Guidance Provided By: The Handshake Team
Employers host a variety of virtual events on Handshake to connect with students across the country and provide an inside look at their companies.
Common virtual events include:
- Live Q&As with a recruiter or hiring manager. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions directly about what you’d like to know—including career opportunities, interview processes, company culture and more.
- Panel discussions with current employees, including recent grads or alumni. You can learn about their backgrounds, career journeys and experiences at the company. As with Q&A events, there is usually an opportunity for you to ask the panelists a question at the end.
- Office tours give you an exclusive look at what a typical day is like for an intern or new employee. Virtual tours are a unique way to see the lesser-known, fun aspects of life at the company that you can’t find anywhere else.
You should approach virtual event etiquette the same way you would for an in-person meeting with a potential employer. Here’s what to do before, during and after to make a great impression.
Before the event
- Do some research. Learn more about the company by reading through their employer page on Handshake, as well as their company website. You should also do a quick online search to find any recent news articles and other information that can help you prepare thoughtful questions to ask.
- Find a place to focus. Make sure that you are in a quiet place with a reliable internet connection, and test connectivity before the event. If you’re sharing the space with friends or family, ask if they can hold off on streaming movies or other activities that can take up a lot of internet bandwidth.
During the event
- Dress professionally. We all know it’s more comfortable to job search in your pj’s. But when you’re attending an employer event via video, it’s a good idea to showcase your favorite career-ready outfit.
- Set your computer in front of a neutral background. Keep the viewer’s eye focused on you, instead of the concert posters on your bedroom wall.
- Show up on time. It’s important that you are on time for the event. Try signing in a few minutes early so you can fix any technical issues before the event begins. Being on time shows the host that you’re responsible, and ensures you don’t ask a question about something that was covered earlier in the program.
- Maintain eye contact with the camera and concentrate on what the presenters are saying. Consider smiling and nodding occasionally as you would during an in-person conversation. Limit any distractions around you so that you’re not tempted to look away from your computer screen.
- Ask a question at the right time. Bring a list of prepared questions, because one or more of these may be covered during the event. Have a pen and paper nearby so you can jot down new questions that you think of during the conversation. It’s important to wait for the host to say that it’s time for audience questions, before attempting to ask yours.
- Consider tailoring your questions based on the type of event and who is hosting. For example, if you are attending a panel discussion on company diversity and inclusion, you might ask a question related to mentorship programs or resource groups for employees from underrepresented communities.
After the event
- Be prepared to follow up. Employers host virtual events on Handshake to raise awareness about their company and build excitement about open positions. So when the event is over, stay engaged by visiting the employer’s page on Handshake and exploring their open jobs and internships. You can follow the employer by clicking the Follow button on their page—so you’ll be the first to know when they post new jobs.
- Update your Handshake profile. A complete profile can help you get an early start on applying to one of the open jobs or internships. Check to see if a separate resume and cover letter are needed for the application so you can prepare them as well.
- Be responsive. Many recruiters will reach out to students on Handshake to follow up after an event. If you receive a message from an employer, be sure to reply as soon as possible. Thank them for hosting the event and share something specific that you enjoyed or were glad to learn about the company. This will clearly show your interest and may help you get an interview!