Talent attraction

Thinking of hiring students? Here’s what you should bear in mind

What do businesses need to be successful? 


A billion dollars?


That's an excellent start. But, all jokes aside and feet firmly placed in reality, the key to success is the people that make up your workforce—the individuals whose creativity, enthusiasm and innovative ideas can drive your company to new heights. 

You must hire the right people who buy into your values and understand that when the company succeeds, they do too.

So, getting recruitment right is of paramount importance. But, not everyone has the budget or means to hire the most experienced candidate or those with the glittering CVs. Therefore, sometimes you need to look at alternative sources. And this is where student employees could fit the bill. Although experienced candidates may give your organization more know-how or deliver more output, there are real benefits to employing those fresh out or still in school.

And so, we will explore why you should look to hire students. The benefits of this approach and what you should bear in mind when hiring and onboarding students into your workforce.


The benefits of hiring students for your company


There is a wide range of advantages your business can receive by hiring students. From lower salary costs to the boundless enthusiasm of youth, hiring students could be a decisive win for your organization.


Lock-in talent for the long-term


When hiring students becomes a part of your recruitment strategy, you are playing the long game you hope to benefit from. 


Any company needs the brightest and best, university-educated individuals who want to establish themselves within the job market and join an organization they feel connected with. Hiring these individuals, giving them their first taste of the professional world can help build a positive connection among students to your workplace.


Once they have spent time inside your organization, they will hopefully feel happy with their experience, the positive relationships with colleagues and feel the environment is the right place to grow their skills. Upon graduation, it will be the first place they go with their CV.


By hiring students, you get the opportunity to find your future great co-workers. The familiarity they will have with your company, the evidence of great work they have delivered, and their contribution to the workplace culture are all plusses when thinking of hiring a new full-time employee. Thus, hiring students could be considered a test run for a future fruitful partnership.


Supercharge your company with youthful enthusiasm


Ah, to be young. But hiring students is more than just a trip down memory lane. It can provide your organization with young voices and personalities who can add to the atmosphere of your workplace—bringing good vibes to the office!

The student worker's youthfulness also means they have little pre-existing expectations and work practices. As a result, their ability to absorb, execute instructions and their hunger to learn and develop new skills can only be good for any company.


Fresh ideas and connection to the new world


With younger voices part of your company, it can bring a different perspective to proceedings. Drawing inspiration from their diverse backgrounds and generational knowledge can help uncover new ways to look at tasks or jobs and find ways of improving and optimizing processes.


In addition, their ability and easiness around the new technology can help your company embrace the future and teach everyone a trick or two! However, it's not solely the students responsible for bringing a company into the 21st Century. Teaching can also provide a whole new outlook on your system or processes, a new light that you may not have previously considered.


Cost-saving on expensive full-time hires 


Because of the student's lack of experience, the outlay on wages wouldn't be as high as hiring someone with years under their belt. Thus, allowing you to offer a lower employee package, with perhaps an emphasis on perks, allowing you to save money on recruitment.


The money saved can then be pumped elsewhere into the business. Marketing, for example, to increase campaigns to target new clients.


Easier to manage


Student employees have a narrow focus. Their work is what takes up their time, not contending with office politics and such. Thus, although they will need training, they require less attention as they have set tasks to complete. 


In addition, motivation is less of a concern. Often working flexibly, students understand what they get from the job, money, and experience, making them less likely to rock the boat. Therefore, demanding less time and energy to keep them on board and in a positive frame of mind, unlike older and potentially more demanding employees.


In addition, student employees are open books. They may have few pre-existing working habits, so you can teach them your way of working. And how things go at your company. The positive experiences and lessons learnt whilst young can have a considerable impact on your later career. 📖


So, you've decided to hire students! Here's what you should keep in mind


Welcome to the student world


Firstly, it is essential to learn more about the marketplace. To discover more about the types of individuals student employees are, the best places to begin your search and how much you should be spending on wages.


Define your audience


By defining your audience, you can learn how to engage best, attract and convince students that yours is the company best for them. In addition, you can better understand their characteristics and what inspires and interests them to tailor your search to hire the best candidates.

By acquiring critical demographic information and utilizing your findings within your search and communications, you can convince students of the fact that your company is where they will find the best student job. Work that is both stimulating and will look great on their CV and has the potential for long-term opportunities.


The going rate for student employees


You need to know how many students you can afford to hire and the wages you can offer them that are both affordable for your business and are attractive. You don't want to be in the situation where competitors can get the first pick of the best candidates because they are offering a higher wage!


Understand the local environment, what students desire and what they are traditionally offered. So, you can try to match the packages or leverage your employment offer with benefits that could prove enticing for your top candidates.


Where to start your search 


The places you usually find candidates or advertise employment opportunities may not resonate as successfully with Gen-Z. And mean, you aren't looking in the same area as when looking to hire more experienced candidates.


We find ourselves in a world where social media has gone mainstream in the lives of younger generations. As a result, channels such as Facebook and Instagram are gaining growing popularity in recruitment. For example, 35% of millennial recruiters and 63% of recruiters for the tech industry were using Instagram to source candidates in 2018. Double that of the previous year.


How to speak the right language


You want to approach your students in a friendly, relatable way, with language and imagery that computes. The use of social media or even physical advertising on their campuses is an easy way to have your company visible to plenty of prospective employees.


Creating advertisements and exciting content that fit the audience and on channels where they spend most of their time can help engage and build relationships. And what you show to the students, your values and insight into your company, can play a massive part in their decision to apply and accept an opportunity. So, evidence of solid workplace culture, appealing job tasks and growth opportunities can deliver intrigued candidates to your door. 


The power of the network


Everyone knows a student in need of a bit of work. Use the grapevine to your advantage; referrals are a very effective way of finding high-quality candidates. Between 70-85% of jobs aren't posted online at all, for the positions are filled via networking and internal referrals, which often leads to a speedier recruitment process.


As a result of being referred, students often feel that they have a point to prove. Not wanting to be seen to take an opportunity for granted will motivate them to work hard and show that the faith shown in them was well placed. So, they set out to contribute through their output, desire to help and great personality. It's a win-win for the company.


Understand the need for flexibility


It is essential to respect that your student employees have other commitments. They are not full-time workers, and their education is critical to them and their future, and so, should be their priority.


So, be considerate of this. Don't try to overload student employees with work; you must allow them to meet all their needs, for if they have too much on, burnout can be a real risk. Moreover, treating your student employees as cheap labour can have damaging consequences. Especially reputationally. Students will talk and will learn the companies to avoid because of the negative treatment they have heard about. 


It is essential to communicate and understand the nature of your students' lives. In addition, building supportive relationships with this extended part of the workforce can help the students feel comfortable. 


They can feel at ease sharing that they are crazy with assignments or revising for exams or when they have extra time on their hands. Not afraid to be open or feel that they will disappoint you.  So, you then can tailor their workload accordingly.

How you can help your students successful onboarding


It is up to you to ensure your student employees feel valued, understand the role and surroundings, and set up success.

Of course, a learning curve is part of the course, as the recruits find their feet and absorb everything around them. But here are some ideas to support this transition:


The setting of clear expectations


For many of your student employees, this may be their first' office job'. So, it's vital to act as their sherpa as they find their feet. Make clear the standards on professionalism, adherence to deadlines and punctuality, to help their adjustment to their new environment. And also ensure adequate training so they can do their tasks to the best of their abilities.

By guiding them through their first weeks or months, you can help shape positive workplace behaviour, crucial now and forever. It may be time-consuming, but stressing good workplace habits can benefit both the student and yourself, as you may have an excellent future full-time employee on your hands.


What you can do in the office to support student employees


Other ways to help your students grow familiar and feel more at home within your team. Which include:


  • Schedule regular feedback sessions between you and the student. On their first day, check-in with them and let them know they can stop for the day. Daily meetings taper off in frequency as they grow more used to their surroundings. It provides an opportunity and safe space for your employee to confide in you about how they find their new role. 
  • Encourage the asking of questions. Highlight to them that this is an environment where one can speak freely. And get their feedback, what do they think about things, what could we improve?
  • The organizing of social events for the students to get to know the team and office. Help the building of new relationships and create the ties that make one feel part of a culture. These events can help create increased emotional investment among employees.


Furthermore, it could be good to consider whether you could have a more experienced employee support the onboarding process of your new student employee. For example, they could start by shadowing as they go about their day to learn more about the daily tasks and workday.

There are two significant benefits of this. First, the students are shown the ropes by someone who knows how things work; they can play the role of a positive role model, thus taking additional stresses off your mind. And, it is also a chance to develop the leadership skills of your workforce and help your employees take on more responsibility.


Why you should hire students to join your organization


And so, time repeats itself in new surroundings. Students follow in well-trodden footsteps as they seek to establish themselves on the corporate ladder. And for your business, it offers a great opportunity. Hiring students can be of great benefit to your company. They can provide you with:

  • Youthful enthusiasm
  • Fresh ideas to challenge processes and ways of working
  • Easier to manage and cheaper alternatives than higher full-time, experienced employees
  • And can help lock in your future business leaders and creatives. You are finding the next big things early, supporting and developing these students to benefit your organization long-term.


And hopefully, this guide will support your thinking to make the hiring and onboarding process of student employees a certified success.


And remember!

At some point in everyone's career, someone took a chance on you. As you were still finding your way and learning about the working world. Hiring students is an excellent opportunity to give back, repay the faith shown in you, and benefit from the influx of new perspectives and energy that can inspire an organization. 


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