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Handshake Hacks

Making the switch to Job Auto-Approvals and launching Employer Collections

Learn how your peers are saving time and strategically promoting opportunities to students in 2024

Handshake recently co-hosted three webinars with ten panelists from partner institutions around the country who shared insights about switching to automated approvals and setting up employer collections. Read on to learn how it’s benefitted their teams!

Why switch to auto approvals?

Panelists reported saving up to 15 hours a week by switching to job auto approvals while continuing to utilize exception criteria to maintain scrutiny for positions that required a manual review.

“We're spending less time on approving jobs overall, which has been a lifesaver, so that we can dedicate time to other projects… From a numbers standpoint, I believe there was one point where more than 600 jobs a day were coming through.”

Emily Davies, Associate Director of Employer Relations at Boise State University

How should you set exception criteria?

Panelists worked with their teams and Handshake Relationship Managers to select job auto-approval exception criteria that suited their school. They mainly used employer tags, which highlight moral, ethical, or legal concerns needing extra evaluation before collaborating with specific employers. They also focused on unpaid, international, or potentially policy-misaligned roles. Panelists were able to redirect time previously spent on manual approvals to more impactful tasks such as improving First Destination Survey knowledge rates, boosting student engagement, and fostering stronger relationships with employers.

“It has certainly made a huge time difference in my day-to-day schedule! As the only staff member who processes approvals for three campuses, manually approving every job can be incredibly tedious… Now, I can set the criteria to catch jobs that might violate our recruiting policies and review them quickly.”

Juju Lucena, Career Services Handshake Specialist at University of Alaska

Safety on Handshake

Handshake takes trust and safety very seriously, and we have implemented many tools to ensure that auto approvals combined with exception criteria provides a good experience for everyone in the network.

“I've been super grateful to Handshake Trust & Safety’s work with our employers. I feel much more confident allowing [the auto-approval] process to work as opposed to using the piecemeal approach to approvals we had years ago, and happy to say that anytime that we've been notified about a student that might have been, you know, wary of an opportunity… None of them were found on Handshake. They were all almost exclusively through their personal email, or a job that they applied to like on an outside job board or anything like that. I think it's testament to how well the Handshake system has worked.”

Melissa Thiriez, Director, Employer Relations at Santa Clara University

What about jobs that may not be a fit for my students?

Handshake values your students’ time and goals, which is why relevance is one of our top priorities. By spending time on the platform and completing the Career Interests section of their profile, students are collaborating with our algorithm to produce the most relevant jobs and experiences possible—meaning they’re not likely to see opportunities in industries or cities that they’re not actively searching for.

Why should I use Employer Collections?

Students want and need guidance on choosing which employers to connect with, and Employer Collections are an incredibly effective way for your team to provide that advice right inside Handshake. Fun fact: jobs that are posted by employers in a collection receive 7x more job views, 8x job saves, and 7x clicked and submitted applications.

Valarie Jacobsen at the Miami University at Oxford described her team’s approach to breaking down collections to feel less overwhelming. She started by identifying the ones that resonated most with their team, e.g. close to campus and hires from our school. The close-to-campus one was pretty straightforward, filtering employers based on a ~35 mile radius to campus and selecting those that were familiar and well-regarded. They looked at data including first destination outcomes and previous employer fair registrations to identify the employers who consistently hire students and/or invest the time to recruit via campus events and prioritized these employers to boost to the “hires from our school” category.

To get started, we recommend leveraging reports in Handshake to identify 20 employers—like ones who have participated in a fair, recruited consistently, or are highly desired by students—to add into one or two collections. Consider the following reporting methods to choose which employers to boost:

Please note: you must be logged into Handshake as a career services user for these reports to work.

Next Steps

If you’re ready to implement job auto-approvals or collections, have questions about when your team should configure these settings, or need more information about keeping students safe on the network, your school’s dedicated Relationship Manager is here to help. Don’t hesitate to reach out!

Webinar recordings

Conversation featuring Xavier University, East Tennessee State University, University of Indianapolis, and Miami University at Oxford

Conversation featuring Elizabeth City State University, Boise State University, and Santa Clara University

Conversation featuring Hamilton College, College of Western Idaho, and University of Alaska

Special thanks

Our education partners are what sets Handshake apart, and we truly appreciate the time and wisdom shared by this team.

  • Abby Taylor, Director, Employer Engagement, Hamilton College
  • Alex Vest, Assistant Director of Career Center at Xavier University
  • Amber Lennon, Director at Elizabeth City State University
  • Emily Davies, Associate Director of Employer Relations at Boise State
  • Jenny Lockmiller, Director at East Tennessee State University
  • John Russ, Director at College of Western Idaho
  • Juju Lucena, Career Services Handshake Specialist at University of Alaska
  • Melissa Thiriez, Director, Employer Relations at Santa Clara University
  • Stephanie Kendall-Dietz, Director at Professional Edge Center, University of Indianapolis
  • Valarie Jacobsen, Director, Employer Relations at Miami University at Oxford

Additional resources

Level the playing field for your students