#GetHiredOnHandshake: Connecting with Employers on Handshake

Good morning Jumbos!

If you attended our Career Fairs last month, you probably already know how beneficial direct contact with employers can be when looking for employment. In a sea of applicants, it can be hard to stand out, so anything you can do to add a personal connection to the application process will work in your favor. Did you know that there’s an option to direct message employers right on the Handshake platform, and even to set up a call? Handshake is the only platform with a network of employees that have actively made themselves available to students. These employers want to speak with you and help you along in your career – so don’t hesitate to reach out!

Why should I connect with an employer on Handshake?

Reaching out to an employer that interests you demonstrates that you are proactive and a self-starter. Employers appreciate students who utilize their resources and take advantage of opportunities.  Furthermore, starting a dialogue helps increase the likelihood that a recruiter will remember your name in a stack of resumes, and that never hurts.

Aside from the networking component, messaging an employer can also help you get some insider knowledge about a position from someone who knows it best. Job descriptions can often be vague or nondescript, and connecting directly with a recruiter can help get you some clarity about what exactly a job entails and the skills an employer is particularly looking for. This information can prepare you to put your best foot forward for interviews.

What types of questions should I ask an employer?

After you’ve found an employer that interests you, you then have your chance to let them know why you’re interested and why you’d be a good fit. Start off with a friendly opening and tell them a little bit about yourself and where you want your career to go. Keep the content of your message in alignment with the job role that you’re applying for. And ask questions! Curiosity about the role is a good sign to the employer that you’re genuinely interested, and a question is more likely to get you a response back.

When you chat with an employer on Handshake, you get their undivided attention. You can keep the interaction on messenger, or you could even use the opportunity to request a phone or video chat. Rather than replacing job interviews, info chats are more informal, practical conversations that can help students stand out amongst their peers. These short 15-minute video sessions are promoted by employers via job postings and messages and can be scheduled at the student’s convenience. You may want to use this opportunity ask questions about company culture, open roles, how you might fit in, and anything else that might help you get a better sense of the opportunities open to you. Employers will be able to give you an inside view of what it’s like to work there and offer insights into whether you’d enjoy the culture and the role. Here are some starter questions you may wish to ask:

  • What’s the day-to-day like for this role, and what responsibilities would I have?
  • What’s the typical career path for someone starting in this role?
  • What skills do I need to be successful, and what skills should I start building up now?
  • What is the company culture like?

Be sure to share your professional goals and interests with the recruiter to help them better understand if you’d be a good fit, too.

How do I message an employer on Handshake? 

You can find the opportunity to chat on certain jobs that are recommended for you. Just schedule a time in the slot shown on the job. You may also get a message from an employee or recruiter asking you to book a virtual info chat directly with them.

Keep an eye out for these opportunities to connect with employers and take advantage!


By Willa Mayo
Willa Mayo Recruiting Coordinator, Employer Relations