Free Virtual Job Fair, Employers Seek Workers
By Dianne Anderson
One rule of thumb that always seems to hold true is the “last hired, first fired” syndrome, meaning Blacks typically make up twice the unemployment rate as whites.
The pandemic has intensified that impact, but it could be easing up a bit lately as larger companies are specifically looking to hire people of color.
Scott Riley, vice president of sales for the Diversity Career Group, DCG Recruitment, said their virtual job fair events are seeing a big increase in interest in diversity in recent times, including companies that they’ve never worked with before.
“Actually, it has increased substantially,” said Riley, co-owner of DCG. “It’s become a big thing because Black Lives Matter really put it on the forefront.
Coming up, their group is hosting another free virtual job fair, and expects their average virtual turnout of 150 to 250 applicants. About 200 to 300 positions are open including several federal agencies and big-box stores.
On June 10, the event is recruiting for Orange County openings, but he said participants can also join in to ask about available locations outside of the county, even outside of the state. Almost all of their recruiters have offices in areas across the country, as well as locations throughout Southern California. The event runs from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.
“We’re working with the city of Los Angeles, the FBI, the GSA (General Services Administration) and at least a dozen national agencies for the Fed, and major corporations like New York Life. We have been their major outreach for diversity. They do a number of events across the country for that reason,” he said.
Now in its 22nd year, Diversity Career Group job fairs are held mostly in the western states, Portland, Seattle, covering all of California. He said they have been smaller this past year because of the pandemic, but are looking to reopen in August with live career fairs.
During 2020, some of their employer clients did not hire at all. The good news is that companies have become much more active in recruiting for jobs than just four or five months ago.
“It’s my personal opinion that it seems we have a government in control that’s moving forward on things. There’s not so much confusion for large companies as to what’s going to happen next,” he said.
Small businesses, his included, took a huge hit when the nation shut down, and they had to move quickly away from hosting live events. At the start of the pandemic, he said they didn’t think it would drag on past a year, but they got busy revamping their unique platform.
“We were predicting that we’d be back in three months. We pivoted and built our own platform,” he said.
He said what sets their job fairs apart is that they don’t sell their booth participation to clients as the service, rather they are more candidate-focused.
For this year, one recent trend that he’s noticed is that many candidates seem to be responding in the early evening, indicating that they are probably hunting for something better than their current day job.
“It’s as if a lot of candidates are already employed and they are [seeking] the career fair for a better position,” he said. “We did notice a time frame difference in the last couple of months.”
On their virtual platform, candidates have easy access with sign-in. They complete a candidate profile, answering basic cover letter questions that attach the resume. On event day, the multimedia platform features all the company buttons, logos and information. A career page opens to individual companies where they can chat directly with recruiters, or if available, interview on the spot.
As part of the opening for the career fair, the candidates will review a short video to learn how to interact with companies, and drop off resumes.
Pre-pandemic, Riley said they were hosting about twice as many job fairs. This year, it’s down to four in Los Angeles and three in Orange County, but he is hopeful. The newest round of funding from the American Rescue Plan offers jobs potential spanning a wide range of industries, from CVS medical technicians to handle vaccination to companies that need highly skilled workers.
“We have companies that look to us for retail, for engineers, mechanical or electronic engineers, and positions in financial services. We have assembly companies doing manufacturing. Any event can have a lot of different types of positions available,” he said.
To register for the job fair, see https://www.diversitycareergroup.com/event/orange-county-virtual-diversity-career-fair-job-fair-june-10-2021/