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If you’ve ever tried recruiting via online career fairs, you know the value of using this new technology to find the best candidates. Just like in-person recruiting, online recruiting is most effective if you have a strategy, a plan for evaluating candidates and getting the most out of your time at the event.
Since we’ve run hundreds of events over the last few years, we’ve seen how top recruiters use online events to find and entice the exact type of candidates they’re looking for. Here are a few strategies that consistently work well, ideas you can apply at your next online recruiting event:
1. Talk to as many candidates as possible
To find the candidates best suited for the positions you’re recruiting for, talk with as many people as you can. This is your chance to get a lot of quality interviews under your belt in a short period of time!
Just think: no need to walk the last candidate to the elevators, take them to lunch before you even know whether you click, or even waste time on 10 minutes of small talk. In fact, at Brazen, we see value in time limits, with eight minutes as the sweet spot. That’s just enough time for you to see whether each candidate is a good fit, and enough time for the candidate to want the job — but short enough to make sure you don’t miss your lunch break.
2. Prepare standard questions and answers
Before the event, open Microsoft Word or Google Docs and type out answers you expect to use frequently and questions you think you’ll ask more than once. When you’re ready, copy and paste them into the chat window. By having these questions and answers ready, you’ll be able to speed up the conversation and move onto what really matters for hiring.
3. Break the ice
Just because the event is online doesn’t mean everyone’s less nervous than in-person events. Use the chat to put candidates at ease and share fun facts about your organization. You can even add these ice breakers to your file of prepared questions and answers so you’re not scrambling to come up with ideas.
Something like, “Thank you for participating today! I’m as happy to meet you as I am on Doughnut Day here at XYZ Corp,” followed up with, “What’s your favorite type of doughnut?” makes interacting with you less intimidating for the candidate.
Plus, the interviews will go more smoothly when everyone’s relaxed and able to present their best self, which means you’re more likely to walk away with the perfect candidate in your virtual file.
4. Take advantage of the platform’s tools
Every online career fair platform has built-in tools to make recruiting easier. Take a few minutes before the event to familiarize yourself with them so you can get as much as possible out of the time you have with candidates.
Brazen’s platform, for example, offers ratings for candidates, notes and a dashboard. Take a moment after talking to each candidate to give them a rating between one and five stars and jot down your thoughts; those notes will come in handy later.
When the event is over, use those ratings to choose which candidates to follow up with. The dashboard makes it easy to identify the top candidates, and your notes will help you strengthen your initial connection when you follow up.
5. Use digital content to make your brand stand out
Adapt your promotional materials to the medium. At an online event, you want solid digital content that informs the job seeker about your organization and sets you apart from everyone else. Videos, PDF downloads and employee testimonials are all excellent options.
6. Have your employee ambassadors participate, too
Online career fairs make it easy to get others on your team involved because they can participate without leaving the office. If you’re hiring for a specific position, ask your top talent to help recruit. As a bonus, being able to talk with current employees is appealing to candidates. If you’re hiring engineers, for example, letting the candidates talk with your top engineers can go a long way toward bringing your favorite applicants on board.
7. Follow up
Just because the event is over doesn’t mean your work is done. (Click here to tweet this thought.) Don’t forget to follow up with your top candidates! While some recruiters might sign off from the event having added a new member to their team, most will need to follow up to seal the deal.
If you spoke with a quality candidate who isn’t a good fit for the positions you’re recruiting for at the moment, stay in touch. You never know when a position will open that would utilize that person’s skills. Use the data you collect during the event to populate your talent community — and keep them informed of new openings or other online events.
Ryan Healy is COO and Co-Founder of Brazen Careerist.