We frequently get questions about virtual environments: What are they? How can they help my organization? What is the ROI for them? After working with customers over the last several years, I’ve seen customers in several verticals use them in a variety of ways. No matter the customer or their application, the one thing they have in common is they quickly realize the benefits of virtual environments: cost savings, increased reach and a more engaged audience.
Below is an example of how RAPS, the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society, built upon the success of their online Regulatory Career Connections, which allows members to search, post and review job listings at their convenience. They turned to virtual environments to provide their members with a more interactive and robust alternative.
Brad Pierson, manager of integrated product sales, quickly recognized the opportunity to expand RAPS’ services by adopting virtual technology. In the spring of 2008, RAPS launched its first virtual career fair using the InterCall platform. With 13 major pharmaceutical and biotech (booth) sponsors, over 750 registrants and a fully customized environment, this virtual fair proved to be RAPS’ turning point for its job search solution. Job seekers had direct access to the hiring company, HR and regulatory experts with a click of a mouse. Because of the positive feedback from sponsors and members alike, RAPS added two additional virtual fairs that year. The virtual fair allowed Brad to reach more of his constituents, extend the RAPS brand and create a level of engagement between its members like never before. The virtual fairs also proved cost-effective and engaging and delivered highly qualified candidates to sponsors which, in turn, dramatically decreased the hiring cycle. Recently, in April 2011, RAPS Virtual Career Fair garnered:
- A whopping 83% attendee rate
- 755 applications received
- Average visitor time of 70 minutes inside the event
Building upon this success, Brad took another step toward RAPS virtual strategy by adopting the VEC (Virtual Event Center) model. The RAPS VEC allows members 24-hour access, 365 days a year to a virtual environment rich in content, up-to-date information and hiring companies’ resources. By producing just 1-2 major virtual job fairs a year, the VEC gives RAPS another way to keep the organization “top of mind” even during the period between events. The VEC underscores a continuous and sustainable model which RAPS has strategically leveraged for the benefit of its more than 11,000 members.
How the virtual career fair works
From the eight virtual career fairs RAPS has implemented since 2008, they delivered highly qualified candidates, resulting in a shorter hiring cycle for sponsors, developed RAPS Virtual Event Center to support member career initiatives and achieved greater brand awareness and reach.
Have you used virtual events and seen similar success? If not, what are your obstacles? Have you tried other alternatives?