Virtual Job Fair Best Practices From Rob Stout, CenturyLink

Posted by Kathleen Smith

As Lead Recruiter at CenturyLink, Rob Stout has experience participating in virtual career fairs and building and nurturing relationships with candidates and hiring managers. We interviewed Stout to gain insights right from the source, to find out how job seekers can make the most of a virtual job fair and make a good impression on recruiters. Consider these tips to help you prepare, participate, and follow-up like a pro.

What’s the First Step of Preparing for a Virtual Job Fair

Research the participating companies and do your best to get an understanding of what the companies are all about—how their products, services, and the technologies they employ apply to your background. Just as we get an opportunity to prepare by reviewing resumes in advance, candidates should take advantage of whatever lead-time they have. Based on which companies will be in attendance, do that research and try to match yourself up with the kinds of jobs that are consistent with your background, skills, and abilities.

How Can Job Seekers Set up for Success in a Chat-Based Platform

Amazingly, a lot of the same principles apply in a virtual environment as they do offline. Have an elevator pitch ready to go and be as prepared as possible with respect to what it is you bring to the party. If you have a pre-canned or pre-packaged elevator pitch, it will be easy to cut and paste from a document into the virtual platform’s chat.

The biggest thing that candidates can do during these kinds of events is to be patient. I’ve been on events where there have been 4 or 5 company representatives involved and each of us had maybe 3 or 4 people in the queue. The people who are behind the screen on this side of the equation are sometimes working with multiple candidates at a time. So be patient and don’t let your frustration present itself in the tone of your texting if there are delays. In text there is a lack of context. There is no tone of voice that you can use to make your point, so just be patient and try to have your elevator pitch ready to go. Copy it, paste it, and let the individual who is reviewing it digest it for a minute.

How Can Candidates Make the Most of Timed Chats

In addition to having some understanding and knowledge of the company itself, invest time before the event to identify some specific jobs you’re interested in. Identify one or two jobs that are a really good fit, and develop a pitch with respect to that specific job. Reference the requisition number or job title and try to relate not only to the person that you’re communicating with but relate to them through the job that you’re interested in. This flows pretty well in 8-10 minutes. It’s a fair amount of time to develop an understanding of whether the person is a really good fit for this requirement or if they may in fact fit one of my coworkers’ requirements. So it’s plenty of time to get your message out there and present your skills and abilities in a way that will take you to the next step in the process.

What’s a Common Mistake Job Seekers Make

Having absolutely no idea what we do. “What can you tell me about XYZ Company?” That’s the first question that most recruiters are going to throw at you. They want to know that you’ve taken some time and invested in learning as much as you can about the company. If you can’t answer that initial question, chances are there won’t be a lot of interest in your candidacy going forward.

What Should Participants Do If Video Is Involved

Wear a nice outfit and dress for success. It’s hard sometimes to develop decorum with the little light on the camera on your computer, but with some practice it comes with time. In advance of the event, make sure you’ve checked out all your equipment to minimize the opportunity of technical glitches.

Also, try not to be in a public place. Not a Starbucks or Panera with free Wi-Fi and activity going on in the background. Find a quiet location within your home office if that’s possible. Somewhere in the home that’s quiet or out of the way, where you and the interviewer is not going to be distracted by the activities going on in the house. Roll with the punches if you’re interrupted by a dog barking or an Amazon delivery at the front door. You want to do everything you can to minimize interruptions to give the best impression you can without distractions.

How Should Job Seekers Follow Up

I personally try my best to reach back to everyone, but it’s difficult at times. It’s a lot easier for the job seeker, because chances are they’re going to be pursuing a much smaller number of employment opportunities than that of the candidate pool for a recruiter. I don’t mind providing my contact info. I would certainly ask for it so you can do the appropriate follow-up and establish contact. If the recruiter is hesitant to give you their contact info you can go to LinkedIn and try to contact them that way. I typically respond to every career fair candidate that reaches back to me through that mechanism. It helps build my network and theirs.

If you have a CI or FS Polygraph chat with representatives from CenturyLink at our June 11 Cleared Job Fair.

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 04, 2020 11:43 am

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