CASE STUDY

How the Public Sector Can Leverage Digital Career Fairs to Find Higher-Quality Recruits

Career fairs have been a challenge for all businesses since the COVID-19 pandemic, including organizations in the public sector. The pandemic forever changed the way we work. Organizations face challenges like The Great Resignation and staffing shortages like never before. Now, the Mission Square Research Group says that 30% of public sector employees can see themselves changing jobs.

Agencies have to rethink the hiring process and consider remote hiring options. Like many things related to public gatherings, business meetings have gone digital, including career fairs. Public sector organizations have begun using virtual career fairs to find new employees.

How can public sector agencies leverage online career fairs to bring in more qualified potential employees, and how can they develop and implement a digital strategy for recruiting? Learn more about harnessing the power of digital job fairs and some virtual career fair tips for employers.

What is a Digital Career Fair?

A virtual career fair is a recruitment event that connects job candidates and recruiters virtually. It’s the same as an in-person job fair, except the whole event is held online. Let’s look at the pros and cons of online job fairs.

Pros

  • Virtual career fairs are very efficient.

One of the great things about holding job fairs online is that they are quite efficient and effective. One of the main reasons for this is they give recruiters more time with potential employees, which makes it easier for them to pick the right candidates. Extra time with job candidates helps eliminate the guess working in figuring out who to hire.

  • More people attend virtual career fairs than in-person virtual career fairs.

Remote job fairs have higher attendance rates than in-person ones. They often have a 70% participation rate versus 50% for in-person career fairs, according to virtual event company Brazen. They also tend to have better-quality candidates because organizations can target their ideal employees with ads to increase the number of qualified people.

Cons

  • It’s not the same as meeting potential candidates in person.

While virtual career fairs are great, it’s simply not the same as meeting candidates in person. Physical one-on-one conversations are important. In some cases, virtual meetings can sometimes make building a strong relationship with potential employees a bit more difficult.

  • People who aren’t tech-savvy may feel uncomfortable at digital job fairs.

Job candidates who aren’t as familiar with the newest technology may be hesitant to interact with prospective employers. If this is a concern though, you can remedy it with a platform that’s easy to use. Alternatively, you can host a pre-job fair that is strictly an informational event on the easy-to-use platform to help those that aren’t tech-savvy.

How Can the Public Sector Use Digital Career Fairs for Recruiting?

Public sector organizations can use virtual career fairs to highlight the importance of jobs in the public sector as well as the great benefits they offer. Many people are drawn to public sector jobs because of the important roles they play in state, local and federal governments. Organizations can use this to their benefit to showcase just how vital these roles are.

This is especially true for millennials, for whom the purpose of a career is often more important than other benefits. Millennials want to be part of something much bigger than they are, so highlighting the value of public service can instill pride.

Public sector organizations can focus on showing potential employees the advantages of working for them—such as flexibility—by offering a hybrid work environment or remote schedule opportunities. Other benefits to highlight include:

  • Mental health care
  • Childcare
  • Paid leave
  • Holidays off or holiday repays

By offering help and incentives like wellness programs, Employee Assistance Programs and flexible work environments, public sector agencies can gain a competitive advantage over private-sector jobs.

How the California Department of Toxic Substances Control Leveraged a Digital Career Fair

Are you still not convinced that virtual career fairs can be very beneficial? Let’s look at a case study of how one public sector organization used a remote job fair to its benefit.

The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) in California hosted a virtual career fair in February of 2022. They used ads and other methods to target lists of candidates for IT, Environmental, Community Colleges, Legal, Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). DTSC had 561 attendees in one day. This public sector agency kept ad costs down with a targeted outreach to their ideal employees with great results. You can see a breakdown of their ads and statistics on their event dashboard.

Key Takeaways

As you can see, online job fairs can be very beneficial for public sector hiring. They have higher attendance than in-person events and are very efficient even though they don’t allow for the same in-person connections that traditional career fairs do. You have also seen an example of one public sector agency’s use of virtual career fairs, which can serve as an example of how you might be able to use digital career fairs for your organization's future recruiting efforts.

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Jason Litchney

Jason Litchney brings over 15 years of experience and passion in marketing for the public, private and non-profit sectors. Jason is a dedicated leader, national speaker and entrepreneur responsible for founding and managing the growth of multiple organizations recognized on the INC 500 fastest growing companies list. Jason serves as the Marketing and Employment Branding Manager at CPS HR Consulting and helps public agencies brand their organization to attract and retain talent.

About CPS HR Consulting

CPS HR Consulting is a self-supporting public agency providing a full range of integrated HR solutions to government and nonprofit clients across the country.  Our strategic approach to increasing the effectiveness of human resources results in improved organizational performance for our clients.  We have a deep expertise and unmatched perspective in guiding our clients in the areas of organizational strategy, recruitment and selection, classification and compensation, and training and development.