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.
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 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
- 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.
- How do students/alumni ask and answer questions?
- 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.
- 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 Q&A about them on their employer pages, exactly as students see them.
- 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.