I just virtually-walked around the Bayt virtual job fair, and although it might still be early in the 2-day affair to really measure success, early signs arent looking very good.
As a sidenote first, I did initially think this might be a cool second-life-esque affair but it turned out to be more like a chat + video chat service buit on top of an interface resembling booths and halls from a job fair.
Anyway, here’s the good, bad, and ugly.
1- Bayt was able to see one advantage of having a Internet-based job fair. Candidates from much of Asia, phillipines and even the USA who wanted to work in Dubai were there hoping to speak with company reps. This ability for people all over the world to connect with employment opportunities around the world was in itself attractive for this fair
2- The interface allowed people to learn a lot more about the companies than just a name and position. I’ve argued this many times – the path to finding better candidates through job sites is to allow candidates to learn more about the company. In this case, there were documents, corporate videos, samples and more to explore for each employer there.
3- The job seeker chat created a sort of watercooler effect where people could meet and share notes.
4- Good premier sponsors – getting Siemens, Emirates and other big companies on the first get-go is interesting.
1- There weren’t enough employers. Sure, I understand that this was something brand new for this region, but the job seekers who were there were expecting more than 15 companies to welcome them – I think they were atleast expecting more companies in each type of category, as one of the job seeker I spoke to said there was only 1 company there for his area of interest.
2- While the interface was good in finding detailed information about a particular company, it wasnt enough to see how many companies were there – you cant beat list-views for that, although making a "floormap" of sorts would have helped.
1- If you give people an interface that looks like a job fair, they’ll expect an experience like a job fair. Even though people could drop their CVs at the company booths, the job seekers there were expecting to actually meet and speak to company reps. Sadly, not one company rep seemed to have shown up. There were people who were up at 0230 from the US and had been waiting for 3-4 hours but still hadnt seen any company rep anywhere.
This was making all of the job seekers claim that while this was a good concept, it was poorly organized and very frustrating.
2- Adding to the frustrations was the fact that no one from Bayt was there either! If people had questions about employers, or wanted any other type of help, there was just absolutely no one to speak to.
3- Thirdly, there wasnt really any good filtering mechanism. The problem with making it so easy to enter these fairs is that you basically end up getting people who are desparate for jobs because they cant find any anywhere else. So in the watercooler area I could see people coming in with "I WANT TELECOM JOB HELP" type of messages. This means that even if company reps had been there, they would have gone home rather frustrated too.
There’s a couple of days left so I hope it picks up – but I wont be dropping in again. If someone is able to find a good job lead from there do let me know that its been successful for you