In March 2020, we refocused our product roadmap to develop features that would help our higher ed partners succeed in a virtual environment. As a major mechanism for facilitating student-employer engagement and driving career center revenue, we knew that building virtual career fair features was key.
We spent the spring conducting extensive research with our higher ed partners, students, and employers to determine how we could maintain the value of in-person fairs while redefining the experience in a virtual setting.
Our virtual career fair features will deliver a personal, efficient experience for students and employers while allowing schools to promote, administer, and report on the fair in one place for free this fall.
Meaningful connections between students and employers, virtually
In-person career fairs give students the opportunity to learn about new companies and make face-to-face connections with recruiters.
At a Handshake virtual career fair, students can learn about employers and share their profile in intimate group sessions or get 1:1 facetime with recruiters—all from their browser or Handshake’s mobile app. Each employer will be able to schedule the following during each virtual career fair:
- Five 30-minute group meetings that accommodate up to 50 students each. Multiple recruiters can attend, talk with students, and share their screen.
- 10-minute 1:1 meetings with students hosted by up to 15 recruiters. Each recruiter can set their own schedule and choose qualifications students must meet to attend.
Employers will be able to see profiles and public resumes, as well as message the students they engage at the fair, making it easy to prepare for and follow up on all of their sessions. You can read more about the employer scheduling process here.
Students and employers will have access to video, audio, and text-based chat during these meetings, enabling the personal connection of in-person fairs in a virtual, accessible setting.
Efficient experiences for students
Handshake virtual career fairs give students a more curated, efficient experience without having to wait in line. Before the fair, students will receive session recommendations via email and be able to easily review the list of attendees based on their interests.
Some students know what they’re looking for and want to pre-plan their day while others want to arrive at the fair and meet with employers of interest. Not only can both of these approaches work in a virtual environment—they’re even more efficient virtually.
Instead of plotting out a map of booths and waiting in lines, pre-planners can now browse employers ahead of time and schedule all of their sessions in advance. The day of the fair, students simply log into Handshake to attend their meetings.
For students who aren’t planners, it’s still possible to log onto Handshake to attend the fair on the day of the event and use filters (and our recommendations) on the fly to find relevant employers with sessions they’d like to attend. You can learn more about the student experience here.
Free and easy to use for schools
Finally, Handshake virtual career fairs offer comprehensive promotional, admin, and reporting tools for career services—plus, we’re making the features free to use for schools running student-employer career fairs in the fall of 2020.
Setting up your virtual career fair is simple (and quite similar to setting up an in-person fair). Learn more about the setup process here. As registrations roll in, you’ll get a comprehensive overview of how many employers have scheduled their meetings and how many students have signed up to attend each.
“The demographics of students are very different: business and engineering will be all over pre-scheduling, but we want the students who aren’t as career minded to be able to show up on the day of the fair and still have a positive experience.”Vicky Hamby, Senior Associate Director at University of South Carolina
We’re also releasing a virtual career fair launch kit containing marketing and training materials—from email templates, to one-pagers, to blog posts, and more—that allow you to build excitement about the fair and enable your team, students, and employers to be successful.
Your career center can register for the fair as an employer to provide day-of support and informational meetings with students—read more of our recommendations for staffing your fairs here. As always, we’ll be available to help troubleshoot too. After the fair, you’ll have access to granular attendance information via our analytics tools, allowing you to easily review data and build reports as needed.