Everything about talent hangs in the balance these days, from retaining it to hiring. Many HR professionals throw different techniques into the wall to see what gets stuck. One avenue that HR departments might not consider is job fairs. With Omicron becoming more active, meat fairs with stalls full of brochures, quilling lines, and raised necks are no longer on the agenda for many. But virtual job fairs remain very popular as 2022 approaches, a year that is expected to be significant for employment.
in a Employment Trends Report 2022 By LaSalle Network, 63% of survey respondents said their business experienced more turnover in 2021 than in other years on average. In response, 73% of companies surveyed said they are looking to increase their number of employees in 2022. In particular, 33% of respondents said they are looking to take on more customer service jobs; 32% of employers said they are looking to fill accounting and finance roles; 31% were looking to fill positions in information technology, and 30% and 29%, respectively, were looking to fill sales and marketing positions.
About 40% of the companies surveyed said they plan to grow their workforce by more than 10%.
A virtual job fair, though perhaps underestimated, can be a useful tool for this growth. Scott Lubbenberg founded JobFairX in 2017, a recruitment events company that naturally moved to exclusively hosting virtual events when the pandemic hit. Starting in 2022, the job fair company is scheduled to host 500 events in major cities including Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Austin, Miami, New York, Texas, Virginia, New York and Florida.
How it works: Job seekers schedule interviews and conduct interviews with a potential employer virtually – with post-event reporting for both parties folded into the process. “The response has been fantastic,” Lubbenberg told HR Dive via email. “We average over 30 employers at each event and job seekers attendance has increased by 63% since switching to default. It is more convenient [this way] For driving to the venue, paying parking fees, waiting in line, etc.”
Kristen Cruzvergara, chief education strategy officer for university talent company Handshake, notes that students “highly value the one-on-one virtual interaction they have with employers.”
“What we’ve noticed is that unlike the in-person show – where you wait, sometimes for hours to be able to have two minutes or 30 seconds to talk to the recruiter – they can now schedule their time in advance and they’ll have 10 minutes with the employer,” Cruzvergara told HR Dive. Long waiting times may seem like a nuisance or just an inconvenience to many people, but the data suggests that they are a particular obstacle to Black, Latin, and Divergent Talents. According to a 2021 summer study by Handshake, these potential employees feel more confident when participating in virtual job events.
Besides diversifying the company’s talent pool, job fairs may be a way to broaden the network in general.
According to the LaSalle study, the reason for the slowdown in talent drips is diverse. In general, companies have not been able to find enough talent. Furthermore, 53% of survey respondents said their company had difficulty meeting candidate compensation requirements; 61% of survey respondents said they would raise wages in 2022.
Additionally, 41% of respondents cited candidate backsliding – also known as “shadows” – as an issue in 2021. As a solution, LaSalle recommended keeping candidates in touch with more personalized conversations as a solution. (Notably, 29% of respondents said their candidate’s decline was due to the length of their hiring process.)
Finally, 34% of employers noted difficulty finding skilled workers. In particular, participants noted the paucity of talent with the necessary technical skills: people familiar with AI and machine learning, data analytics management, and UX/UI design. LaSalle noted that even in the financial and marketing industries, employers expected talent pools to remain at the forefront of digital innovation.