Hiring Summer Students
Hiring Summer Students – How it Can Boost Your Organization
As another college semester wraps up, thousands of students around the country will be looking for summer jobs. Most likely, you've already had a few résumés turn up on your desk or in your inbox. You might wonder why you should bother to hire someone without much experience, for only a few months. After all, by the time they've gained the experience you'd want in a permanent employee, they'll be heading back to school.
While it's true that many college students have a shortage of work experience, that's not a reason to turn them away. In fact, as I will discuss in this article, it may be one of the reasons why you should hire them! Besides, companies both large and small have been hiring college students as summer help for decades. Clearly, there is some benefit to be had.
The most obvious reason to hire a summer student (or several) is the increased productivity that comes from having an extra set of hands around. Many of the low priority projects that you may have been putting off can be assigned to a summer student.
Instead of letting them sit on the backburner for another six months, you can get those small projects out of the way this summer. Often, you'll find that those seemingly unimportant projects can greatly improve your company's success once they've been completed.
The benefit of having a couple of extra employees in the workplace is especially obvious in the summer months, when many permanent employees are away on vacation. Especially in larger companies, there is a good chance that at least one person will be away from the job every week during the summer.
Having a summer student around to help pick up the slack makes things easier not only on those employees who are not on vacation, but also to those who are. If they can come back from their holiday to an empty inbox, they'll be able to turn their freshly recharged energies toward the most current projects, instead of toward catching up on the backlog that developed while they were gone.
Re-Invigorate Your Organization
One of the less obvious benefits of hiring a summer student is the vitality and energy that they can bring to your organization. I mentioned at the start of this article that a lack of experience can sometimes be a good thing when hiring a summer student. This probably sounds counter-intuitive, so let me explain.
When hiring a permanent employee, experience is generally considered an asset. The same can be true when hiring a temporary employee. However, one of the great things about a summer student is that, despite their inexperience, there is a good chance that they want to have a future in your industry. This desire will usually show up in the form of passion and excitement for the job.
This is where inexperience can become an advantage. Because they haven't spent years in the industry learning the "right way" to do things, inexperienced summer students may surprise you with new ways of thinking about the problems your company faces on a daily basis.
Sometimes the idea will be so simple that you'll wonder why you didn't think of it yourself. That's the benefit of having someone who can view your industry through fresh eyes.
Clarify Your Expectations
While inexperience can prove to be an advantageous trait in a summer hire, it doesn't come without its downsides. For many college students, working for your company may be the first time they've worked in an office environment. Things that seem like second nature to you—like when to take a break, and when to get back to work—might not be as obvious to them.
If you make your expectations clear from the outset, these problems can usually be avoided. The best way to do this is to set your expectations down in writing, either in an employment offer letter before you officially hire a candidate, or in the employee contract at the time of hiring. Customizable versions of these forms can be found on the Internet from companies like LawDepot.com.
As long as you make the employee aware of your expectations, hiring a summer student can be a great boon to your organization. With the benefits of increased productivity and fresh insight on familiar problems, you may wonder why you didn't think of hiring summer students years ago. Best of all, if you treat them right and train them your way, you might find a few shining stars willing to come and work for you when they graduate.