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4 Strategies for employer success on Handshake

Put recruiting on autopilot by adopting these strategies for getting started on Handshake.

You already know that Handshake is the best way to connect with and recruit students and recent grads across the country, but are you utilizing the platform to its full potential? Whether you’ve just joined us (welcome!) or have been a loyal Handshake champion for a while now, these useful tips and tricks can help enrich the employer experience.

1. Make a great first impression

Eye contact, a firm handshake, and a smile go a long way in making a memorable first impression in person, but what about when you’re trying to impress students, potential candidates, and schools online? How do you boost your credibility and make yourself stand out? On Handshake, you do it with your Employer Page.

Handshake gives each employer a trust score that allows schools to see how active you are on the platform. Many factors play into this score, including how many schools have accepted or rejected your invitation to connect, events you’ve been approved to attend, and how complete your profile is. If you have a lackluster Employer Page, schools will be less inclined to connect with you.

To boost your trust score and make a great first impression, add external links to your page—like your company’s website or careers page—and be sure to include a detailed mission statement that shows early talent what you’re all about. The more information you have on your page, the more credible you'll appear to schools (and students, too!).

Your Employer Page is your homepage on Handshake—it should include your name, logo, public contact information, photos, and a description of your company. By being intentional and comprehensive, you’ll improve your image with schools and attract more students.

2. Take advantage of student testimonials

When’s the last time you bought something other than groceries without looking up reviews on the product? We solicit feedback to inform everything we do these days— from purchasing decisions to where we work—so it should come as no surprise that students want to hear from fellow students or recent alumni who work at your company.

Give them what they want by showcasing 2-3 student testimonials in your profile description. Choose quotes that emphasize your company’s top differentiators so you can attract the right candidates. We suggest asking interns or full-time hires to share a testimonial that you can then proudly display on your Employer Page. This element of personalization gives potential candidates insight into why they should want to work with you.

If you want to be even more impressive, you can dynamically display relevant testimonials to varying talent segments with Handshake Premium. For example, if a candidate who majored in computer science views your profile, they’ll see testimonials from software engineers at your company first.

3. Engage candidates personally

Posting to the masses will certainly get you a lot of candidates for a job, but how many of them will be who you’re looking for? Handshake allows you to filter for candidates that match your specific needs, such as a software engineer who has skills in Java and Python and wants to work in San Diego. The fact that you can filter by choosing characteristics to exclude in your search helps you narrow the field even more, allowing you to focus on the quality of candidates, not the quantity.

Once you filter, you can send up to 100 individual messages to students per recruiting season (200/year). If you’re looking to do a little more, Handshake Premium offers full segmentation and messaging to large groups. With Premium, you can save your filters as Segments so you can engage these saved groups without having to duplicate your search later on.

The best part is that you can even send personalized messages to the students in your segments at scale using Campaigns. Learn how to send a job or event Campaign here.

There are a few things to keep in mind with Campaigns:

  • Consider the students. They want to feel like they’re connecting with real people—not a company. Personalize your message to make students notice that you’re talking to them one-on-one.
  • Stand out with your messaging. This is your chance to capture their attention. Add job details, hyperlinks to your website, or introduce your ambassadors within each Campaign message.
  • Offer a great candidate experience. Candidates want clear communication that’s consistent. Be honest throughout every step of the recruiting process, including your outreach.
  • Keep it small. You want highly qualified candidates, so keep your segments targeted. On average, Handshake Campaigns have a 65% open rate (3.5x higher than the recruiting industry average)!
  • Consider the timing. Students are typically enjoying their summers off, which is why engagement decreases during this time. If you want to capture students’ attention, consider reaching out during the spring or fall when they’re back in school.
  • Follow up. Not every student will view or respond to your first message. Send a follow-up as a reminder of the job opening. Handshake Premium makes this super easy with its scheduling feature, so you’ll never miss an opportunity to nurture exceptional candidates.

Once you’ve addressed these considerations, you’re ready to create your outreach. This is where you'll need to focus on who you’re actually looking for. If you filter broadly, you’ll get a larger talent pool, but many of those candidates might not be right for the role. On the flip side, if you filter down too much, you risk too few candidates. Segmenting properly and using data to understand what works best for you and your top-of-funnel goals is key to your success.

Another thing to consider is reaching out to diverse talent. Students from HBCUs, women’s colleges, and other minority groups want to be treated like every other student. Engage them the same way you would others—by focusing on their achievements, interests, and more.

Candidates with diverse backgrounds also want to see themselves at your company. Make sure you show them represented on your employer profile. Photos from your employee resource groups (ERGs), student testimonials, and a timely mission statement are great ways to emphasize your dedication to diversity!

4. Grow your school network—slowly, but surely

Many times, employers jump into Handshake and immediately start requesting to connect with schools. You know that you need to build a solid profile before you start reaching out to schools, but there are a few other things to consider as well.

Starting out small not only builds your trust score, but it also shows potential school connections that other schools are interested in you. Start out with 10 schools you’d like to connect with and go from there. Choose schools whose students are likely to be a good match—based on location or field of concentration.

Tip: Make sure your contact information is public and that someone will respond regularly to emails or phone calls. Schools measure your validity based on whether you can be reached at the listed contact information.

The more accessible you are, the more likely schools will be to accept your request.

Your trust score increases as you connect with more schools, so the slow and steady approach really does benefit you in more ways than one. As you grow your network, you can diversify your talent pool and expand it according to your hiring needs.

It’s key to recognize the importance of the recruiting process in building relationships with both schools and students. When it comes to connecting with schools, reach out to their career center, let them know who you are and what your company is all about, and ask how you can partner with them. Their contact information is already on Handshake, so it’s super easy to build these relationships. We suggest creating a branded one-pager that highlights all of this information for the career center in an easily digestible format.

Nurture these relationships even before you’re accepted by the school. It can obviously help get you accepted, but it’s also a great way to start a conversation about partnerships, hosting virtual events, and much more.

Get started

These tips should help you get started with Handshake and enhance your experience on the platform. The Handshake platform is a powerful tool to build relationships, engage students and schools, and find great candidates for job openings. If you want to take your efforts up a notch, check out Handshake Premium.

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