Cambridge Network's first Virtual Jobs Fair last week - described as 'a great example of a network rolling with the changes' - provided a highly effective platform for local employer organisations to showcase their opportunities and connect with potential candidates, more than 400 of whom had signed up to the online event.
First ever Virtual Jobs Fair is a triumph
Because there was no need to travel, the ‘green’ virtual format saved job seekers and hiring companies both time and money, and allowed participation from people located beyond the Cambridge region. In fact, there was an international audience, with attendees coming from as far afield as Pakistan, Vietnam, Brazil, India, Zambia and the USA, as well as from all over Europe.
Over the course of five hours on the day, all the potential candidates had the chance to participate in a series of short webinars, consisting of presentations from company recruiters from leading local employers including:
• European Bioinformatics Institute - EMBL - EBI
• Bridge Partners & Bridge Fibre
• PA Consulting
Job seekers were able to ask questions through the online chat facility. Candidates also benefited from advice and guidance from a range of recruitment experts who offered valuable tips on LinkedIn profiling, cover letter writing and video interviewing.
Participant comments included:
What a triumph! I’ve been so impressed with what you achieved today with your first virtual careers fair.
Really appreciate these sorts of events, both to keep momentum in the industry and my personal job-hunting, but it's also great for those of us who are in a different part of the country and would otherwise have some difficulty in getting to an event like this.
These online events are particularly convenient if you are working from home.
I felt that this event was a great way to learn about the companies presenting/recruiting in a way that is much less "dry" than just reading their website careers page, and/or job descriptions. Hearing from hiring managers was great…
Aside for the obvious reason for going virtual, this is also a green alternative. I avoided a 100-mile round trip, so possibly would not have attended if not virtual.
I thought listening to the companies via webinar was better than sitting in a hall. I was able to get a front row view and found it easier to ask questions.
A huge congratulations to Cambridge Network for hosting your first ever virtual Jobs Fair. The event was a sell-out, although we’re not surprised with so many amazing businesses to meet and listen to! It was so empowering to be part of something so great today.
"When the lockdown happened, it was obvious that we needed to develop a new format for our popular Jobs Fairs," says Claire Angus, who heads Cambridge Network's Recruitment Gateway. "We knew that some of our members were still hiring and others were keen to stay connected with jobseekers while they paused recruitment activities. They had to realign their interviewing and onboarding processes to take them online but did not want to disappear from the job market.
"Our solution mirrored the kind of exhibition that we would previously put together for a Jobs Fair, with recruiting companies all on show in a big room. This time we asked them to present their vacancies, company culture, technologies, products and services in a linear way through dedicated online sessions. And it all went amazingly well.
"Despite the virtual format, there was still a real 'buzz' about the event. All the presentations were well received and prompted a lot of interactivity, with candidates asking questions throughout the day.”
She added: "We've been really encouraged to carry on and perhaps to extend this type of activity, maybe for apprenticeships, or for specific types of jobs or industry sectors. I'd like to hear from any company that would be interested in working with us on our next planned event, which is currently slated for 16th July."
Write to Claire at Claire.Angus@CambridgeNetwork.co.uk
Cambridge Network is a membership organisation based in the vibrant high technology cluster of Cambridge, UK. We bring people together - from business and academia - to meet each other and share ideas, encouraging collaboration and partnership for shared success.