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Is offline the new online? Deja vu all over again!

As famed New York Yankee (and St. Louis native) Yogi Berra once said, “It’s deja vu all over again.” While he was talking about baseball, the comment could easily apply to the recruitment marketing business these days – specifically, the resurgence of offline to supplement (or even replace) online hiring.

Don’t believe me? Well…”Indeed is introducing a service to organize and promote hiring events so that employers can focus on hiring and not on event management,” according to HCM Technology Report. Why? According to Indeed’s own blog, their employers are being overwhelmed by resumes for warehouse and similar jobs (geez, wonder why?). The article goes on to note that “Indeed Hiring Events promotes events on Indeed, texts and emails reminders to interested candidates and helps employer hiring teams to prepare based on estimated turnout. At the event, companies can track and qualify candidates as soon as they sign in, then use the systems records to follow up with promising candidates later.”

Interesting, eh? The reality is, however, that for many job boards and employers, offline never went away – it just got less popular. In face, offline events have maintained popularity in several sectors, including retail, the above-mentioned warehouse and logistics, college hiring, and veterans. What has changed, however, is the sophistication and organization of these events – from targeted upfront marketing, through the on-the-ground experience for candidates, and the followup by employers. A common complaint of offline has long been the difficulty in tracking results. That seems to have changed over the past decade.

But why should you care? Honestly, maybe you shouldn’t – if you focus on a sector that doesn’t respond to offline events (tech, perhaps?), then maybe it isn’t worth your while.

On the other hand, look at LinkedIn: as I mentioned earlier this year, they are experimenting with ‘pop-up pubs’ in the UK, to introduce the range of jobs they offer for job seekers. Response has been double (or more) what they expected – and employers are clamoring to participate. You wouldn’t necessarily think LinkedIn’s target job seekers would go to an offline event – except they didn’t call it a career fair; they called it the ‘Linked Inn’ pub. Smart. (Well, I’m sure the alcohol helped, too!).

So which job boards are using offline to build their employer and candidate audiences? Well, RecruitMilitary, ClearedJobs.net, PracticeLink, and Dice, to mention a few.

Does offline make sense for you? As is often the case, the answer lies with your job seeker audience. Are there locations where lots of them are found, i.e. geographically concentrated? Are employers also located in similar areas? Do you have – or can you build/buy – systems to manage the event and its information? And do you have staff that can take on what will undoubtedly be a time-intensive operation, both prior, during, and after the actual event?

Maybe it’s worth a try.

I’ll leave you with one final word from Yogi: “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Yep.

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