Implementing Virtual Career Fairs
A Consultant’s Perspective: Implementing Virtual Career Fairs
In a matter of weeks, COVID-19 has taken over colleges and universities around the world. Classes have moved online, conferences have been canceled, and all student services now require virtualization. The virtual delivery of these services, however, require a great amount of planning, support, and strategic communications to students, among other considerations. If we take the planning and execution of a student career fair as an example, until recently, institutions would organize an on-campus career fair inviting multiple employers to reserve a stand or booth and interact with students. In turn, students would practice their elevator pitches, prepare their CVs, conduct research on participating employers and show up at the fair. Due to the existing situation, these types of fairs are no longer a viable option.
Student services staff are now looking for a rapid deployment of virtual solutions that would allow them to facilitate these types of fairs or services. Additionally, the desired solutions need to be user-friendly with powerful analytics and a high degree of configuration. Symplicity CSM boasts a range of capabilities that facilitate student and employer engagement. Careers and student services staff can continue to offer core services to students, alumni, and employers virtually.
Some of these capabilities include:
- Real-time chat between employers and the university
- Real-time chat between students/alumni and the university
- Virtual fairs and real-time interactions between employers and students
- Mock interview practice and video recording
- An interactive job board powered by an algorithm based on student behavior and preferences
- The possibility of sharing virtual resources among others
CSM’s Virtual Career Fair feature (VCF) provides a way for employers and students to chat through online chat sessions. Employers can create canned responses prior to the VCF start. When the virtual fair begins, employer contacts access the chat via the employer interface and students access the chat via the student interface. Moreover, employers can preview which students have registered for the fair and proactively reach out to them.
Several Symplicity CSM clients have already run multiple day career fairs in the past 2-3 weeks, facilitating close to 1000 interactions between students and employers. It has been especially helpful for staff to continue support student success by not having their employability events interrupted. Prior to the career fair, students were encouraged to practice their elevator pitch using the Symplicity mock interview feature. Additionally, employers were able to review student resumes and profiles before actually interacting with them in real time. Upon completion of the fair, the university staff can run reports using the reporting engine to review registrations and participation to the fair, identifying the most on-demand employers and the most active students.
A Strategic Implementation Approach
Universities ought to consider the longer-term impact of rapid deployments and evaluate the usability and robustness of the solution as well as the reliability of the solution provider. Any successful implementation of such a solution remains to be a project that needs to be managed with the appropriate approach. Very often, SaaS solutions require some time before showcasing the benefits they deliver and leave little space of customizations based on the unique university’s requirements. Additionally, no matter how fast they are deployed, career center staff training remains to be a fundamental component of their correct adoption.
At Symplicity, we follow a phased consultative approach for all our implementations, including a process discovery phase that translates to the desired “to be” processes using our solutions functionality. User enablement through interactive exercises and early adoption is a core component of all of our proposals. All implementations are tracked through an online project management tool which clients have visibility at all times and can see the next phases with associated tasks to be completed over a timeline. In the last 30 days, the Symplicity team has already successfully completed implementations in the United States, Mexico, Singapore and Australia.