Welcome to the brave new world of virtual careers fairs and recruitment events!
Next week, LSE Careers will be hosting our first in a series of sector-focused virtual careers fairs (VCFs) with our Consultancy, Banking and Financial Services Fair. Next month will also see law firms and public sector organisations descend into our virtual recruitment halls and set up their booths complete with company information, video links and online graduate brochure!
These VCFs offer a real opportunity to meet with graduate recruiters and others in the business who will be on hand to answer your questions via text or video chat and share information about their organisations and the work they do, their company culture, career paths and the schemes they have on offer. By virtue of being virtual, there’s no longer the same geographical restrictions, no queuing at a busy stand for a short conversation with a recruiter when you’re conscious of the line of people behind you, there’s the opportunity to meet a wider range of companies who might not have planned a campus visit, plus you’re more likely to not just meet HR and graduate recruitment teams but people actually doing the jobs you are interested in, enabling you to explore more fully different career paths and job roles.
VCFs mark a change in recruitment practices accelerated by the pandemic, but that have been taking place over several years. This looks set to stay. Advances in technology and AI, an increasing focus on costs and sustainability, the exponential growth in online networking, video interviewing platforms and ATS systems, more focus on data and efficiencies in scheduling and planning all mean that VCFs and other online and virtual recruitment practices are here to stay. A recent ISE webinar suggested that the vast majority would continue to both market themselves and then recruit virtually.
What the move to VCFs and online recruitment does mean though is a move away from more traditional forms of campus engagement. It’s certainly the case that on university campuses across the globe, some of the larger recruiters you would have expected to see at careers fairs or hosting presentations, have changed tack. It’s unlikely they will revert back to a full campus model. With offices spanning countries and globally, advanced virtual presentation, conference and careers fair platforms with their associated planning and scheduling efficiencies and with recruitment teams running their own social media campaigns, these employers have the capability to run their own recruitment fairs and branded events. And why wouldn’t they? What a great way to showcase what’s on offer to a diverse and inclusive audience, and engage directly with job hunters who want to work just for you?
So what does this mean for you, the job hunter keen to target one of these bigger players? If they’re no longer coming onto campus to run general graduate recruitment events and presentations or taking part in campus led careers fairs, then your job-hunting approach needs to adapt. It’s a good idea to start following these organisations on social media to get the latest updates on their hiring plans, information on any virtual events they are hosting and to connect directly. Check their websites too as many have their own recruitment and events pages.
What we are seeing is that this profile of employer is now much more likely to run bespoke, targeted events offering small groups of students the opportunity to take part in interactive activities and engage in deeper conversations. These will often have a focus whether that be sector or diversity specific or to target students with specific skills set like STEM. Here at LSE Careers we have a growing number of industry-focused panels, interactive coffee mornings, diversity themed initiatives and employer-led skills sessions all giving you sector and employer insights and the opportunity to make meaningful connections. Virtual curriculum content is another way of finding out more about organisations, careers paths on offer and the work you might be doing. Do check out our online events page for an overview and see more information and sign up via CareerHub. Remember these events are LSE specific and these organisations are keen to target you.
As well as the LSE Careers VCFs, through LSE Careers, you can also access HigherEd’s VCFs with sectors include finance, consulting, management, digital marketing, analytics and others. These VCFs also run on a geographical basis so depending on nationality and where you want to work you can meet with organisations and hear about opportunities in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), the Americas and Asia Pacific. The HigherEd VCFs are open to students and alumni from a number of universities, across the globe. We have also seen some start-ups branching into sector specific VCFs as well as established graduate focussed careers companies like TargetJobs launching their own VCFs to offer UK based local and national virtual graduate recruitment fairs.
So our advice to job hunters is to put your LSE research skills to the test to find out who is doing what, branch out from campus-based searches alone and be prepared to engage with your target employers in a myriad of ways. Maybe you weren’t able to secure a place at that LSE Careers VCF but don’t despair. You can still see who was there by looking at the event information and list of exhibitors on CareerHub. There is nothing to stop you looking on their website or contacting them directly. It’s a brave new world of graduate recruitment but as the saying goes, ‘fortune favours the brave’.
Good luck with all your virtual engagement this term and remember that LSE Careers is here to help you every step of the way. Your career, your journey.