The global pandemic has changed the hiring process. Job fairs have gone virtual and interviews are done online.
West Michigan Works!
has partnered with the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity to improve this online experience. They are collaborating to provide job seekers with digital face-to-face meetings with hiring managers across six West Michigan counties using the video chat platform Brazen.
A personal connection
The agency’s next virtual job fair, scheduled for Sept. 16, will be the first West Michigan Works! hiring event to leverage the technology. Job seekers can register for the event through Sept. 16.
"In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, our previous hiring fairs have connected job seekers to hiring managers through telephone calls. The integration of a video platform adds an extra level of personal connection while maintaining all participants' safety," says Kiosha Jeltema, Business Solutions Manager at West Michigan Works!
Like a traditional in-person job fair, employers will have virtual “booths." Registered job seekers will choose which companies they would like to meet with and join a virtual line to discuss their skills and experience with hiring managers. A text chat option will also be available.
More than 30 employers with urgent hiring needs — including Cherry Health, SpartanNash, Hearthside Foods, Metro Health-University of Michigan Health, Lowe's Home Centers, Perrigo, and Spectrum Health — are participating in this month's event.
Job seekers are encouraged to dress as they would for an in-person interview. Although the initial conversations are not formal interviews, participants should have a resume prepared.
"Practicing questions ahead of time can help job seekers during their conversation," Jeltema says. "West Michigan Works! offers mock interviews that provide professional feedback to help job seekers more effectively communicate their skills and qualifications."
Mock interviews are available online at jobs.westmiworks.org/mock-interview.
Job seekers can access preparation resources, view the list of participating employers and positions, and register for the job fair at westmiworks.org/virtual-job-fair
The hiring event is accessible via any computer or a smartphone with internet access. Those who need assistance accessing the internet should contact their local West Michigan Works! service center by calling 1-800-285-WORK (9675).