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How to Recruit Nurses in the Virtual World

Since 2020, Healthcare professionals within the nursing industry have witnessed dramatic shifts in the number of job posts and open jobs across all specialties. So how do you recruit nurses in a Virtual Era?

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Since the beginning of this year, healthcare professionals within the nursing industry have witnessed dramatic shifts in the number of job posts and open jobs across all specialties.

Compared to 2019, the percent change in the number of nursing-related jobs posted decreased 28.2% from the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in early March to June 19th, 2020. This drop in job postings can be attributed in most part to hospitals in large cities, like New York, which didn’t have enough nurses and staff to care for COVID patients, then being forced to close to all non-essential or elective procedures. At the same time, many small town hospitals with few or no cases sat empty, ultimately leading to furloughs and layoffs due to massive lost revenue. Two most-affected specialties facing the biggest decreases in the number of open jobs were travel nurses (-97%) and ambulatory care nurses (-27%). As you can see in the graph below, the shutdown of non-essential procedures disproportionately affected the job market for nurses, as well as other professions within the healthcare field. (1)

Conversely, the number of open jobs for specific nursing roles skyrocketed due to the resources being shifted to COVID care. Intensive care nurses saw a 195% increase in the number of open jobs, followed by certified nursing assistants at 88%, licensed practical nurses at 84% and emergency room nurses at 36%. A key takeaway from this information suggests that when we look at industries and professions within healthcare, location and job role play a significant role into how job posting volume and availability for each individual specialty plays out. (2)

With more of the economy opening up and routine procedures getting back on the schedule, how are hospitals and other healthcare organizations supposed to resume recruiting and hiring qualified personnel in a time of social distancing and virtual interactions? This is where virtual career fairs come into play. Let’s take a look at how virtual career fairs can help your association get your members hired quickly and cost-effectively.

Benefits of a Virtual Career Fair for Nursing Associations

While career fairs have been used for some time in many industries, recruiting highly qualified nursing professionals in an increasingly growing virtual environment can seem unorthodox for a profession that is so hands-on. However, with the right platform and experienced vendor to help, virtual career fairs can be extremely beneficial for all parties involved. Here’s how.

Measurable Results

As the association hosting a virtual career fair, results are important to determine your return on investment (ROI) and the overall success of the event. For instance, with Web Scribble Career Fairs your association has access to exportable reports populated with real time data to help identify preferred employers, job types, unique and recurring visitors and more. All this data provides insights to help drive consistent engagement and revenue opportunities for your association.

These reports also give you perspective on your virtual event ROI. Easily track and assess how warmly your members and job seekers have embraced the virtual shift to plan for future events. And how your sales affected your bottom line.

  1. Did your members feel comfortable using the platform?
  2. Were they able to connect easily with employers?
  3. Was this a valuable experience for members?
  4. How much revenue did you drive through virtual booth and job package sales?

Knowing what aspects were successful and which areas need improvement will help you plan for the next event and identify new marketing opportunities for the future.

Increase Revenue While Saving Time

When a career fair event is announced, job posting sales typically increase - which means more non-dues revenue coming in. Since there is more activity and more website visitors, this creates a positive perception of and relationship with your association and career center. Another way your association can generate more non-dues revenue is by monetizing your virtual career fair with customized event packages for exhibitors.

For a virtual event, the packages can be personalized in practically limitless configurations to include things like brand exposure such as featured companies on the event page with a link to their employer profile, bundled packages with job postings and other regular career center offerings, resume database access, and much more. (3)

Virtual events can save your association a lot of time in terms of planning, marketing, and implementation. Most virtual career fair providers, including Web Scribble, will handle all the technical requirements needed to set up the platform. This helps take a lot of the burden off of event planners so they can focus on planning and promoting the event to members and employers. If your association needs assistance with marketing materials like banners, flyers and social media images, your career fair vendor should be able to help you with this as well. Another way many associations save time (and money!) with virtual career fairs is by combining it with your association's annual meeting (when these go back to being in-person events). This helps increase member attendance if they weren’t already convinced to attend initially, as well as member retention, which we will discuss in the next section.

Improve Member Attendance, Retention and Recruitment

As stated above, combining your virtual career fair with your association's annual meeting helps improve member attendance rates since they won’t want to miss out on the meeting. In addition, they won’t have to register for and attend two different events, making it easier for them to keep space on their calendars open for interviews and other necessary career development obligations. Especially for nurses, combining the two events can have positive impacts on their perception of your association since you are addressing their needs, understand they have busy schedules and make them feel valued.

Virtual career fairs can have positive effects on member retention rates when importance is placed on the attendee experience and your association understands their needs. Right now, many job seekers looking for nursing positions are stressed and need your support. Offering a virtual career fair not only makes it easier for them to attend the event, but shows the value you offer to your members. Virtual career fairs help them connect with employers that are seeking qualified candidates instead of searching through massive job boards to find open positions related to their qualifications and potentially not even hearing back from those employers. When your association retains members, you have more opportunities to grow your organization year after year. Not only can you retain members with virtual career fairs, but you can even use them as an opportunity to recruit new members.

Some associations allow non-members to attend their virtual career fairs as a way to offer them a taste of their benefits and increase the chances of them purchasing a membership. Once they attend and see the value in your association and virtual event, they’ll become members for life. During uncertain times, your nursing members need more support and ways to find new career opportunities. Virtual career fairs can become a great addition for your association to add to their member benefits portfolio. With actionable analytics, associations can easily prove ROI and measure the success of virtual events, increase non-dues revenue and improve member attendance, retention and recruitment rates. (4)

Overall virtual events have the potential and power to help associations push through these trying times and come out on top. Interested in learning more about Web Scribble’s live and virtual Career Fairs platform? Contact us today to learn even more and to schedule a demo! 


  1. How COVID-19 Has Affected the Recruitment Industry | Job Posting Trends
  2. Web Scribble Webinar, The Impact of COVID-19 on the Recruitment Industry: Current Analysis and Future Opportunities
  3. 3 Tips for Monetizing a Virtual Career Fair
  4. 4 Tips to Enhance Your New Member Recruitment Strategy