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Years have passed since Handshake founder Garrett Lord’s dumpster dive that he claims inspired the creation of the company and this week’s announcement of its $80 million Series E round of venture capital funding with a new valuation of $1.5 billion. Still, it makes for a good back story if you’re trying to level the playing field for early career and internship jobs. This puts Handshake’s total raised at $234 million.

Taking the world of campus recruiting and early career hiring virtual is not a new trend. Like so much of what we’re seeing in this latest wave of work technology for recruiting, Handshake considers the automation of the workflows and relationships with students, campus career offices, and employers table stakes. They lean into capabilities that help employers engage a more diverse early-career candidate pool and impact overall candidate engagement and efficiency.

EY leveraged Handshake to drive stronger engagement with diverse talent at the top of their recruiting funnel. With our help, EY was able to help secure a 125% increase in engagement with Black and Latinx candidates. 

At the start of the pandemic, GE looked to Handshake to help pivot to a virtual recruiting model and drive their up-funnel activity. They doubled the number of virtual interviews compared to the year before and saw a 76% conversion rate from engaged students to applicants. 

P&G has achieved significantly greater efficiency by leveraging Handshake, improving cost-per-hire by 67% over the past two years.

From Handshake’s announcement

Handshake told TechCrunch that they now have 550,000 employers using its system, including 100% of the Fortune 500 using its system to some degree. They have projected revenues of $100 million. They also claim to have 18 million students from more than 1200 educational institutions on the platform, which drove 98 million student-employer “connections” last year alone.

That said, they’re in a very competitive market where getting from $100 million to growth that supports a $1.5 billion valuation won’t come easily. We see this as a space where providers vie for a “share of wallet” versus an enterprise-wide early-career/campus budget. Let’s look at a short list of notable providers in the category. Providers like Brazen see similar momentum and fuel virtual events and candidate engagement. Yello, who takes more of a hiring process platform approach to campus and early-career hiring, is also prevalent in the Fortune 500. Then there are rapidly emerging companies adjacent to Handshake like WayUp and Headstart, both focusing on mitigating bias from early-career hiring in their own unique ways. And, let’s not forget about the job boards where sites like collegerecruiter.com leverage programmatic technology to provide employers with better efficiency and quality candidates.

An investment in better hiring experiences for students and early-career professionals where they also have a more fair shot at opportunity is something we can get behind. That valuation makes us a little nervous, though.

$2.7 billion was invested globally in work tech during 2021 Q1 alone. Get WorkTech’s free report and analysis here.

Source: No Connections, Experience, or Luck Required | Handshake

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