Olin’s 1st virtual career fair will attract some new firms

At least 20 companies—and possibly as many as 30–are expected to participate in Olin’s first “virtual career fair” next week, with upwards of 200 graduate business students expected to attend.

The virtual event is a new initiative for the Weston Career Center, joining a growing trend in digital recruiting that is expected to expose some new corporate faces to Olin’s MBA, PMBA and specialized master’s students.

“Some of these are companies that have not visited our campus,” said Annetta Culver, Weston’s associate director for employer relations. “The convenience and the timing is working for them.”

Students and employers have two ways to engage during the virtual event, from noon to 3 p.m. on April 20—depending on each employer’s need. Recruiters seeking immediate candidates, for example, can book appointments with a single student—or a group of students—for an online video chat in the “virtual career fair” platform.

Alternatively, employers can host a text-based chatroom with a webinar interface to host an information session about their company and engage with visitors in a Q&A. Weston is contracting with CareerEco to provide the digital platform for the event. The Wall Street Journal took note of the growing trend toward digital recruiting in a 2014 piece.

Weston is hosting a pre-career fair information session about how the event will work today at 1 p.m. and again at 2:30 p.m.

A major advantage for employers is the reduced cost compared to on-campus visits, said Culver, who is coordinating the fair with Olin technology coordinator Kim Miller. The “virtual event” also comes at a good time for students, many of whom are still seeking the right full-time job or summer internships.

At the same time, Culver said, a number of companies are faced with late-season openings that they hadn’t expected or they are in industries that traditionally recruit later in the school year.

Those two factors were key in identifying which companies to invite to the virtual career fair, she said. Another advantage: Once student resumé information is plugged into the system, companies have a ready-made pipeline of candidates to tap the next time they have an opening.

“I’d be delighted to hear a number of things about the event and outcomes: That students who are looking for opportunities have made connections with employers and they are in the pipeline to be hired,” Culver said. “For employers, I want them to think this was a good use of their time and that they have such a good experience that they’re the first to sign up the next time they get an invitation.”

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