Genuine connections, genuine impact: Handshake’s Virtual Career Fair Feature

Fanny Restuccia

June 24, 2020

At Handshake, we think the digital world holds the key to breaking down barriers. 

This is why our platform places a huge amount of emphasis on facilitating high-quality, authentic communication between all of the different actors involved in graduate recruitment, not least the graduates themselves. With the new release of our Virtual capabilities comes a slate of possibilities specifically geared to providing students with information that is relevant to their unique interests and skills. 

If you’re anything like me, the first time you heard of a virtual career fair the image that came to mind was more SimCity than 2020. I blame my lack of imagination, but instinctively I’d pictured avatars wandering from e-booths to forum chat rooms, taking the odd pause by a giant question mark icon for a query to an automated bot. Very Farmville. Not very appealing.

Thankfully, I have wonderfully talented colleagues who understood that we could do much better than just recreate the physical experience. Driven by feedback from students, careers’ professionals and employers - they’ve created a feature that can deliver impact in new, tangible ways. Through live video, audio and chat, in an environment which is accessible and secure for all participants, Handshake’s Virtual Fair has reinvented mass-events.

Virtual Fairs have the potential to go far beyond what has been possible in terms of creating high-value interactions at scale. Within Handshake, students no longer aimlessly walk down aisles filled with booths, constantly discouraged by long queues or choosing to speak only to the employers savvy enough to offer pizza. Instead, Handshake’s powerful algorithm will recommend worthwhile employers to make sure they don’t miss a potential match. They can view employer profiles in advance or on the day, arrange to speak with recruiters at specific times or spontaneously join sessions that catch their eye. 

Through Handshake, Employers are no longer completely passive, hoping their future leaders will happen to wander by the booth at the right time. Instead, they can proactively communicate with registrants before the fair - advertising meeting slots, talking about their brand and sharing available roles. Not only does this guarantee they will be spending their time on high-quality candidates, it is more importantly a fantastic boost for students whose experience of the fair is even more personalised as a result.

The Handshake Product and Engineering teams have been working tirelessly for Virtual Fairs to be operational by the end of July, when we will be hosting the Big East Careers Fair on the 30th of that month. A consortium of 10 Universities, all of their students and employers: talk about starting with a bang. 

We’re so proud of what has been achieved and are always happy to share more about our work - so get in touch to start a conversation, at, or watch some of the webinars we’ve run on the topic and let us know what you think.