The North Carolina Technology Association decided to try a virtual job fair on Wednesday as a way to help candidates find open positions while safely keeping social distancing.

“We are open all day, and companies don’t have to do anything other than populate their virtual booth with some descriptive information, list some jobs,” Brooks Raiford, NCTA CEO and president, said.

The tech-centric career fair normally attracts about 400 attendees. More than 1,000 job seekers signed up for the virtual event.

Each person was able to register, upload a resume and then click on companies to see which jobs are open. If they found something they liked, they could chat online with a recruiter and maybe even move to a video chat with a hiring manager.

The job seekers liked the ability to be almost anonymous while browsing job openings, which is not usually part of a traditional job fair. And companies enjoyed the chance to look at a broader range of candidates, even some who are not currently living in North Carolina.

“They are able to really have access to the full candidate pool and not be limited to those who just happened to stand in line long enough to talk to the recruiter,” Raiford said.

The organization plans to make virtual job fairs a regular part of events they offer in the future. The idea would eventually be to mix these online events with the more traditional in-person events.

“I think there definitely are pluses and minuses, and in my view both are important,” Raiford said.  “We are not going virtual 100% as an organization. We are also not going to go primarily in person either.”