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April 18, 2022

Expanding your candidate reach at a virtual career fair

You know your local residents like the back of your hand. 

You know where they are from and where they want to practice after they graduate. Therefore, you also know that not all of them want to stay local. So, why is it that many recruiters only attend recruitment events that are local or semi-local to them? 

Simply put, it’s convenient. There are unignorable benefits to having access to potential recruits who are already close by: they can easily visit your facility and there’s potential to build in-person connections.

However, one thing that does outweigh convenience is effectiveness.

Broadening the scope of your search and giving yourself more ground to cover can significantly improve your recruitment results. It makes sense: the wider you expand the radius of where you look for candidates, the more candidates you will find, get to know and, eventually, be able to recruit.

So, what would it look like to expand your reach?

Luckily, it’s easier now than ever before to expand your candidate reach with the increasing popularity of virtual career fairs. Spending a few hours attending a virtual career fair targeting candidates across the country can yield leads that you may not have been aware were an option.

Just like in your local residency programs, there could be candidates at a program across the country that are from your state, or adjacent states, that want to come home. Not to mention how cost-effective virtual events are - no hotel, shipping or travel costs! 

How will you know where to expand your reach?

With virtual events happening almost weekly, your next decision is which events to attend. 

One easy way to decide which events are most worthwhile for you to participate in is to look where your current physicians completed their residency training. If you notice a common location among your present hires, it may be a good place to start searching for new ones.

Plus, when you attend and build connections with candidates in that area, you already have common ground: the physicians on staff at your organization who finished their residency at the same location.  

You also may want to invite those physicians to attend the virtual career fair with you. Talking to a physician who made the move from, say, California to Illinois can be a pleasant change from just speaking to a recruiter. And encouraging your current staff to participate in recruitment events says a lot about the climate at your organization; it’s refreshing when physicians are active in the recruitment process.

What else is worth noting about a non-local candidate search?

Cost-of-living comparisons can be compelling

When you’re seeking candidates from another city or state, you may also have an opportunity to compel their interest in your organization and openings based on a cost-of-living comparison.

If you’re attending a virtual career fair in a location with higher tax rates or more expensive housing than your community, it could open doors when you share with candidates the advantages that may come with living elsewhere.  

Candidates want to expand their searches, too

Candidates who complete our post-event surveys often mention that they wish there had been more participating organizations from outside the state where the event was being held. While most recruiters attend events in their own states or adjacent states, many candidates are already familiar with the recruiters in their area.

Just like you may see the benefits of extending your search for potential hires outside your immediate location, they want to see what is available elsewhere, too. So, broaden your horizons and prioritize attending events beyond your region.

You can bring awareness to your organization

Let’s talk about branding.

The time you spend speaking with candidates across the country who may not know about your organization is invaluable. By attending a virtual event, you have an opportunity to give them a glimpse of who you are, what your health care system values and draw their interest.

It’s one of the most effective ways to access fresh candidates. You can chat with multiple prospects during each event, build your virtual booth with logos, links and information about your organization and share the jobs you have available. Additionally, after the event you will usually receive an attendee report that you can use to follow up and secure connections with the candidates you’ve met.


So, when you are looking at a virtual career fair schedule, take a closer look at events across the country.  Recruiting local and semi-local has perks, but don’t underestimate the benefits of broadening your recruitment boundaries to expand your pool of quality candidates.

Read PracticeLink articles by Sarah Armstrong

Sarah Armstrong

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