Free-for-all hiring events don’t work. Here’s why.

by The Withe TeamMarch 7, 2024 | 5 min read

A large of people at a hiring event

Last month, Toronto Pearson Airport was once again in the news for all the wrong reasons. This time, instead of flight delays and massive security lines, it was the airport’s hiring event that caught the attention of the media.

On February 22, Toronto Pearson hosted a job fair, where they invited people to attend in person and put themselves forward for any of the 700 positions they wanted to fill in time for the busy spring season. The four hour event featured multiple on-site employers and was set to run from 10AM to 2PM, but dozens of people ended up being turned away before it was even over.

With no registration caps or interview scheduling process, thousands of people showed up at the job fair over the course of the four hours. People lined up around the building for hours, only to reach the doors and be told they couldn’t come in.

For a lot of candidates that are either desperate for work or taking time away from other responsibilities to search for work, this was a waste of time and effort. Some had even driven over two hours to attend!

We can all agree that this is a disastrous way for the job fair to go. However, it’s far from being a one off. In the Greater Toronto Area alone, there have been many similar events in the last six months including the national hiring fair for Bath & Body Works, a job fair at a Brampton grocery store, and a hiring event at a McDonald’s in Kitchener.

Withe's hiring event platform makes hiring events a breeze for candidates and recruiters alike.

The trouble with these free-for-all hiring events

These types of events are particularly problematic for candidates.

A candidate’s time is valuable. As real people with real responsibilities including jobs, childcare, schooling, and more, candidates that attend a hiring event are often choosing to do so at the expense of one of their responsibilities. Therefore, spending hours commuting to an event, waiting at the door, and then waiting in line at different booths within the event space is a huge investment with not much of a guarantee in return.

In addition, candidates don’t always get the chance to review the available roles before these events. They attend on the off chance that there is a role that fits their skill set. This lack of efficiency can have a significant impact, particularly on candidates that are navigating growing costs of living.

Recruiters will also find these free-for-all hiring events challenging. One of the recruiters at the Toronto Pearson event told CTV News that they didn’t quite know how they were going to read through all the resumes they had received. It’s no surprise, really. If you go into a job fair without structure or clarity around how many applicants you’d like to meet with given the number of jobs you have available, then you’re bound to be overwhelmed.

Some employers may go into these “come one, come all” hiring events thinking that it will paint their brand in a positive light as they run high-volume hiring events. The truth of the matter is that they can actually negatively impact the employer brand. Once someone has wasted time standing in line for a job fair that they can’t get into, why would they ever want to apply for another position or recommend the employer to anyone else?

An alternative approach to free-for-all hiring events

This approach is unsustainable at best, and extremely harmful at worst. So, how can we remedy it so that large-scale companies can run better volume hiring initiatives without negatively impacting the candidate experience?

A hiring event platform like Withe is a great place to start. Our platform was designed to help solve a lot of the challenges we see in these free-for-all hiring events. Using Withe, companies can set candidates up for success, allowing them to review the roles and requirements beforehand, so that they can quickly determine whether or not to attend the event.

Candidates can also schedule specific time slots with specific interviewers so they know exactly when to arrive, and who they will be talking to. Using Withe, teams can also host hybrid events, blending in-person and virtual interviews so that candidates don’t have to commute from far away to apply for the role. This makes the candidate experience much more efficient, reducing any time wasted on the candidate side and building trust in the employer brand.

A Withe job fair site showing company booths.

Withe also makes life easier for recruiters. Instead of having to manually enter paper resumes or rely on scribbled down notes, recruiters can enter all candidate and interview information into Withe, where it automatically gets uploaded to the ATS.

It’s time for change

It’s 2024, and it’s hard to believe we still have inefficient and ineffective hiring events with people lined out the door — but we do. Recruiting teams have the opportunity to lean into the modern technology available to them to improve the candidate experience and make their hiring processes more impactful.

Withe’s hiring event platform makes hiring events a breeze for candidates and recruiters alike.

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Author Bio

Picture of The Withe Team

The Withe Team

Meet the team behind the revolutionary on-demand video interview software that connects great companies with top talent. Their user-friendly solution streamlines the hiring process and helps people find the right opportunities. With a customer-centric approach, this team of experts is dedicated to helping you find the perfect match.

Hire candidates faster using Withe's hiring event platform