An introductory handshake: Canisius begins implementation of new job portal

By: CJ Gates


The first part of any introduction is usually a handshake and at Canisius, that’s no different. Since July, the College has been working to transition from College Central to the relatively new company known as Handshake in order to introduce Canisius students and alumni to employers with available job opportunities.

“We rolled out Handshake to employers in July,” Assistant Vice President and Director of the Griff Center Annie Dobies said, “because we wanted to make sure we had employers in there first before students were so that the students would have something to look for. And then we introduced it to students the Thursday before classes started [27 August].”

Faculty will be introduced to the program at the Faculty Senate meeting on Friday, 25 Sept., as Dobies explained that the Griff Center didn’t want to overwhelm professors during the first week of the semester. However, Dobies is confident that faculty members are introduced to Handshake, they will be key in getting students to utilize the site and instrumental in promoting job and internship opportunities that are available. Handshake will become one more tool at professors disposal to enhance the classroom experience for their students.

The main reason that Canisius made the decision back in January to gradually phase out College Central over the coming months and to make the switch fully to Handshake was that College Central didn’t allow the staff of the Griff Center to interact with students nor did it allow students to give the College feedback with regards to their job or internship experience.

With Handshake, the staff at the Griff Center now has access to a list of students who attend each of the career workshops along with a breakdown of the attending students’ majors which allows the Griff Center to better understand who is attending their events and enables them to tailor certain events towards students they know are frequently in attendance.

Handshake also allows the Griff Center to send targeted emails so that students aren’t getting emails in regards to job openings for every major, they just get notifications about jobs in their field which is something that wasn’t possible with College Central.

Another difference that students will notice is that with Handshake, students are able to upload all relevant documents that employers are looking for – transcripts, cover letters, resumes, etc. – as opposed to College Central, which only allowed for resume uploads. Despite the streamlined process, the turnaround time is a bit lengthier when it comes to the actual uploading of documents. That is due to the fact that everything that is uploaded is reviewed by a member of the Griff Center before being placed on Handshake.

“Depending on the day, Allison [Suflita, Assistant Director, On-Campus Recruitment], could have 30 or 40 resumes to review, which is a lot of reading and writing to go through,” Dobies said. “So some of our students are frustrated because they don’t have the turnaround that they want. If there’s anything I can stress it’s don’t wait until the day the deadline is to upload something.”

Canisius is now one of 75 colleges and universities across the United States using Handshake. And because Handshake is a relatively new company, they’ve been around for about three years, they are still evolving and listening to the concerns of both students and colleges in order to best serve their customers.

“You’ll definitely notice it change over your four years at Canisius,” Suflita said. “I’ve noticed it change since August 27th [the day it was released to students] to now. There’s little nuances that they’re changing because they are being so responsive and I think it’s because they’re working with such a small population they’re growing smartly and they’re going in a direction that makes sense.”

As the Griff Center begins to find its niche on campus taking over the roles of Career Services, Tutoring Center and Accessibility Support, it too will continue to evolve to best meet the needs of the students at Canisius.


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