Student Q&A FAQs

Tawnya -

What is Q&A?

 In Q&A (Question & Answer), students can ask career-related questions, and get answers from other students or alumni from any school. They will also receive targeted email digests of Q&A. 

Some things to note about the Q&A email digests:

  • Start date: September 10, 2018 (Career Fair)
  • A student will receive at most 6 emails over the course of four months
    • There are five email digest "themes", and they are based on student interests and their school identification (major, year). The career fair digest will be sent to everyone.
  • Students can unsubscribe at the bottom of the emails
  • Frequency of email campaigns
    • Career Fair: Once
    • Employer Views: Weekly
    • Industry: Bi-weekly
    • Major: Most will be bi-weekly, the others weekly
    • Underclass students at Liberal Arts Colleges: Monthly


Sample email digest


Example of Q&A on an employer's company page


Why Q&A?

We keep hearing from students that they have questions at every stage of the job search process, but it is difficult to get helpful, contextually-relevant answers. After exploring different approaches and conducting significant user research, we found Q&A to be the most effective format to deliver a personalized, engaging experience at scale. 

Through Q&A, we’re able to leverage the power of the Handshake network, and share the collective knowledge, advice and experiences that our community of students and alumni have to offer.


Did you consult any schools on Q&A?

We discussed and got feedback from directors at 22 schools, including American, Arizona, ASU, Boulder, Illinois, Johns Hopkins, Loyola Marymount, Miami, MSU, Northwestern, Penn, Princeton, Rochester, Rutgers, Spelman, Stanford, Tulane, USF, UVA, Villanova, and Wellesley. We further ran a pilot at 100+ schools this past spring. Their feedback and the pilot results have directly shaped this feature.


How has Reviews and Q+A Gone So Far?
Please find our 2018 Report on Reviews and Q+A Metrics and Career Services Feedback here.


How do you ensure appropriate content is shared?

 We’ve done extensive work around content moderation and student privacy, in consultation with employment and privacy counsel. Our main principles for publishing Q&A are as follows:


  • Content would live across all schools on the Handshake network, alumni and students
  • Student control of identity: Fully Public or Semi-Anonymous (all answers would show school, year & major)
  • Handshake would moderate content (see below)


All Q&A content is reviewed and moderated by Handshake moderators before it is published to ensure questions and answers meet our content guidelines:


  • Respect privacy: do not post personal information
  • Be constructive: do not ask questions or answers that are unhelpful or unrelated to helping other students advance their careers
  • Be honest, but don’t get personal: do not ask questions or submit answers that contain negative comments about individuals
  • Be professional: do not post profane, vulgar, discriminatory, hurtful or illegal content
  • Respect confidentiality: do not post information violating intellectual property or confidentiality
  • Stay on topic: do not post spam


Career Services



  • Why do some questions and answers not have schools or students attached?
    • There are two reasons a question or answer would be missing a student/school:
      • 1.) Students can choose to remain anonymous when submitting questions and answers
      • 2.) A set of questions were created by Handshake 


  • Can staff receive alerts when new Q&A is posted?
    • We will introduce the ability for Career Services staff to turn on notifications about new Q&A by October.


  • For multi-office campuses, can we get the ability to filter Q&A by school?
    • We do not currently have this functionality, but will circle back with our plans in this regard.
  • How have universities connected or aligned peer advising programs with the Review and Q&A platforms within Handshake?  
    We encourage schools to ask similar best practice questions to generate more ideas at our Handshake Community siteChristian Garcia provided the following example. 

    We haven't connected these officially, but it's something I am having my Director of Career Education add to the spring Peer Advisor training/re-training. I want the PAs to become well versed in these new features so they can not only speak to them intelligently, they can actually show them as well. We also launched a new program called Toppel Taco Tuesdays where we take our PAs and staff (each in yellow shirts with varying messages) to a specific spot on campus to engage students and get them to engage with Handshake. We have high tops with laptops/iPads for us to show students what Handshake is all about, how easy it is to use, and how they can learn from their peers. As a result, this is another way we are connected our PAs to these new features. 


  • How do you market these resources to your students and how does this inform the work career services are doing with students? Abra mentioned in the webinar that her team promoted Reviews in their student newsletter! We have also heard good examples of career coaches guiding students to the Reviews section on the employer page during career coaching appointments. The goal being to guide students to another resource to learn more about a company from their peers.


  • What is your experience with graduate and online students? Do you see many graduate level or doctoral students utilizing this platform? This is a really great question. These platforms are designed to bring together perspectives from students across the country so are a great resource for online students, who may conduct most of their career education online. We pulled some numbers, and so far, 85,000+ Masters students and 10,000+ Doctoral students have read Reviews on Handshake!




  • How will Q&A be presented to students?
    • Students will find Q&A on their homepage, and on job and employer pages when relevant content is available.
    • Ask: students can submit questions on any Q&A page.
    • Answer: Handshake reaches out to students and alumni who have public profiles on Handshake and have relevant backgrounds to answer questions. We’ve found that both students and alumni have been very willing and eager to answer and share their advice with fellow students.  We’ve also been excited to see that alumni from all types, regions and industries are willing to share their feedback.
    • How do students/alumni ask and answer questions?


  • Can a student ask or answer a question anonymously?
    • Asking: Students can choose between asking questions anonymously or doing so publically
    • Answering: students have two options when answering questions:
      • Fully visible: Display full name, photo, school, school year and major
      • Semi-anonymous: Hide full name and photo, but display school, school year and major
    • Rationale: After talking to students, the overwhelming feedback was that totally anonymous answers were significantly less valuable. This is because some context around who is behind the answer is important for establishing credibility and understanding if an answer is relevant to a student. For example, an English major at a small liberal arts college may find an answer from an engineering student at a large state school interesting, but less relevant to them personally.


  • Can students submit questions and answers that are visible only to other students and not employers?
    • No, all Q&A will be visible to other students, employers and career centers.


  • Do students at my school only see reviews from other students at my school?
    • Q&A will come from students and alumni from any school across the Handshake network. Harnessing the power of the network will provide a significantly more valuable experience, for students to be able to get insight from a far broader set of “answerers.” For example, if you are a student at a technical school in Arizona, but are interested in working in design in New York, you will likely benefit from answers shared by design students or alumni from a school with that speciality. Even students at schools with broad alumni bases will benefit, because no school has a broad enough distribution by geography and industry to help the long-tail of your students who are not otherwise engaging with Career Centers.  




  • Can employers see Q&A about them in Handshake?
    • Yes, employers can see and answer Q&A about them on their employer pages, exactly as students see them. You can see an example of what employer related Q&A looks like in this article here.
  • Can an employer flag an answer?
    • Yes! Click the flag located on the answer, and then follow the directions provided. 


  • What if a question or answer upsets an employer?
    • We’ve found the majority of submitted Q&A to be thoughtful, constructive and high quality. Q&A is moderated so that content that doesn’t meet the standards set in our content guidelines is not published.   
  • Will employers be notified when new Q&A gets posted about them? 
    • We currently do not have this functionality, and will circle back with plans in this respect.
  • Can employers answer questions?
    • Yes, in order to answer a question click on the Answers and fill out your answer which will be reviewed. 



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