Differences Between a Virtual and Physical Fair Setup
|Functionality||Virtual - Facilitated in Handshake||In Person or Virtual - Facilitated Externally|
|Multiple Sessions||1 session supported (you can create multiple virtual fairs for the same date)||Unlimited|
|Session Length||Up to 6 hours||Unlimited|
|Charges Per Additional Representative &
Included Representatives per Registration Type
|No additional charges supported since scheduling happens outside of the registration process and is limited to 100 representatives per company||Included representatives and charges per additional representatives are custom per registration type|
|Student Registration End Date||Is equal to the fair end date so students can continue to register and join sessions throughout the virtual fair (similar to walking in day of)||Custom per fair|
|Nametag printing, student registration limit, physical location, booth map||Inactive on registration form||Active on registration form|
|Divisions||Registration per division is not supported (single registration per company)||Registration per division is supported (multiple registrations per company)|
Creating a New Virtual Fair
A virtual fair is a great way to engage students and employers in a remote environment. In Handshake, we provide flexibility in creating and hosting virtual fairs, either hosted in Handshake or externally, while tracking registrations and data for reporting purposes.
If your institution is planning to host both in-person and virtual fairs, check out our resource, Best Practices: Hybrid Fairs!
1. Click Fairs on the left navigation bar to get started. You'll be taken to the Fairs overview page where fairs your institution has already created or been invited to are listed.
2. Click the New Career Fair tab in the upper-right corner of the page.
- Career Fair Name
- Career Fair Logo (for our image size guide, refer to Handshake Image Size Guide)
- *Career centre (this will only appear if you have more than one career centre configured for fairs)
- Point of Contact for Students (select from an existing contact or create a new one)
- Published: visible to students and employers
- Drafting: only visible to career service users
Is this career fair in-person or virtual?
- Virtual (select Virtual)
Is this career fair facilitated on Handshake? (select one)
No (if no, "This virtual career fair is facilitated on another site, but students and employers can discover and RSVP through Handshake.")
- Student Registration Link (add link to textbox if fair is not facilitated on Handshake)
- Location (inactive field — this is for in-person fairs only)
Dates and Times
Virtual fairs are each limited to one session (date and time) and six hours to reduce scheduling complexity.
If you would like to run a multi day fair, you can use the duplicate option to quickly create multiple fairs.
- Time Zone (confirm the time zone from the dropdown)
- Student RSVP Limit (inactive field — this is for in-person fairs only)
Start Time & End Time (click the calendar icon to the right of the box to choose. Virtual fairs cannot exceed 6 hours — you'll receive an error message if you select more than 6 hours)
- Tip: we recommend a 3 hour fair!
- Focus Area (if you plan to host multiple virtual fairs with specific focus areas for each – for example: Engineering Students, Companies Hiring Designers, etc.)
- Industry focus (select employer industries that you'd like to be represented at the fair, if you aren't sure, select All)
- Booth Map (inactive field — this is for in-person fairs only)
Add new date and time (not selectable for virtual fairs facilitated in Handshake)
- If you create or edit a fair that has both a Virtual fair type and the Facilitated in Handshake = No selected, the "Add new date and time" button will be available.
- Career fair is invite-only (check the box if only invited students should attend)
- Student registration start and end dates and times(click the calendar icon to the right of the box to choose)
- Estimated student attendance(enter the number of students that you expect to register for this career fair)
- Student registration survey (add a survey from the dropdown you'd like students to complete as part of registration. If you aren't able to locate the survey you want to include, create it by clicking the link.)
Make available to ALL non-Handshake institutions (check the box to allow any student on Handshake with a non-partnered institution, and/or community members, to view and register for this fair)
Hide this career fair from employers (check the box to hide the fair)
- Note: if the fair is hidden, employers won't be able to discover the career fair unless you share the employer preview link with them.
- Employer registration start and end dates and times (click the calendar icon to the right of the box to choose)
- Estimated employer registrations (enter the number of employers you expect to register for this fair)
- Employer instructions (enter any instructions that should be displayed to employers on the registration page, not visible to students)
Employer payment methods (select one or both)
- Credit Card (payments have to be enabled at your institution to select Credit Card)
- Payment Instructions (enter any payment instructions. These are sent to the employer within the invoice notification email and will also appear on the employer invoice if you allow "Other" as a payment method)
- Approve Employers before invoicing (check the box if required)
- Employer refund policy (enter the refund policy for the fair. These instructions are sent in the invoice notification email and are on the invoice if you allow manual payments.)
- Company description limit (enter the maximum character length of the company description–the default is 750 characters)
- Allow all courses (check this if you want employers to specify that they accept all courses on registration)
- Choose courses (click the Choose Courses button if you want to restrict the courses employers can select from)
- Employer registration survey (select a survey you’d like employers to complete as part of registration, or create a new survey if needed.)
- Survey title (this title appears as the heading for your employer registration survey. If you leave this field blank, the title will default to "Extra Questions.")
- Student description (enter the career fair description that's shown to students)
- Student welcome message (enter a message that's emailed to students after they register for this career fair)
- Employer description (enter the career fair description that's shown to employers)
- Employer welcome message (enter a message that's emailed to employers after you approve their career fair registration)
- Default invoice message (enter a message to invoice a registered employer — you'll be able to add a custom message when sending the invoice as well)
The fields for Name tag printing and Name tag XML are inactive for virtual fairs.
Click the green Create Career Fair button in the lower-right corner of your page to save your setup!
Next Steps: Configure Details
You've now created the basic structure of your career fair — now it's time to configure additional details for your fair!
When the fair has been created, you'll be taken to a page where you can edit the basics you just created and add more details. The default view will be on the Details tab, and you can use the boxes on the left side of the page to navigate:
- Create Registration Types
- Add Extra Item Options
- Create (and Apply) Discounts
- Set Student Qualifications
- Add Invited Institutions
Transitioning a Physical Fair to Virtual
Note: in-person fairs cannot transition to virtual if it is within 3 weeks of the fair date.
- Make sure that your fair is only one session and within 6 hours from start to end
- Change the Location type to Virtual
- Change the facilitation type to Handshake
Learn more in Change an Existing Fair to a Virtual Fair.
We are hearing that employers will be more likely to participate in a virtual event if it is on a smaller more targeted scale. Is this true?
- Handshake does recommend smaller, industry-focused events. In addition, we have heard from employers that they are interested in these types of interaction as well.
Can we support graduate institution events, volunteer opportunities, and student organisation events through your virtual fair feature?
- If these types of organisations have Handshake profiles and job postings, then yes, you can support these types of events in Handshake.
- Note: the language in the product will be oriented to fairs, and we won't be creating specific fair types for graduate institution, volunteer, or student organisations.
- Also, please keep in mind that non-career related fairs might make your video usage exceed typical fair use. If you plan on supporting non-career centre fairs, please let your Relationship Manager know.
How many virtual fairs or events can an institution run at the same time?
- Handshake supports hosting multiple fairs at the same time. There's no capacity limit of fairs per day.
I received an error about too many virtual sessions or too long of a limit, but I’m not ready to adjust those yet. What can I do?
- Change the fair type to facilitated outside of Handshake so you can save other updates. Then, when you’re ready to adjust your sessions, you can switch the host type back to virtual.
Is there an end date timeline for employer registrants to consider? i.e. two weeks in advance of the date to allow time for booth set up, etc.?
- Since employers will need to setup a schedule we recommend that you close employer registration 3 weeks prior to the career fair.
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