Virtual job recruitment helps both employers and job seekers in Colorado’s tight market | SkyHiNews.com

Virtual job recruitment helps both employers and job seekers in Colorado’s tight market

Katarina Velazquez | kvelazquez@greeleytribune.com

Technology is reshaping the interview process at businesses all over the Colorado.

Going to a job interview or career fair these days doesn’t always mean getting dressed up, shaking off your nerves and walking into the office building of a potential employer. With today’s technological advances, sometimes it means plopping down in front of your computer or tablet.

The trend of virtual interviews and hiring fairs is becoming more prevalent in Colorado and across the nation, as employers seek employees in a competitive and tight job market. Although some employers still prefer interpersonal, face-to-face interactions with candidates, many are turning to the internet to save some money and time and to reach more qualified people.

There are several different types of virtual job resources, which range from two-way online chat interviews — think interview via Facebook Messenger — to one-way video résumés. Virtual job fairs are a way to introduce potential applicants to a company and give them an opportunity to ask questions and feel the company out. They can run for days and up to several weeks, which would be costly in a traditional setting. Employers also can cast a wider net for applicants across state lines, adding a sense of convenience to both parties, as well.

Virtual job interviews are sometimes the next step to this, which are a Skype-like setting instead of having both parties physically sitting across the table from each other.

Valorie Waldon, an HR consultant with Employers Council, said a majority of the companies she works with still primarily conduct in-person interviews, though virtual resources are becoming more popular.

“You don’t have to recruit in your own backyard anymore,” she said.

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Danielle Cargile, a sourcing strategist for Banner Health, said hosting online job fairs allows the health care company to introduce its brand to professionals across the state and country. She said a lot of folks who work in the health care industry usually are busy people, so it can be easier for them to jump on the computer than to make the drive to their Banner locations. It also allows the company to reach more qualified people in a market where health care professionals are getting harder to find, she said.

“We’re seeing this as a trend and also as something to move into the future,” Cargile said.

Cher Haavind, director for Colorado’s Office of Government, Policy & Public Relations, said the state started using virtual resources for job recruitment in 2011, prompted by the desire to reach more job seekers in the midst of the economic downturn. During that time, many businesses had traditional, brick-and-mortar career fairs, which drew in large lines of folks, Haavind said. Converting to an online system seemed more practical, especially being federally funded and facing a smaller budget at the time. Since then, the economy has bounced back, but online hiring fairs have taken off because of their accessibility.

Haavind said since launching virtual career fairs in 2011, the state has hosted more than 200 of them with more than 2,500 employers and 130,000 job seekers across the state participating. Although call-center type businesses utilized this online resource most in its beginning phase, Haavind said, a wide variety of industries and companies now use it, as well.

Plus, online job fairs can provide some comfort to applicants who might have some nerves when looking for a job. They still can get all the answers they need and find further career opportunities without feeling overwhelmed, Cargile said.

Haavind said virtual job resources help a multitude of people who are looking for employment whether that be employers in rural Colorado looking for qualified employees or military members returning from overseas wanting a job to come home to. But Haavind said there are cases where employers might find an in-person interview or career fair to be more beneficial.

“It depends on what kind of position the employers are recruiting for,” she said. “If you’re recruiting for a sales type of a candidate, you may want to have that face-to-face, interpersonal contact. … I think there will always be a marketplace for traditional brick-and-mortar job fairs and hiring events, but it could be industry dependent.”

Hosting a career fair or interview online isn’t always smooth sailing, though, Haavind admitted. Technology can sometimes act up or be confusing for certain users. To fix that, she said the state office recently updated its virtual interface, allowing it to be more user-friendly for both job seekers and employers.

Waldon said a virtual interview really can’t establish the environment of a workplace or showcase the actual work location, which could be considered cons for future job seekers. But more often than not, virtual job resources are more beneficial, and they ultimately lead to an in-person interview in the end, she said.

“For job seekers, it’s just another tool in their tool kit when looking for employment opportunities,” Haavind said.

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