Faculty, employers, students express satisfaction over switch in hopes that it will improve recruitment rates
UC Davis’s job posting site Aggie Job Link will be replaced by the up-and-coming career network site, Handshake. Over 700 universities, including UC Berkeley, Stanford and Princeton already use the platform, and Davis hopes that this switch will boost its recruitment rates.
The new site will make it more appealing for employers to share opportunities with Davis students. Before, companies needed to make a separate Aggie Job Link accounts to interact with individuals, but Handshake has created a one-stop shop where companies only need one account to reach students from hundreds of schools.
Alex Amerling, a member of Handshake’s university partnership team, described the tech company as the nation’s largest early talent career network. He emphasized that Handshake is a true network, in comparison to other systems designed for specific schools.
“Handshake offers the ability for students to learn from one another, for employers to easily join a network of 800+ universities and send messages about potential opportunities,” Amerling said. “All of this aligns with our mission — to help level the playing field for every student across the nation to find a great job.”
The Internship and Career Center is using Spring Quarter 2019 as a “soft launch” for Handshake and officially opened the program for students on April 29. The ICC hopes that all students will be fully transitioned by the upcoming fall. Aggie Job Link is still up and running, but the ICC is currently notifying all users, companies and students of the shift.
Many universities have already been using Handshake for years. Marcie Kirk-Holland, the executive director of the ICC, explained why it took UC Davis over three years to make the switch.
“We’ve been looking at Handshake from when it first launched,” Kirk-Holland said. “There were a couple of issues that were of concern to us. One was the privacy issue, and this idea of who owns the data — it’s a very different model.”
With Aggie Job Link, UC Davis was in control of students’ data. Bringing in this outside site means that this data will change hands, with Handshake storing some of the information.
“For us, student security and safety will always be number one,” Amerling said. “We constantly make improvements to the platform to ensure students are in full control of their data.”
Furthermore, Kirk-Holland emphasized that once the privacy issues were dismissed, it became clear that implementing Handshake would be the best thing for students.
“It got to the point that there was a risk associated with us not being on the platform, because one of the things Handshake does is it aggregates the data, so there should never be a way that any individual could be identified,” Kirk-Holland said. “The data sets then, help inform companies about where to recruit. By not having our data set in there, we could actually end up obscuring UC Davis students from companies’ views.”
She also noted that Aggie Job Link student usage has been on the decline in the past several years. Kirk-Holland hopes that Handshake’s user-friendly format will help attract students seeking career opportunities, and she noted that other universities who implemented the platform saw a 30% increase in student usage.
Both interviewees noted that using Handshake was standard in most universities, with Kirk-Holland mentioning that she’d gotten specific requests for the program.
“There have been a lot of students who have been asking for it,” Kirk-Holland said. “They say their friends or relatives at other campuses are using it, and so there’s some pent-up demand.”
Jack Stafford, a third-year managerial economics major, mirrored this sentiment with an expression of relief over the change.
“Honestly, ever since I’ve gone to college, I keep hearing my friends from home talk about this job site,” Stafford said. “Handshake is what they use to search for jobs or internships, and they’re able to find opportunities outside of their college town. Aggie Job Link definitely had some good stuff, but it sounds like this new program will really help me to find opportunities that aren’t necessarily Davis-specific.”
Students should be expecting an announcement with more details from the Division of Student Affairs in mid-May.
Written by: Claire Dodd — firstname.lastname@example.org