding that virtual career fairs have attracted the largest audiences compared to other types of virtual events.

"While the top application for ON24's virtual event platform remains marketing and demand generation, the growing acceptance of the virtual career fair alternative has been dramatic," said ON24 CMO Denise Persson, who attributes this "growing acceptance" to economic factors and the inefficiencies of traditional recruiting methods. "Traditional techniques aren't effective or efficient in a global economy, [and] their costs are high. Employers need a larger talent pool from which to draw and assistance matching open positions with available candidates. The solution is the virtual job fair."

According to ON24, virtual career fairs offer benefits for both recruiters and jobseekers. For recruiters, benefits include cost-effectiveness, speed and reach, as well as the ability to conduct "mini interviews" on the spot within the virtual environment. For jobseekers, meanwhile, the chief benefits are cost and convenience, as candidates can access virtual career fairs from anywhere using their PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone, and can avoid the hassle and expense of traveling to the interview, printing out resumes, hiring a babysitter, and buying and dry-cleaning "interview outfits."

"This sort of experience just can't be duplicated at a traditional job fair," Persson said. "Both job seekers and hiring companies find that the virtual environment provided by ON24 is a great place to meet, connect and communicate. It is a fast and engaging process that saves everyone time and money."
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