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Faster, smarter: virtual hiring fair recruits STEM talent

screen showing virtual career fair platform

In conjunction with the Air Force’s Personnel Center, the Air Force Materiel Command held a virtual hiring fair April 23, 2020 to fill open science, technology, engineering and mathematics positions across the command. This image shows a virtual room in the hiring platform where interested applicants could learn more about open opportunities and initiate chats with subject matter experts to learn more about working for the command. (U.S. Air Force photo by Marisa Alia-Novobilski)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFNS) --

In conjunction with the Air Force’s Personnel Center, the Air Force Materiel Command held a virtual hiring fair April 23, to fill open science, technology, engineering and mathematics positions across the command.

More than 1,000 candidates applied to participate in the hiring event, which sought applicants for 700 positions at AFMC centers and installations across the U.S. Hiring officials were available to conduct on-the-spot interviews and had the ability to leverage direct hire authorities to extend job offers to candidates on the same day.

“While our efforts over the past several weeks have been focused on balancing mission with taking care of our Airmen during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s also important we keep our talent acquisition wheels in motion,” said Bill Snodgrass, AFMC Manpower, Personnel and Services director.

This was the third virtual hiring event held by AFMC over the past year, part of an ongoing effort to leverage in-person and online recruiting events to reach a large number of candidates for open opportunities.

“Talent acquisition is evolving, and even before social distancing driven by the current national emergency, AFMC was looking to leverage the benefits of online civilian hiring fairs to improve the speed, effectiveness and presence of our recruiting practices,” said Keri Poole, a human resources specialist at AFMC and event coordinator.

Interested applicants were required to pre-apply to attend the virtual event, allowing officials to review resumes and qualifications prior to issuing invites to promising candidates. Of the 620 applicants selected, 75% participated in the six-hour event, with more than 115 AFMC subject matter experts and hiring officials online to interact with the attendees.

Upon accessing the online platform, participants transitioned between virtual booths to discuss job opportunities with various representatives. Almost 1,600 “chats” between job applicants and various AFMC members occurred throughout the day. While some interviews were conducted during the event, the primary goal was to line up high-caliber talent for interviews to be conducted during the next two weeks.

“The virtual platform’s ability to cast a wide net while gathering resumes and talking to diverse talent across the nation was beneficial. However, the real indicator of our success will be how many job offers result from the event and how many are accepted,” Snodgrass said. “The SMEs and hiring officials were fully engaged online, ensuring our candidates understood our needs as a command and the benefits available to them as civilian Airmen. We’re optimistic that we will have new members join the AFMC team as a result.”

Though positions were available at center locations across the AFMC footprint, the majority of job openings were at the Air Force Sustainment Center and Air Force Life Cycle Management Center locations across the U.S. Electronics and systems engineering positions comprised the bulk of the positions available, though talent was sought for openings in the areas of general and mechanical engineer, computer science, operational research analysis and more.

“AFMC is a great place to work, and we need to continue to recruit and attract STEM talent as a fifth-generation Air Force needs fifth-generation talent,” Snodgrass said. “I am grateful to the hard work of our AFMC hiring teams who worked closely together with the Air Force’s Personnel Center to make this event successful and anticipate holding additional virtual hiring events in the future.”

To learn more about civilian opportunities at AFMC and across the Air Force, visit the Air Force Civilian website.

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