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Handshake’s vision for increasing access

All early talent should be able to build their best career. And for that to happen, we believe there has to be open access to opportunity.

This post was written by Ben Christensen, Co-Founder of Handshake.

Garrett, Scott, and I started Handshake to solve a problem that we faced personally, and one that we saw impacting so many others as well. We saw friends with amazing skill sets who weren’t able to get access to the jobs and employers that excited them. Handshake was built to democratize access to opportunity—to help people have access to opportunity and not be missed or looked over because of who they are, where they are from, or where they received their education or built their skills.

All early talent should be able to build their best career. And for that to happen, we believe there has to be open access to opportunity.

Your experience today

Handshake’s uniquely positioned 3-sided marketplace brings together students, education partners, and employers with the same mission: Help early talent seekers find the right role to kickstart their career.

Currently, employers on Handshake often face hurdles when trying to reach the right candidates for their open roles. When an employer joins Handshake, they have to be approved by schools to conduct recruiting activity at that school. That means time-strapped career services spend a lot of time approving these employers instead of doing what they do best—facilitating meaningful connections and career experiences for students.

Furthermore, when approving employers, career services users have needed some way to gauge an employer’s legitimacy. To date, many education partners have used an employer's Trust Score to determine which employers and jobs to approve for posting. While the Trust Score started as a way to help career services users vet employers, over time the Trust Score became a less reliable indicator of legitimacy. Some legitimate employers weren’t able to conduct recruiting activities on the platform because of the way the Trust Score was calculated. Small, local employers were especially impacted.

“Career services play an important role in helping students identify and fulfill their career goals—connecting interested, diverse students with employers and unique, career-advancing experiences. At the same time, career services teams have been stretched thin by reduced budgets and staffing. Opening the Handshake network will reduce the administrative burden on our career services partners, freeing them to do what they do best.”

Christine Cruzvergara, Chief Education Strategy Officer, Handshake

At the end of the day, we don’t think we’ve provided the best way to encourage more connections and relationships between all employers, education partners, and students. And we think there’s a more effective way for our education partners to collaborate with employers, while still maintaining a trustworthy network. So we’re doing something about it.

Building for better access

Over the next few quarters, we’re working on making it easier for students, education partners, and employers to connect with each other. To ensure we’re enhancing Handshake in a way that will make everyone in the Handshake community successful, we’re working closely with partners and representatives from all sides of our network to inform our strategic approach.

Coming soon, we’re going to remove the Trust Score and shift the responsibility of vetting employer legitimacy from education partners to Handshake by implementing state-of-the-art fraud detection systems within our network. This internal validation process will ensure that all legitimate employers on our platform are able to quickly make the most of Handshake’s network and more thoroughly protect them from fraudulent activity.

Throughout the next year, we’ll undertake multiple initiatives to build for even better access. Our overarching goal is to make it easier for all employers to get their jobs in front of relevant candidates. We’re investing in building a community where students have access to all relevant opportunities with the guidance and support of their career services team. We will continue to keep our partners in the loop as we implement this vision to increase students' access to opportunity.

Evolving for everyone

Handshake begins and ends with our early talent. We want to continue to build on our goal of democratizing opportunity for all and are excited to share this evolution with all of our network soon.

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