“In-person” meetings between employers and job seekers remain crucial to the IT hiring process, a recent survey indicates.

As much as 75 per cent of companies’ hiring efforts are dedicated to face-to-face meetings, the survey by CareerDoor Inc. indicates.

Around 10 per cent of the time is spent screening potential employees’ resumes.

Based in Toronto, CareerDoor produces job fairs.

The company says in person meetings are important, both to hiring managers and job seekers.

Those doing the hiring have an opportunity to assess applicants, while job seekers get a chance to highlight their skills, said Terri Joosten, CEO of CareerDoor. “An applicant may have a great skill set, but it could get lost in the resume pile even before he or she has a chance to speak to a hiring officer.”

Joosten said the opportunity for direct contact with potential employers is one huge advantage job fairs offer over other hiring channels, such as online announcements, print ads, employment agency searches and heat hunting services.

CareerDoor and will be hosting the Greater Toronto Area Hi-Tech Career Fair in Thornhill, Ontario on November 15 and 16.

Smaller companies as well as Fortune 100 enterprises in the information technology field will be participating in the event.

Joosten said job fairs are an great venues to find out what IT jobs are hot and the types of skills employers are looking for.

One Canadian analyst agreed with Joosten’s views, but added that job fairs should not be viewed as the only panacea for companies’ hiring challenges.

“No one channel is a silver bullet,” said Andy Woyzbun, lead analyst with Info-Tech Research Group Inc. based in London, Ont. “Job fairs are one [among] a series of tools.”

He said job fairs are ideal for candidates such as fresh graduates searching for junior or entry-level positions, because it offers these individuals a sense of what the market is like.

Companies looking to fill more senior positions would be better served by targeted ads or executive searches that help narrow the choices at the onset, said Woyzbun.

IT companies, he added, generally participate only in job fairs that are specific to the industry. “Events that have a very wide focus would be a waste of time.”

Woyzbun said IT companies can use job fairs to gain greater visibility and promote themselves.

Joosten echoed this view, and cited the example of the Hi-Tech Career Fair at Thornhill.

She said organizations participating in this fair have been allotted booths and spaces where they can showcase their companies, or even hold brief presentations. The firms will also be able to advertise their open positions on the CareerDoor site.

Job seekers can load their resumes on the site and apply for positions prior to attending the event, Joosten said. At the fair itself, job seekers can check out companies, network, and present their resumes to firms they’re interested in.

During this initial contact, the CareerDoor CEO said, applicants would have an opportunity to demonstrate their abilities – such as business acumen and communication skills. Hiring officers, on the other hand, would be able to assess candidates and weed out “those who are only good on paper.”

For companies, career fairs offer considerable time and money savings as their initial interaction with potential candidates is the face-to-face meeting, Joosten said.

She said CareerDoor offers top-tier participating companies “scheduling and matching services” as part of which companies can view resumes of potential candidates that CareerDoor has matched with the skills sets they require.

Companies can then schedule one-on-one meetings with applicants they are interested in.

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