Students and employers shake hands

Handshake has made networking and appointment management significantly easier for students.


Photo Illustration by Jason Lin/ THE CHIMES

Daisy Gonzalez, Writer

With the new implementation of Handshake, an appointment management and career networking software, the center for career development has spent the semester testing its usability for students. They are still evaluating how well students are responding to the new software and though many students are still discovering it, others have noticed its fluidity.

seamless and convenient

Handshake provides more resources and a more understandable interface than the previously used software BiolaLink, provided by Simplicity, according to career development. They decided to make the switch in July in order to provide a seamless transition into the fall semester for both employers looking to hire students and students looking to schedule advising appointments online. Students as well as administration have found the new service to make appointment setting and job searches much more facile.

“One, there’s the online job board. Two, there’s the channel to make appointments with services that students need at a time that’s convenient for you online, and then it also has event management capabilities that allows us to more seamlessly invite employers to campus and navigate the logistics of some of those on campus employer experiences,” said Nicole Hollearn, associate director of employer relations. “It’s becomes more of a one-stop shop for student success resources and that makes it, I think, at the end of the day more valuable to a student.”

In partnership with Handshake, career development meticulously selects the employers students are introduced to through the site.  

“We actually go through and approve [employers] as well, so we kind of filter out even the quality of jobs that students can get. They’re getting a more hand-picked selection. Employers are specifically recruiting at Biola in addition to the larger pool,” said Miles Bocianski, account executive of University Communications and Marketing.

Huge success during short existance

The success rate with Biola students remains only minimally measured because of the software’s short existence at Biola. However, Handshake itself has experienced tremendous success in just the past two years.

“Handshake has been around since 2014 and has grown from being at a few schools to being at 180 schools,” Hollearn said. “They started with folks like Stanford Business School and University of Michigan and it really caught on as a user-friendly system. There are over 6,000 employers who are active on Handshake.”

Handshake intentionally modeled their platform off of Facebook’s so students can understand the interface with more fluency.

“They are a Silicon Valley company who has received significant funding to continue to develop and they mirrored their technology off of the Facebook interface,” Hollearn said.  “It’s something that you can step into and be successful at because you naturally understand how to navigate it.”

Students like Sowon Jung, sophomore psychology major, found the interface to be much easier, just as employer relations hoped for.

“I thought it was much easier than the program that Biola provided [previously],” Jung said. “I like the interface of it. I could really locate things really easily. It would even give me notifications.”

Derek Villalobos, senior communications major, shared about his fluid experience setting up a meeting with his academic advisor through Handshake.

Confident Interactions

“You just type in your basic information and it easily guides you on how to figure out what counselor fits you,” Villalobos said.

Not all students have heard of the new resource available to them and continue to use outside sources to seek job opportunities.

“Honestly I’ve been using outside sources,” said Gabrielle Gil, junior sociology major. “I just don’t know that much about it and I feel more comfortable, the others are just easy to use and I don’t really know anything about Handshake.”

As Handshake works to relate to students, employer relations in career development hopes students feel confident as they enter the job market.

“We want students to feel confident if they’re engaging with Handshake, if they’re putting their resume out there,” Bocianski said.  

Career development staff members hope students will see Handshake as a valuable resource offered by their alma mater and remain proud of the opportunities and guidance offered to them.  

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