Bridging the gap between employees and employers

Steve Edwards is the CEO of PremierVirtual, a SaaS platform for online virtual job and career fairs. Their online hiring events platform was designed to bridge the gap between technology and the human experience. As the virtual events market becomes increasingly crowded, Premier Virtual has risen to the top by providing everything clients need and want to run successful virtual recruiting events on a single platform. CEO and Founder Steve Edwards is focused on releasing improvements that make the platform simpler, more efficient, and more efficient.

Steve is a US Army veteran and uses his extensive military background to run and grow his own successful software company, helping employees land their dream jobs from his platform.

I had the opportunity to interview Steve recently. Here are some of the highlights of this interview:

Jill Griffin: Steve, I know you have military training. Can you tell me more?

Steve Edwards: I went to the army right out of high school. I was in the 82nd airborne division of the army. I graduated on June 4thandturned 18 on June 15and and on August 4, I was in basic training. I spent three years in Fort Bragg jumping out of a plane. I was from 1994 to 1998, then joined the Florida National Guard for three years after that. I served, I jumped planes, but I never went overseas.

Griffin: How did you go from the military to transitioning into owning a software company?

Edwards: When I got out of the army, I didn’t know where to live. I looked at different schools and narrowed it down to Colorado State or FAU. I chose Florida. I’ve always been in sales, and that’s my kind of job. I graduated, got a job as a stockbroker, then got into the mortgage business, but that ran its course in 2007.

Then I got into outbound sales and my market was New York, New Jersey, Florida, and Texas. All I was doing was traveling to these markets and building a sales team for our client.

Griffin: How do you form a sales team?

Edwards: Job boards and job fairs. I was going to all these job fairs, and then the company shut down the division I was in. I went to my current business partner and said I had a great idea. I’ve traveled the country, and there’s a company in New Jersey, and I love what they do. They organize a very effective type of job fair. So, we bought this guy from New Jersey a license agreement to run his business.

I was doing in-person job fairs in North Carolina, Florida, Texas, and Arizona. What happened was that I started to see a slowdown in 2017. And as people stopped coming to my job fairs, companies wanted to stop paying. Well, in 2017 I was newly married with a new baby, I had to figure something out. Someone told me about virtual job fairs and I had never heard of them. Then I saw a demo, and instantly I was like, this is it. It’s the future. I liked it. .

Also, during this period, all my friends and recruiters told me that I was crazy because virtual wouldn’t work. But I said, just look at the trends. And you know what, quarantine has shown businesses that virtual works, right? Three years ago they would think it was ineffective. But people learn to be efficient, right? So we launched our second version of our software in September. And we’re constantly improving, and we’re always listening to our customers – taking their feedback and improving ourselves.

Griffin: Tell me about some of your clients and some of the successes you’ve had.

Edwards: There are so many success stories and great clients, but there are 2 to mention here. And one of them is the army. The US Army has used our platform for several recruiting events. I say this is my number one hit because twenty years ago I was sitting at the recruiting station, and they showed me a big laser disk with military jobs. Twenty years later, they’re using my platform to help enlist soldiers. But now it’s not a big laser disc anymore; it’s videos and a virtual platform. People are now using my platform to participate in something I did over 20 years ago.

The second largest is the state of Massachusetts. They organized an event on our platform with 1696 companies and more than 17,000 job seekers. And there were over 1.3 million views on the company’s booth that can’t be done in person. The biggest job fair ever. We work with many workforce development councils across the country. Thus, each state has a workforce development council. The government funds it and it helps people either get back to work or find better jobs. More workforce councils use our platform than any other platform.

Griffin: What brought you to the workforce niche?

Edwards: It was easy. When COVID came and shut down the world, what did I know? I knew about job fairs. I’ve spent years hosting in-person job fairs. We went to every company that had in-person job fairs, and workforce development was important to doing that. So we said, hey, here’s an opportunity for you. We told them to move their in-person events to online. People didn’t understand it at the time. Besides Massachusetts, Virginia hosted a hiring event with over 15,000 applicants. Florida also hosted a statewide Veteran Career Fair on our platform. So when you look at these things, some of the biggest job fairs ever have been hosted on our platform.

Griffin: Incredible. Tell me about their measurements. What are they looking to recruit?

Edwards: THere are three types of people involved in the process. You have the event host. The host can be workforce development, a college like Florida Atlantic University, or a veterans organization. So they are the host.

Then you have the organizations or employers present at the event. They are the ones who hire.

Then you have the participants or job seekers. You have Susie – job seeker, logs into the event, sees places or industries, clicks on the marketing tab, then stopping businesses looking for people in marketing. She goes in, clicks on ABC Marketing and loves it. She then submits her resume, can search for the company, can chat and re-video in seconds with that company. It’s effective.

The event host knows how many people registered, how many booths they visited, who they visited, and how many chat messages were there. They know how many interviews have been scheduled and how many resumes have been submitted. So now they can find out their ROI – how many people were hired for that event. We have all the data, and it can be tracked.

Griffin: So how is your business rewarded for your platform?

Edwards: Organizations pay us for a single event or have an annual license. Over 80% of our customers have at least one year up to a five year agreement with us. There’s a lot that goes into that, which makes us better because we’re one of the only ones who are truly limitless. If you want to have five events simultaneously, you can do that. Our competitors do not allow this.

The reward is the reviews we receive from our customers. We have a whole team called our Customer Success Team. Once a customer joins us, they are directed to the customer success team. We train them and we train their hiring organizations. Our customer success team receives daily emails about their amazing quality. Not just from the host, but also from the organizations. That’s why we are top rated on all software review sites. This team is rewarded by the reviews our customers give us.

Griffin: Very sincere. As we end here, what can you say to our readers who are lost right now and want to find their career direction? What advice would you have for them?

Steve Edwards: For applicants, one is to make sure your resume is polished. Don’t just have one resume, have multiple resumes – one for sales, one for leadership, one for engineering, etc. Also, if you are applying online, have a spreadsheet and update it with the companies you are applying to and the steps you are taking. takes. And don’t just submit your resume to 50 companies. Be sure to research all of the companies you submit your resume to.

Next, prepare for your interview. Research the company and make sure you know everything. Here is what you do, find the person who will interview you. Look for them on LinkedIn. Create 15-20 questions you want to ask during the interview.

An interview should be a conversation. Bring a pen and notebook and write down the answers as the interviewee responds. At the end of the interview, ask questions. Show them you’ve prepared, which shows them you care.

Now, in the virtual world, one thing you need to do on virtual job fairs is to make sure your profile is complete. You should have everything in there and leave nothing out. Because on our platform companies can see their profile and experience. They can also watch a video interview on your profile. Practice your video interviews. We actually built a platform for candidates to watch a video and answer questions. Thus, job seekers practice their video interview directly on our platform. Now candidates can practice this video interview before they even get there.

Griffin: I like this. I agree with you; I’ve always told people to go to their interview, take notes, and show them that you really care about what they say.

Edwards: Exactly. If I take notes, it shows them that I care. And I actually repeat what they say. Because what is an interview? An interview should be a good conversation. I tell people to research the person a bit, and if you can’t, research the company. Google them or search for them on LinkedIn.

Griffin: It’s the truth! Steve, it was fabulous. Thank you very much for your time and valuable information about your virtual recruitment platform as well as the recruitment industry.

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