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With virtual events, employers are able to engage with students from all backgrounds, disciplines, and interests, regardless of where they go to university. Ultimately, virtual events are an impactful way for students to connect with the fabric of your brand: they give prospects the opportunity to ask live questions, see offices, and interact with employees in the field and in real time.
Note: Check out our downloadable PDF guide attached at the bottom of this article for more tips!
Setting up a virtual event
To set up a virtual event, you’ll need to request a new event in Handshake.
1. Click on Events from the left menu column.
2. Click on Request Event in the top right corner.
3. Make sure you select Virtual Event in the format section, and include the URL to your online event in the text box that appears.
- The URL should be a link to the livestream platform you will be using for this event.
From your view, you will see the event marked as Approved immediately upon creation; this is because you "own" the event. You still need to make sure you add an institution to your event - the event will need to be approved at the institution(s) in order for students to locate and register for the event!
For more details on requesting an event in Handshake, refer to How to Request an Event.
Types of virtual events
- Office tour
- If your office is open, highlight what a day in the life of an intern or new university grad would be like. If your office is currently closed, share any videos you might have on YouTube that showcase everyday life.
- Show the fun aspects that make being in your office exciting and rewarding (tip: these should be pre-recorded so that there aren’t any issues with content or employee consent).
- AMA (Ask Me Anything)
- Host this session with a recruiter or hiring manager as well as a moderator.
- Allow students to ask questions about the interview process, hiring timelines, employer perks, culture, mentorship, career growth, and overall company sentiment. Come prepared with a list of FAQs to help get the conversation going.
- Employee panel
- Feature recent grads or alumni - students like to hear from people who are like them and have been through a similar journey. Have a moderator prepare some pre-canned questions about their journey from university to career, experience at the organisation, and why they are most proud about their work. This will help stem a series of questions from students that the panel can answer.
- ERGs (Employee Resource Groups)
- Leverage internal ERGs to show future students how the company is committed to creating an inclusive workplace where each individual has a community to lean on.
Identify your livestream platform
Once you’ve decided on the type of virtual event you’ll be hosting, your next step is to decide on a livestream platform of choice. Handshake does not offer live-streaming, but we do have space for you to post your external event or webinar link.
Many of our employer partners leverage platforms such as WebEx, GotoMeeting, YouTube Live, Google Hangouts, Zoom, Facebook Live, and Instagram TV.
General tips and best practices
- Schedule your event at a time that doesn’t conflict with class schedules so you can maximise your attendees.
- Tuesdays to Thursdays are the best days of the week to host a virtual event.
- Events should be maximum 45 minutes of content, followed by 15 minutes of QA to keep students alert and engaged.
- Keep your events authentic - the less scripted the better. Students want to hear from current employees in a personalised and casual way. Displaying camaraderie and community with panels or office tours is a great way to recruit Gen Z authentically.
- Like with any virtual event or webinar, there will be a drop off from RSVP to attendee. Marketing experts advise preparing for a 40% drop off.
During an Event
- Test audio and video: About 20 minutes before your event, have a fellow employee login as an attendee to test your audio and video.
- Track who attends: Virtual event attendees are leads just like students who stop by in-person at your career fair booth. Make sure you track who shows up.
- Check to see if your livestream platform allows for an attendee download. Many livestream platforms let you download a CSV file so you can track the names and emails of those who attended.
- Monitor chat questions: Chat questions - just like live questions - are a great indicator of interest. Make sure there is a moderator alongside your host or co-hosts to facilitate the conversation.
After an Event
Follow up with your attendees and absentees
- Use Handshake’s Event Attendee Page to follow up with attendees en masse.
- Consider tying your call to action (i.e. what you want talent to do after your event) with your post-event follow up. We recommend sending separate follow ups to attendees and no shows.
- For attendees, we recommend a follow up message recapping content and sharing your call to action, like a link to apply to an open job.
- For folks who couldn’t attend, we recommend a follow up message with ‘sorry we missed you’ messaging, and sharing your main call to action.
Track virtual event attendees all the way to hire
If you direct candidates to a job to apply, make sure you’re including a source code so that you can track candidates from RSVP to attendee to hire. Especially if this is your first event, tracking attendees through your hiring funnel is a great way to demonstrate the potential success of your first virtual event to leadership.