An online job fair is a meeting of employers and potential employees in a virtual space. It uses the connectivity of the Internet to drive real-time interaction between parties in various geographic locations. Companies that provide support for this type of virtual event use customized software that has components of Internet streaming, video conferencing, live chat, and file sharing.
The traditional job fair is organized much in the same way as an ordinary trade conference. Companies set up tables and booths in a common area. Applicants circulate through the room, gather marketing materials, ask questions of company representatives, drop off resumes, and participate in interviews. Scheduled events take place throughout the day, including educational workshops, motivational seminars, and company-run informational sessions. Informal opportunities to meet, greet, and network are typically organized around meals or session breaks.
Expenses to operate an ordinary job fair can be high. The format also presents significant scheduling difficulties to coordinate participation by multiple companies from around the world. Unless the sponsor of the job fair is well established, it can be quite challenging to engage companies beyond a local area. The advent widespread Internet use has made the online job fair a viable format that builds upon the traditional job fair to increase opportunities for engagement.
An online job fair coordinates many of the same activities as the traditional job fair, but the event happens in a virtual space that substitutes a connection over the Internet for physical proximity. Use of the Internet has progressed to the point where people can see and hear what is going on at the other end of the connection. People at great distances can interact in real-time through voice or text at a modest expense. This technological advancement in social interactivity has enabled companies to moderate virtual interactions that have the same effect as a physical meeting.
Applicants at an online job fair can circulate through company informational spaces in the same way as they circulated from table to table in a traditional format. They can join a chat room discussion with company representatives, transmit resumes over the Internet, or watch workshops on live streams. Interview appointments can be made in advance and conducted over a video conference connection. Free form networking can be conducted virtually through the use of chatrooms and other types of interactive sessions.
Online job fairs save money and time. The format also allows job seekers to access a wider pool of employers with less effort. In fact, the employer pool for an online job fair is limited only by the organizer's ability to engage companies. The true benefit of the use of technology in this instance is in breaking down economic barriers to successful engagement.