5 Tips for Employing College Students

by Jan Fletcher on October 30, 2012
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Educated, tech-savvy, and brimming with youthful energy, college students can be a boon to employers who are looking to fill part-time or seasonal positions.

According to Purdue University’s website, college students are also likely to tackle challenges, appreciate diversity, and be “particularly enthusiastic about internships related to their degree.”

Here are five tips for recruiting and employing college students.

1. Partner with schools.  An academic institution’s reputation depends largely upon the success of its alumni. Universities win when local businesses hire students. Colleges often offer free job-board listings to companies, and student advisers can let students know which employers are looking for particular skills. States vary in age requirements for work permits, and high school students in some states, like Texas, for example, may enroll simultaneously in both high school and college classes. Ensure your prospective college-student hire complies with child-labor laws.

2. Provide meaningful internships. The Walton College Career Center offers suggestions for creating meaningful internship experiences for college students. For example, even if the position is unpaid (in exchange for course credit), don’t bury an intern with clerical tasks. Instead, give a student the opportunity to work on one project from beginning to end. View the training of even a single student as a contribution that could ultimately grow your business. Can’t find an intern in your area? Virtual internships — often research, marketing, and social media jobs — are also increasing, allowing employers to tap young talent around the globe.

3. Hire students through specialized agencies. SnagAJob.com, an online employment agency, offers businesses looking for hourly personnel an easy means to recruit students for seasonal positions. The company also offers employers instant verification on a job applicant’s age and authorization to legally work in the U.S.

4. Protect children from potential abuse. College students working part-time as coaches, bandleaders, or in any positions that place them alone with children should be subject to a criminal background check, according to Campus Safety Magazine. Because background checks alone may not pick up criminal behavior committed by younger workers, she also recommends conducting in-depth personal and written interviews with college students who supervise or coach children.

5. Make sure that foreign students are legal residents. International students pursuing degrees in the U.S. may offer potential employers an array of expertise and a global perspective, according to the Employer’s Guide to Hiring International Students [PDF] published by the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. However, when considering foreign students for paid internships, it’s critical to make sure that they have proper immigration documentation. Check with each candidate’s college to ensure the student’s immigration status complies with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement rules.

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