Handshake: An Increase in Job Postings, But is it Better?
At the beginning of the fall semester the Skidmore Career Development Center (CDC) switched from Symplicity (i.e. MyCDC) to a new platform, Handshake. Many of Skidmore’s peer schools had already made this switch. Currently 475 colleges and university use Handshake. Skidmore attended a demo of Handshake, and “while Handshake is a relatively new platform (begun around 2015), our colleagues were ecstatic about it. So, we decided to take a closer look” said Kim Crabbe, Executive Director of the CDC. Both platforms cost the same amount.
Handshake and MyCDC have many similarities. Both are online platforms that manage job and internship opportunities, CDC events, student usage tracking and recruiting events. “That said, Handshake has proven to be a far superior product…. [and] the platform is much more user friendly, and students can build a profile that employers can access when they are searching for particular candidates” said Crabbe. Erin Silgardo ’18 disagreed, saying that “it’s more aesthetically pleasing than what they had before, but it’s not user friendly.”
A new feature with Handshake is that students can now set up appointments with a career counselor at any time of the day. In the past students had to call, email, or visit the CDC to schedule a visit. However, the biggest change is that the number of jobs and internships on the platform have quadrupled. “We went from 800 internships/jobs on MyCDC to over 3,000 right now on Handshake” said Crabbe. Employers can search for the schools they are most interested in recruiting from and post their jobs and internships to those schools’ sites.
So far, in about one semester, 50% of the student body has logged on and about 45% have completed profiles. Handshake has told Skidmore that they are far ahead of their peers who have only about 30% profile completion.
“Since the day we went live in September 2017, students have raved about Handshake. We have not had any students contact us with any challenges they may have been experiencing in using the system” said Crabbe. The CDC, though, might want to seek other student feedback on the system because the first two people I told I was writing this article explained how the system was not great and had flaws. For example, one friend explained that after they indicated their majors, Handshake recommended unrelated jobs, while the other shared that Handshake only recommended camp counselor jobs despite feeling more qualified for other positions.