Handshake is working to democratize opportunity by democratizing information. Some of the biggest barriers to opportunity are because of a student’s access to advice and insights on how to navigate the professional world, or lack thereof.

To help bridge the information gap for all students, we recently launched Student Reviews. Reviews allow students to learn from the job and internship experiences of other students across the Handshake network, equipping all students with an informed career exploration and job search process. Handshake is uniquely positioned to help foster a learning environment across our community of 9 million students and young alumni from more than 500 schools of every size, type and location.

Student Reviews also provide more opportunities for employers to engage students and further promote their brand.

Here are three best practices to help you turn the feedback loop into a critical recruiting tool that will fill your pipeline with informed and engaged candidates:

1. Respond to Student Reviews

“65% of job seekers say their perception of a company improves after seeing an employer respond to a review.”

Edelman Trust Barometer

Student Reviews on Handshake give you the opportunity to communicate directly with your former interns on their experiences. Positive or negative, you are now invited to join the conversation and share your side too. When responding, we recommend keeping the following tips in mind:

  • Engage: While companies aren’t obligated to respond to a review, we encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity to engage with students. Responding can showcase how your company takes feedback seriously and values it from all levels.
  • Be Empathetic: Authenticity and empathy are key for today’s students. If a review includes constructive feedback, acknowledge the reviewer’s comments and provide additional information on ways the company is addressing those issues.
  • Offer Follow Up: Reviews are a starting point for a broader conversation that can take place one-on-one. To gain further insight about a student’s experience, you can offer a follow up to take the conversation offline.
  • Say Thank You!: Our goal is to provide a supportive and open community that encourages balanced feedback, but we know it can feel daunting for a student to press submit with their name attached. Dropping a quick note just to say “thanks!” can go a long way for a student.

“4 out of 5 candidates look to company reviews and ratings when making job decisions.”
U.S. Harris Poll

2. Activate Your Interns as Brand Ambassadors

Positive reviews are your most valuable recruiting asset. With the majority of job seekers reading up to seven reviews before forming an opinion about a company (Source: Glassdoor U.S. Site Survey), it’s crucial that:

  1. You have reviews
  2. They are either positive or constructively addressed (see best practice #1)

So where to begin?

Leverage the resources you already have: current and former interns! Students with actual experience at your company are your best advocates, as they give future interns an authentic look into the company from peers.

When students start submitting Reviews again in August 2018, make sure you are in a position to take full advantage of this valuable feature. Follow these tips to drive more Handshake Student Reviews:

3. Use Students Reviews as a Roadmap for Future Intern Programming

Feedback is incredibly valuable — and the fuel for positive change. Taking the time to hear back from interns authentically will help you build a strong employer brand and give your organization a competitive advantage for the upcoming recruiting season.

Handshake Student Reviews illustrate extremely thoughtful, balanced, and constructive feedback. Such high quality, nuanced reviews written by students from all schools, majors, and backgrounds, provide your organization with a holistic view into personal experience and brand perception.

Make your past interns feel heard while improving the experience for future interns:

  • Reach out to thoughtful, constructive reviewers and request a 30 minute interview to dig deeper into their intern experience and concerns
  • Invite past interns to “planning workshops” as you build out your next intern program, including them in the process
  • Pair past interns with new hires as “advisors” to give them a chance to mentor a younger student as well as assist with on-boarding pains

Student Reviews are essential to building a strong employer brand and engaging with past, present, and future interns. Leverage them most effectively by trying out these best practices!