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First-ever virtual national career fair aims to bring together first-time job seekers and employers in the Netherlands

A Netherlands-based organisation aims to bring together both job seekers and prospective employers in a first-ever national virtual career fair. “After months of little contact — this will be the place where we bring them together, at last”, said Marieke Wehner, managing director of Sollicitatiedokter.

Jasper Spanjaart on April 30, 2021 Average reading time: 3 min
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First-ever virtual national career fair aims to bring together first-time job seekers and employers in the Netherlands

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, virtually every hiring process has had to transition to the virtual sphere. And while some organisations have moved towards attempts to enable job seekers to simply meet and greet with prospective employers — Europe has seen little national initiatives. Sollicitatiedokter, a Netherlands-based organisation that helps employees with their job application struggles, aims to change just that.

‘Give them a fair shot’

On June 28, the company looks set to make history in organising the first-ever Netherlands-based national career fair. With a the Sims-like virtual environment in place for employers to present themselves — the company aims to give first-time job seekers a truly fair shot at scoping out companies where they envision themselves working.

“With a the Sims-like virtual environment in place for employers to present themselves — the company aims to give first-time job seekers a truly fair shot.”

One of the most successful virtual attempts in recent times was done by US-based pharmacy CVS Health. In dire need of new (and more) personnel, the company had to go completely virtual. Unable to meet face-to-face, CVS actually saw an opportunity. Organising (more) virtual career fairs, virtual interviews and virtual job tryouts, which consisted of part-assessment and part-interview.

In lieu of much of what Sollicitatiedokter has done for Dutch applicants, the company aims to be a connector for those who are ambitious, but struggle to find the right place to bring that ambition to fruition. “These curated, five-minute conversations will surely lead to something more”, says Wehner, MD for Sollicitatiedokter. “Just because you’re going to be matched to people who should be interesting to you. And on the job seeking-side, it’ll make for an excellent exercise in applying for jobs. They only have a five-minute window to sell themselves — time and time again.”

‘It’s not just about eduction or work experience’

Prior to a virtual visit on June 28 — the organiser has set up an option for students and first-time job seekers to go 1-on-1 with prospective employers. However, it comes with an asterisk — an asterisk that could prove to be a huge bonus in the long run. Prior the 1-on-1, visitors are asked to complete an assessment that will subsequently lead to a match with an employer of interest. With that match, organisations and candidates will be able to go through a five-minute speeddate.

“A crucial part of it is that we really delve into the skills and competencies of those visiting; not just their level of education or any work experience”

With those assessments, the company is eager to promote candidates that would otherwise perhaps not get a fair shot.  “A crucial part of it is that we really delve into the skills and competencies of those visiting; not just their level of education or any work experience”, said Marieke Wehner, Sollicitatiedokter’s MD. “With that, we avoid the idea of a usual suspect-driven hiring approach.”

The event is organised solely in Dutch — for now. To sign up, employers can follow this link. For those who need more information about the event in Dutch, they can follow this link.   

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Jasper Spanjaart

Jasper Spanjaart

Writer and editor at ToTalent

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