RALEIGH – Faced with the challenge of putting on a jobs fair in the days of “social distancing” and “stay at home” orders, the NC Technology Association decided to go “virtual” just like most companies who have embraced online events rather than cancel. And with the help of a Florida company, NC Tech will link job seekers with corporate recruiters May 20 through some sharply designed high-tech booths based on computer code rather than wood, metal and plastic.

“We are actually pretty excited about [the event],” NC Tech CEO Brooks Raiford tells The Skinny.

For several reasons, he adds.

Rick Smith, WRAL TechWire’s editor and a cofounder, writes The Skinny.

“This allows us to offer a job fair that is not geographically-dependent (anyone can participate as a hirer or a candidate).  And companies avoid having to send staff with a bunch of equipment/materials to some hotel ballroom,” Raiford explains.

“Also hiring companies get contact info for each of the hundreds of candidates, rather than just those who walk up to their in-person booth at a traditional fair.

“And candidates avoid standing in line (they also have the benefit of some degree of confidentiality – obviously some candidates are hesitant to show up at an in-person fair if they fear their current employer finding out, and some candidates are just embarrassed or bashful about going to a job fair for various reasons).”

The event is set for May 20, has already drawn more than 20 companies, several hundred jobs and hundreds of people looking for work.

Employer-candidate meetings will be handled through chat and Zoom video.

The tech partner

NC Tech found a partner to provide the virtual tools and booths.

“We are using Premier Virtual as the job fair platform, the CEO [Steven Edwards] is based in Palm Beach Florida but has ties to North Carolina,” explains Michelle Calton, whom Raiford describes as NC Tech’s “job fair guru.”

“The employers/exhibitors receive a login to enable them to customize their own virtual hiring rooms or ‘booths’ to include company information, upload job vacancies, links to welcome video/company career pages, social media links. Upon registering, employers receive immediate access to review job seekers/resumes.”


NC Tech could have chosen to drop its regularly scheduled job fairs in the days of COVID-19, but Calton says the organization’s commitment remains “to offer the tech sector innovative workforce strategies to find talent. We had a number of employers already signed up before we moved to virtual and the response has been very positive.  Several employers had not experienced a virtual job fair yet and are excited for the opportunity.”

The business advocacy group “has been hosting job fairs for years in the Triangle and Charlotte.  The virtual experience opens up the opportunity for any employers and job seekers to participate.”

How virtual event will work

The Skinny asked Calton to explain how the event will work for both sides – job seekers, job recruiters.

“We want the job fair to be an efficient and smooth experience for all participants.  On May 20 job seekers will be able to login and immediately streamline their search to employers/exhibitors hiring for:

1. IT/Tech Positions

2. Non-Tech Positions

3. Education/Training Resources

“Seekers will be able to visit each booth to learn more about the employers, view/apply for job vacancies and initiate a live chat/video with the booth representatives.

“Employers will see who is visiting their booth, view the resumes and initiate a live chat/video. Employers will be able to run a reports on activity and communicate directly with job seekers.”

The employers also “will have access full access to all job seeker resumes, view reports on traffic to their booth and can contact candidates,” NC Tech says.