As we head into the 2021-22 academic year and recruiting season, much uncertainty remains. Though many organizations are back in the office and most schools are bringing students back on campus, the majority of career services and recruiting events will remain virtual or hybrid (some combination of in-person and virtual).
GradLeaders recently surveyed schools, workforce development organizations, and other career fair hosts around the country to find out their plans for this Fall. While 14% of respondents stated that they were planning in-person recruiting events again, 31% still plan to host virtual career fairs and 26% are going hybrid. Similarly, only 12% of schools are planning in-person career service workshops, interviews and other events, but the majority (78%) will still be virtual or hybrid this Fall. That’s not a big difference from a year ago. 71% of Fall 2020 events were virtual while 26% didn’t host events at all. It was about the same in Spring 2021 where 70% of schools were hosting virtual events.
As hosts, job seekers, and employers get more accustomed to virtual events, these events are getting better too. Spring 2021 events were rated as being more successful than Fall 2020 events. On average, respondents rated their Fall 2020 events a 6.5 out of 10 and then gave their Spring 2021 events a 7.4 rating.
What makes an event successful? Event hosts stated that the number of job-seeker attendees (8.4 rating out of 10), number of employer attendees (7.0), and number of meetings between those participants (6.8) as most important to the success of a career fair. This is also their biggest concern for Fall 2021 events. But that’s why hybrid events will be the norm for the 2021-22 season and beyond.
Hybrid events offer even more flexibility than virtual events. They’re easier to attend since participants can join via their phone or laptop right from their home without having to take an entire day out of their busy schedule. By taking away the time and cost-of-travel restraints, more employers and job seekers are likely to attend. Plus those who prefer to join in-person and those already in town or on campus can still come to the live event. It’s a win-win that mirrors the customization and personalization options this generation of students desires.
The technology is quickly improving too. In just the past year, GradLeaders has released all-new modules for fully-embedded virtual career fairs, interviews, mocks, workshops, advising, office hours, and info sessions plus hundreds of enhancements to those modules in recent months. Our survey revealed that the 10 most important features for virtual career fair and online recruiting event technology are:
1. Ease of use for job seeker and employers; 2.85 weighted average on a must-have vs. nice-to-have vs. wouldn’t use scale
2. Ease of setup for host school or career center: 2.46
3. After event reporting for host school or career center: 2.39
4. Mobile-friendly platform for job seekers and employers: 2.27
5. Ability to host 1-to-1 and/or 1-to-many or many-to-many video meetings: 2.23
6. Career center booth to help job seeker: 2.15
7. Automated reminders for job seekers when employers are ready-to-meet: 2.11
8. Customization of platform (i.e. custom registration forms, custom assessments for employers, settings for length of time a job seeker has to join employer meeting, etc.): 2.05
9. Flexibility of platform (i.e. custom schedule templates, choice between ques or fixed timeslots, etc.): 1.99
Fully-embedded video meeting solutions with screenshare: 1.99
Live chat solutions in-app: 1.99
10. Pre-event research capabilities for job seekers and employers: 1.95
GradLeaders checks all those boxes and then some – offering event hosts, employers, and job-seeking students or alumni all the tools and customizable solutions needed to host your best virtual or hybrid event this Fall and beyond.
Need help going virtual or hosting your first hybrid event? We’d love to chat and share best practices we’re hearing from our partner schools and host originations. Contact us today!