COVID-19 is not what anyone had planned for this year’s recruitment season. Candidates, colleagues, and colleges did not know that in the spring of 2020, we’d be searching for every kind of “virtual” alternative to our usual day-to-day. With social distancing efforts in place in every state, it’s understandable to be a bit at a loss as to how to create a career fair environment while observing safe practices.
A fantastic example of how to cope with the cancellation of a career fair is to hold one… virtually! This is inspired by the quick thinking of one of our customers, Ascension Parish School District, who realized this career fair alternative. To conduct a virtual career fair, you need to have a way to:
- Allow candidates to provide you with their application
- Introduce yourself and the team candidates would join
- Learn how candidates present themselves
These are the insights you’d typically gain from a career fair, so they’re the goal of a virtual career fair as well. Additionally, with the infrastructure you create for the virtual career fair, you’ll also be able to attract more candidates, and improve your candidate review process.
Virtual Career Fair Tech
Allowing candidates to send you their application and other qualifying documents (like licenses, test scores, and transcripts) is likely something already built into your hiring process through your applicant tracking system (Pro Tip: Consider a K-12 focused ATS like PowerSchool). Before the career fair, work with your team to ensure all of your available positions are inside your ATS and available on the careers section of your district’s website. To do this, you will need to have clear, concise job descriptions for every role.
Now, for the real question: how do you enable the types of conversations you’d have with candidates at a career fair? This is where video interviews come in.
Through video interviews, you and your team can either a) ask candidates an agreed-upon list of interview questions, creating a consistent candidate experience, or b) invite candidates to a real-time conversation with you. These two options leverage two types of video interviews: one-way and live. Through a video interviewing platform, you’ll have access to not only these two types of interviews, but also accompanying tools like an interview scheduler, customized branding, and the opportunity to create more personalized connections utilizing your videos.
To have a successful virtual career fair, you’ll need to invite plenty of candidates. While you may have previously been able to rely on a well-placed advertisement in a high-traffic area, you will now need to take a look at virtual opportunities for promotion.
The opportunities could include:
- Reaching out to universities’ schools of education
- Placing promotions with professional teacher organizations – whether through a mention within an upcoming newsletter or events page on their website, or a digital advertisement
- Outreach to generate word-of-mouth through your current employee and candidate pools
An additional tip for your candidate relations is to outline the process you’re creating for the virtual career fair and provide candidates with resources for success beforehand, like links to 24×7 technical support, and a candidate bootcamp.
Review Candidate Responses
When you create and conduct your virtual career fair with the help of a video interviewing platform, you’ll be able to review candidate interviews immediately. A silver lining in this pivot is that you will be able to sort through candidates faster than ever before and hand off the best of the best to the rest of the review committee. Your additional reviewers can then add comments and ratings, allowing you to quickly understand your top candidates and invite them to the next stage of your process.
“Our district was initially excited about Spark Hire,” says Lisa Carter, Supervisor of Human Resources at Ascension Public Schools. “They are no longer merely excited; they are grateful for this platform. COVID-19 is presenting the opportunity to examine current strategies and re-define the new normal. Spark Hire is instrumental in our interviewing processes. The principals enjoy the ability to view the interviews at their convenience. Another valuable feature is the ability to share virtual interviews with other members of the school leadership teams. The one-way interviews are used as a first interview or “pre-screening” process which can progress into a two-way interview process.”
As challenging as this ‘new normal’ is, education must continue, and your hiring process with it. An extra benefit of your virtual career fair is it also serves as a “job audition” for your teachers. If online learning must continue, you’ve got ready-made insights into how your new teachers will conduct themselves when they’re in the virtual classroom.
Fall 2020 Update: Ascension Public Schools again incorporated video interviews into their fall hiring. They further improved their process by allowing candidates to complete their entire application packet, providing their resume, Praxis scores, certificate, and transcripts and complete their one-way interview online. They advertised and promoted this fast-track on social media, their district website, and to their talent pool. Promotion of the positions included a due date allowing the hiring team plenty of time to review applications and create a shortlist for the next step: live video interviews. Now the district is ready for anything coming their way in 2021.