For some college recruiters, especially those with limited travel budgets and a national reach, recruiting via webinars is nothing new. Some companies have utilized webinars, videos, social media, and virtual recruiting technology for years. But for those whose recruitment efforts have focused primarily on in-person, on-campus presentations, COVID-19 presents a new challenge – and a new opportunity – to engage with prospective candidates virtually. But how do you choose the right technology?
Before choosing a new technology, it’s important to identify what criteria are most important to you. Some criteria include:
- Features: Does the technology allow video for only one speaker, or multiple? Do you want candidates to be able to participate with audio and video, or only text? Do you want breakout rooms or small group discussions? Do you want interactive features like quizzes and polls?
- Cost: How does this technology fit into your recruitment budget?
- User experience: Is the platform simple and intuitive for both recruiters and candidates to use? Does it require training? How hard is it to set up an account and log in? Do you need an in-house tech support staff member to help? How is the audio and video quality? Do users need to download software to use the platform?
- Security: Is the platform susceptible to hacking? Does the platform fit into your company’s technology procurement rules? What measures need to be taken to ensure that end users, including both recruiters and candidates, will have their data protected?
Here is a lineup of five of the most popular webinar technologies, and how they measure up on these criteria.
Features: Zoom offers numerous options, ranging from a simple meeting with video and audio for all participants, to webinars, to breakout rooms. Heavily used by universities for online teaching, Zoom is one of the most popular technologies for webinars.
Cost: A free Zoom account allows limited meetings which last a maximum of 40 minutes, but a Pro account is only $14.99 per month, allowing up to 100 participants in a meeting. For larger-scale meetings, Business and Enterprise accounts allow up to 1000 participants. With so many universities using their own Zoom accounts to set up events for employers, it might be cost-free if the school where you recruit can host your presentation.
User experience: Zoom does not require participant end users to download software, but many students will already have a Zoom account for school. For recruiters, Zoom offers a broad range of settings, and certain features such as breakout rooms require a bit more training. Both VOIP and phone-in options are available. Reporting and analytics are a bit more complex to set up.
Security: Zoom has recently been in the news for its security vulnerability, including serious hacking incidents. The company has added additional security features, and users can set a meeting password or create a waiting room for better security.
Features: Part of a larger suite of “GoTo” products, this platform includes Polls, Handouts, and Q&A, Full Service Registration, Automated Emails, payment processing, and custom branding; integrations with CRM systems; Online & Local Recording; Unlimited Cloud Storage; Video Sharing; and for Pro and Enterprise accounts, Source Tracking to measure referral sources; Video Editing; and Transcripts.
Cost: The “Lite” version, which allows 100 participants, is $49 per organizer, per month; Standard is $99 per month, and Enterprise is $399 per month, with discounts for full year subscriptions. A free trial is available.
User experience: The system gets good reviews for intuitive user experience, though some users say it has a more “clunky” or outdated user experience than some other systems, and it doesn’t integrate with other systems directly. The system requires a software download.
Security: The company mentions that it is HIPAA-compliant, which indicates a high level of privacy.
Features: The free account provides call-in and VOIP options; desktop, application, file & whiteboard sharing options; collaboration features; mobile features; and paid levels include cloud storage, file sharing, whiteboarding, integrations with other WebEx platforms or Microsoft Exchange, and even the ability to assess whether people are paying attention during your webinar. Higher levels allow 3,000 webinar attendees and streaming for up to 40,000.
Cost: A personal account is free and allows 100 participants. The Starter level is $13.50/month, “Plus” level is $17.95/month, and Business level is $26.95 per month.
User experience: It’s generally easy to use, but some of the features such as the collapsible sidebars can be distracting or a bit tricky to get the hang of.
Security: WebEx bills itself as a highly secure platform, and provides encrypted cloud recordings, end-to-end encryption option, TLS 1.2 support, and “Personal Room locking and unlocking.”
Features: The system touts its ability to gather “instant analytics on …(audience) behavior,” allowing “live feedback to adjust your content dynamically and encourage audience participation.” They allow users to record their webinar in multiple takes and “edit together multiple presentations,” then mix the pre-recorded presentation with a live webinar. Other features include “Q&A, Speaker Bio, Twitter, Group Chat, Polls, Survey, and Test widgets to engage the audience.”
Cost: The company offers a one-month free trial, but does not publish pricing information on its website.
User experience: The system receives excellent reviews for user experience, including the ease of the interface and special features.
Security: ON24 lays out their security measures in this blog post, which includes end-to-end data encryption, as well as password-protected webinars and domain filtering if desired.
Features: Includes popup messages or calls-to-action, high-definition video, and an attractive viewer-facing interface.
Cost: $499/year for up to 500 participants and 3 presenters per webinar; costs go up to $1,000/year for 6 speakers and 5,000 participants.
User experience: Offers an easy interface for presenters, as well as polls, whiteboard annotation, and live broadcast to YouTube or Facebook Live. They also offer 24/7 live tech support.
Security: The system allows restricted access to the live webinar room.
There are many other webinar systems to choose from, but the five listed above consistently show up as well-reviewed and frequently chosen by both recruitment and marketing teams. Whichever system you use, be sure you are ready to engage with your audience and let your organization’s employer brand shine.
Heather Krasna is a career coach and career services professional with 21+ years’ experience in higher education, recruiting, and executive coaching, and the author of two job search books, Jobs That Matter: Find a Stable, Fulfilling Career in Public Service, and Job Search 2.0. You can find out more about her at heatherkrasna.com.