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Why Tech Recruiters Should Join More Virtual Career Fairs

Given that the tech talent you’re looking for might not be able to wow you at a social event, how can you engage them in casual conversation in a setting where they feel comfortable?


Here at Wantedly, we advocate making real connections with candidates through active recruitment and casual chats. One way recruiters do this is by attending networking events to meet talented people and engage them in conversation.

But sometimes, the best talents don’t shine as bright at these events.

While recruiters may be comfortable working the room, the talent they seek might be taking a break outside the crowded hall to recover the energy they’ve spent socializing with strangers.

Yes, we’re talking about introverts.

No, not shy people—despite popular wisdom that says so, that’s not what introversion is about.

People are introverted when they expend energy in social interaction. Extroverts, on the other hand, gain energy from such situations. The former prefer minimally stimulating environments; for the latter, the opposite is true.

Another sign of introversion is the enjoyment of work that requires deep thinking and analysis, even if it means working on one’s own for hours on end. And that description fits some of the most difficult tech positions to fill in Asia Pacific, like programming and data science.

Given that the tech talent you’re looking for might not be able to wow you at a social event, how can you engage them in casual conversation in a setting where they feel comfortable?

Here’s an idea: try a virtual career fair.

The Case for Virtual Career Fairs

The Balance Careers describes a virtual career fair as “an online event (as it takes place at a certain time, and is not ongoing) in which employers and job seekers each meet in a virtual environment, using chat rooms, teleconferencing, webcasts, webinars and/or email to exchange information about job openings.”

Before the event, potential candidates upload their resumes. They then get matched with a hiring professional and are given a schedule for their online meeting. They can only chat for a limited time.

In a way, it’s like networking, but it’s more structured and takes place online.

And while this may not sound as exciting as a room full of strangers (and perhaps an open bar), it’s a great way to meet introverted tech talent.

Introverted candidates will likely be able to express themselves better at a virtual career fair than at a physical social event, for several reasons.

First, candidates can choose a comfortable setting when joining a virtual career fair.

They can stay in quiet and familiar places, like their own room. They can thus avoid the excess of stimulation that tends to come with social events.

Second, virtual career fairs give candidates time to prepare.

By knowing in advance whom they’ll be taking to, introverted candidates can research about the person and prepare potential topics.

Given their preference to talk in concrete rather than abstract terms (the latter tending to be a feature of small talk among strangers), this ability to prepare helps put them at ease, allowing them to engage the recruiter in conversation more naturally and confidently.

Lastly, virtual career fairs are less draining for introverts than social events.

Introverts fare better in one-on-one conversations than in small group chats. Networking throughout a room is even more uncomfortable.

Who says tech talents are introverted?

To be sure, not all of them are.

Besides, introversion and extroversion lie along a spectrum rather than in separate boxes:

However, studies suggest a prevalence of introversion among IT roles:

    • An analysis of 90 research papers published between 1970 and 2010 reported          that most studies that used the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator found a prevalence of     introversion among software engineers.

    • A research paper published on the International Journal of Human-Computer   Studies suggests there are more introverted software engineers than extroverted ones   (albeit not by a very large margin—57% vs 43%).

     • A study on the temperaments of Pakistani software engineering professors and   students found that both tend to be introverted.

We can also examine anecdotal data.

John Weathington, the president and CEO of management consultancy Excellent Management Systems, has worked with data scientists for years, and observed introversion as one of their common traits.

His article on data scientists put it simply: “Coding is a very introverted activity. You sit in front of your computer for hours, and type.”

In the same vein, Russ Fujioka, president of cloud accounting company Xero, writes: “Not many people know that I am, indeed, an introvert. At parties, I'd rather stand in the corner, chatting quietly with a close buddy, than work the room.”

We can also look to innovators like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, both self-confessed introverts, as famous examples.

Of course, we’re not saying extroverts don’t thrive in tech. But if your recruitment style tends to favor extroversion, you’re likely missing out on more than half of the talent pool.

But Why Should I Modify My Hiring Process?

When it comes to tech hiring in Singapore, supply outstrips demand.

Companies are competing to attract and keep tech talent. That means active recruitment is now the name of the game, with recruiters adopting creative ways to find and hire promising candidates.

By joining virtual career fairs, you can take a step ahead of the competition and open up another avenue for finding talent.

You’d probably end up enjoying more rewarding conversations with introverted tech candidates who might not impress you as much at a social networking event.

So it’s a good idea to give virtual career fairs a try—the results might surprise you.

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