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Looking for a bank career? M&T, Evans try virtual job fairs

Not everyone who is exploring a new job wants other people to know about it.

Some job hunters might steer clear of a career fair to avoid bumping into a co-worker who could spread the news. As a result, employers might miss out on good hiring prospects.

Both M&T Bank and Evans Bank are trying a new approach that allows job hunters to be more discreet. They are offering “virtual” job fairs, allowing potential candidates to chat online with recruiters about openings.

M&T did its first one this week. It will host another one Dec. 7, and plans to have one each month in 2017. Evans’ first virtual career fair will be Dec. 8.

Their approaches are slightly different. M&T sends registration invitations to prospects it identifies through sources like LinkedIn and CareerBuilder, as well as drawing from a database of applicants to M&T. The bank gives individuals specific times to chat online with recruiters. Evans’ virtual career fair is open to the public. Participants can log in for one-on-one chat sessions starting at 11 a.m. on Dec. 8.

Marcie Vassallo, manager of talent acquisition for M&T, said virtual career fairs are “another avenue” for the bank, and won’t replace any of its other recruitment efforts.

“A lot of people like to interact online nowadays and through social media, so this is another way to get to that group of people,” Vassallo said.

A total of 129 people registered for M&T’s two-hour virtual job fair on Wednesday and were given 10-minute appointments, Vassallo said. M&T has about 750 job openings -- about 250 of which are in Western New York -- and will focus each of its virtual career fairs on particular job categories. Its first virtual job fair, on Wednesday, centered on technology jobs. Next week’s will target commercial lending positions.

Vassallo described the first virtual job fair as a success: “The quality and the caliber of the people were really, really good,” Vassallo said. Some of the chats will lead to follow-up, in-person interviews.

Evans’ virtual job fair will run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 8, and will focus on openings in four specific areas: information technology internal controls specialist, credit analyst, commercial loan officer and employee benefits account executive.

Evans wanted to cater to an audience that is used to doing so many other things online nowadays, including their banking transactions, said Kevin Brady, vice president of marketing.

“We’re certainly not abandoning the traditional routes” of recruiting,” Brady said.

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