These days, anyone who wants to get a degree will have to pay anywhere between $13,130 and $51,690 per year. That includes tuition, fees, and day-to-day living costs (source: Statista). But as expensive as it is, opting out of going to college isn’t an option for young people anymore.
It’s no wonder why students want to start working while in college. Having an income helps them cover their day-to-day living costs and reduce their student loans. Of course, it’s tough: they have to juggle studies, work, and personal life.
So, some offload their homework to services like Essaypro.com; others cut down on socializing. Whatever the tradeoff, holding a job is worth it for them.
That makes them motivated workers, even though most employers would assume otherwise. The reality is, that there are way too many misconceptions about hiring students. So, let’s take an unbiased look at the pros and cons of hiring someone currently in college.
First, Let’s Look at the Bright Side
A candidate’s student status probably prompts you to think of all the downsides of working with one. But let’s not focus on those now. Instead, let’s delve into the five benefits of bringing a student on board first.
Learning Comes Naturally to Them
Yes, students rarely have years of work experience under their belts, nor can they boast of possessing intricate know-how of the job itself. But they’ve spent their whole lives, up to this point, learning.
So, you can be sure that they’ll learn the ropes faster than most thirtysomethings. This is what makes them great candidates for entry-level positions, be it in design, hospitality, or any other occupation.
By the way, it makes sense to look at the candidates’ grades before you decide whether to invite them for a job interview or not. Good grades show dedication and an apt mind – arguably, two of the most important traits in any occupation.
They’re Eager to Prove Themselves Valuable
For most applicants who are studying in college, this will be their first work experience ever. And this statement doesn’t have to have a negative connotation. Remember your first job? You were probably trying to give it your 100% (or even 150%), which made you into a vigorous employee.
If you hire a college student, you can count on them going the extra mile every chance they have. They’ll be motivated to work hard to hold on to the job, and there’s no better employee than a highly motivated one.
They’re (Almost) a Clean Slate
Have you ever had someone come in, and pass the interview with flying colors only to exhibit bad habits they’ve picked up from their previous jobs? If you have, you know that teaching an old dog new tricks is a backbreaking and nerve-racking task.
You won’t be met with any resistance when you help a student build their job-relevant skills and teach them the know-how of the job. They’re like a sponge, ready to take in and act on everything you tell them.
What’s more, if you groom the employee well enough, they can become valuable assets for years to come. And while they climb the corporate ladder, they’ll continue adding more and more value to the company.
They Agree to a Reasonable Starting Salary
Since most students have little to no working experience, they understand they can’t ask for wages higher than the minimum one. Plus, they don’t have plenty of financial obligations – i.e., they don’t have to earn as much as thirtysomethings to cover their needs.
For employers, all of that means there’s a clear financial incentive to hire students. After all, who wouldn’t want to bring down the payroll costs?
Beware, though: while you won’t have to pay such employees as much, you’ll need to invest some of your resources into training them.
They’re Ready for Part-Time or Seasonal Jobs
If your talent gap doesn’t require hiring a full-time employee, it’ll be tough to find enough candidates outside of the student talent pool. That’s because others often can’t afford to take up a part-time or seasonal offer. They have mouths to feed and/or other financial obligations that require a stable income.
Hiring students for part-time positions is a win-win situation for both parties. You as an employer get to enjoy all of the perks described above. They get to combine studies and work without worrying about lack of time for either.
Now, Let’s Delve into the Downsides
Of course, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. Hiring a student also has its pitfalls. Here are the three most common ones that you have to mitigate before you sign the contract.
They Have a Lot on Their Plate
Working towards a degree is time- and energy-consuming in and of itself. Add a job to it (even if it’s a part-time one), and you’ll have someone who has to manage a tough juggling act. If that someone doesn’t have great time management skills, they will probably often be tired and, as a result, less productive.
That can lead to the job – your job – taking a backseat to academics and other student activities. That said, it’s a possibility, not a certainty. If you screen your candidates right and have something valuable to offer them, you can be sure your employees will be dedicated to doing their best, no matter whether they study or not.
Their Schedule Has to Be Flexible
Students have classes, tests, and exams they have to be present for, which limits their availability. Furthermore, it changes every semester. That’s because they take up new classes, which leads to a completely new academic schedule every time.
So, if a job comes with rigid working time, this can pose a problem. On the other hand, there are plenty of jobs that can be done remotely at virtually any time of the day, and yours may be among them. Plus, you can always distribute shifts on a week-to-week basis, like McDonald’s, Amazon, and Walmart do.
They Require Additional Training & Mentoring
As mentioned above time and time again, students often have few basic job skills to offer potential employers. Yes, that can be an opportunity to mold them into your perfect employee. But it also means you’ll have to channel resources into training them.
Those resources aren’t free, of course. So, while students are willing to agree to lower wages, you have to factor in other expenses associated with hiring them. (That said, investing in developing talent is often worth it.)
Let’s say your job opening is part-time and implies a flexible working schedule by default. Then, there’s no reason to turn down an applicant just because they’re in college. As it’s always the case with headhunting, it’s all about finding the right personality.
So, if you’re convinced that someone in college can be a great addition to your team, here are four tips on how to avoid regretting hiring one – and benefit from it as much as possible:
- Tap into your network. Someone you know might be able to recommend a responsible, hard-working, and motivated person looking for a job.
- Contact local colleges and universities. Many of them have their own job boards where you can publish your posting. Plus, most have career centers that are meant to bridge the gap between employers and students.
- Prioritize soft skills over hard ones. Since students are unlikely to possess the latter, ask them about their soft skills like teamwork, interpersonal skills, and such.
- Adapt the interview. Ask your candidates about their academic experience and gauge their answers. Also, make sure to pose open-ended questions about their soft skills and how they built those.