UTSA Career Center helps students search for jobs, internships, volunteer work and other opportunities through a program called Handshake.

“Handshake is more of a consortium for employers, which means that all employers go into one place, they post their jobs, interview schedules, events, information sessions and table recruiting,” said Yvonne Gonzalez, associate director of UTSA Career Center.

Handshake helps students apply for jobs throughout various industries in San Antonio and across the country.

“I think Handshake is effective in that it makes job searches much easier than the previous program. It is more aesthetically pleasing,” said communication major Mariah Crippen.

However, Handshake may harbor potential threats to unsuspecting students.

Handshake employers are obtained and vetted through a series of obstacles to ensure the best opportunities for students. Employers looking to fill existing positions from this platform can either join Handshake through the website and recruit from the over 170 nationwide schools, or they can join UTSA directly. To ensure security, these employers are filtered through the Handshake website and through the institution they’re recruiting from.

Once a job or company makes it through that round, a coordinator makes sure the company domain matches the email presented as well as confirming a physical address for that company.

“If something doesn’t quite match, then our job coordinator will do some more extensive research. If we have smaller companies, like mom and pop startup companies, then we’ll call them to make sure it really is the company that they’re saying. They’re kind of vetted twice,” said Gonzalez.

Despite this inspection policy, some companies who misrepresent themselves still make it through the checkpoints. Illegitimate jobs and companies have a devastating effect on unsuspecting students looking to build their résumé.

One method these fake companies use to lure students is offering fast cash to an usually underpaid audience. Some even offer a job without an official interview or face-to-face meeting. In more serious cases, these types of employers send out a check to the student, usually in large amounts, and ask for the check to be deposited and then sent back to the employer. What the student doesn’t know is the check will ultimately bounce and the employer will receive a legitimate check while the student will only end up with a greater need for a job.

“What worries me is not a lot of students know about the fraud problem,” said Crippen.

The UTSA Career Center has gone to great lengths to inform students of the few illegitimate companies that lurk on Handshake.

“We’ve tried to become more proactive in raising the students’ awareness. Recently we partnered with Better Business Bureau to look at our procedures and we recently did a short news article with them on fraud within businesses,” said Otis Scott, assistant director of employer relations at the UTSA Career Center.

Students wishing to leave feedback about an experience they’ve had with Handshake—whether good or bad—can either use the site directly or contact the Career Center. Students who suspect fraudulent activity through Handshake or suspect they’ve been subject to fraud can contact the UTSA Career Center as well.

“There’s no system that doesn’t have flaws, but we try and combat that as much as possible,” said Scott.

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