Ever done a job interview while sitting on your couch, wearing a pair of sweats and munching on a bag of chips?


Not likely, at least if you want the job. However, there is an opportunity to live out that scene Thursday.


That's when the Central Kanas Virtual Job Fair will take place. To attend, all one needs is a computer and internet connection. A suit and tie is very optional.


“This is a totally different atmosphere for people to interact,” said Ellie Kuhn, sales and marketing director for GateHouse Live, a part of the GateHouse Media company. “We see expos and live expos all the time. There is cost for setting up booths, costs for time for businesses to man that booth. A virtual event gives them that same experience, but in a virtual reality world.”


The virtual career fair has been done in other places, all around the world, with success. The concept is now coming to central Kansas as a cooperative effort by The Newton Kansan, The Hutchinson News, The McPherson Sentinel, The Salina Journal and The Pratt Tribune.


All five media organizations are owned by GateHouse Media. In this case, the companies in the expo will be mostly from the central Kansas region.


“It is ideal to a regional event like this,” Kuhn said. “It will be more appealing to job seekers, and to businesses, to reach outside of your county and area. You can reach people who are willing to drive an hour to work, and it will open more doors.”


During registration at centralkansas.vfairs.com, users can upload a resumé and give their contact information including their Linkedin.com profile if they have one.


The career fair will look a lot like what one would expect at a job or career fair, though everything will be virtual. There will be an exhibition hall, with businesses having their own booths. All of that will be represented graphically for attendees on their own computer screen.


Those in attendance at the fair can click on a booth and explore job opportunities with each individual booth. It's like “Second Life” or “The Sims” in a job fair setting.


“Do not be intimidated by the newness of this,” Kuhn said. “It is easy to use, and very convenient for job seekers. They can state everything on their computer. If they see information they want, they can save it to their desktop. They can save videos or brochures. Everything you would see at an expo, you can pick up in this virtual environment. It is all digital, you are saving on paper, time and cost from employers. It is very easy to use.”


The hosting company, vfairs.com, has partnered with organizations worldwide to create virtual fairs including job fairs and other types of virtual events. 


“They have worked with some very big companies,” Kuhn said.