In a recent survey of over 2,400 students, Handshake uncovered a strong preference for virtual engagement this fall and beyond. 87% of respondents stated that, in a post-COVID world, they would prefer some virtual component to their career events.
Of the almost 1,700 respondents who attended a virtual event over the last year:
- 71% said that engaging virtually with employers was less intimidating
- 75% said that meeting employers virtually gave them more flexibility around scheduling
In reflecting on the benefits of virtual, it’s important to consider how they translate to the relationships that career educators build with their students. Similar to attending events with employers, some students may hit barriers related to confidence around stopping by the career center in person for an appointment. Others might find it hard to make the time.
While many students will be eager to engage with your teams in person, a year of being virtual necessitates flexibility. Meeting students where they are—whether in-person or virtual—can help you reach a more diverse population and close engagement gaps across gender, race, and ethnicity.
While virtual appointments have been offered at many schools in the past, Handshake is here to make the process even easier. We want our partners to thrive in a virtual-first fall. That’s why we’re launching virtual appointments on Handshake, with seamless, integrated video (that you’ll recognize from virtual fairs), to help schools reach more students—for free.
How will virtual appointments work?
Career Services Experience
Schools offering virtual appointments through Handshake have historically had to spend time manually generating virtual meeting links from external platforms and shoehorning them into appointment fields. Virtual appointments on Handshake are a breeze to set up.
This summer, we’ll launch a new “Virtual on Handshake” appointment medium that you can add to your existing appointment blocks. It’ll also be included in any new appointment blocks you create by default. Each advisor will have the flexibility to offer virtual appointments when they want.
Including “Virtual on Handshake” and a physical location as mediums on the same appointment block allows you to offer a hybrid of virtual and in-person appointments to students.
When you’re ready to start the appointment, you’ll see a “Start Video Appointment” button in the same place where you see the “Appointment Started” button today. Just click to launch!
The video experience will be very similar to virtual fair 1:1 sessions. The student and advisor will have access to chat, audio and video. The sessions will also support screen sharing so that you can easily facilitate resume reviews.
Reporting on appointments will work just as it did before. You can use our pre-built appointment reports as an easy way to get started. Just remember to add the appointment medium field to your reports so that you can see which were hosted virtually on Handshake.
Scheduling virtual appointments will look the same for students with one important tweak. Previously, the appointment medium field would default to the first option listed. We’re updating the field so that it defaults to blank—this will mean students have to click in to review their options, helping them see that virtual appointments are available.
In the lead-up to the appointment, we’ll update our notification emails to remind the student that the appointment is virtual. An hour before the appointment, our final reminder email will include a button the student can click to log in and launch the appointment.
The link to join the appointment will appear five minutes before the start time. Clicking the button to join the appointment will mark the student as checked in.
How can I learn more?
We’ll share more information about configuring, testing, and offering virtual appointments on Handshake over the course of the summer. Keep an eye on our biweekly newsletters for details.
In the meantime, if you’re interested in using virtual appointments on Handshake this fall, log into Handshake and fill out our quick one-question survey to let us know. We’ll use responses to better understand who to reach out to with updates (including reaching out for early beta testers).
This fall, we’ll re-launch our office hours to help address questions related to virtual appointments (in addition to virtual fairs). Stay tuned for more details.