Hiring College Students: What Students Are Looking For in the Workplace and How Employers Can Adapt Accordingly




The stereotype of the “broke college student” living on Ramen noodles may be overplayed, but it is true to an extent, and students are frequently desperate to find a job to help them accrue money for college necessities like groceries, housing, tuition, books and—in many cases—beer.

And students’ desire for jobs (often as close to campus as possible) can actually be a very beneficial situation for businesses who are targeting the college market, because in many cases, the best way to get the business of college students is to hire college students. After all, students are much more likely to choose a tanning salon, bar or restaurant where their friends—other college students—work. And on the other side of that situation, student employees are often likely to encourage their friends to come in, visit them and shop/tan/eat/drink while they’re working. Integrating college students into one’s business is an excellent way to, by pros, integrate one’s business into the college scene.

But when trying to employ quality college students, it isn’t enough to simply place a “Now Hiring” sign in the window, post an ad on Craigslist and call it a day. Despite their desire to make money, students with options are often still picky about where they’ll work, and when job hunting, they often have a few key qualifications or requisites in mind for a place of employment.

Here Study Breaks presents students’ common workplace qualifications and ways a company can adapt to appeal to this employment-seeking demographic, acquiring quality workers—and, in the end, often an accompanying spike in business as well.

Higher Wages

When looking for a job, the first thing a student is going to research is how much they’ll be paid. As business philosopher Jim Rohn likes to say, “You don’t get paid by the hour. You get paid by the value you put into the hour.” Jump-starting one’s collegiate employment program by paying above minimum wage is the best way to demand more value of one’s employees. If they feel that their work is respected—which is demonstrated by a decent pay—they’ll be more likely to produce quality work, instead of displaying a careless, couldn’t-care-less attitude that can often accompany an unfair hourly rate.

Also, once word gets out that business x is generous with their hourly wages, students will continue to look at that site favorably as a go-to destination for work.

Resume-Boosting Responsibilities

Gaining skills, information, knowledge and experience that can be leveraged after graduation when looking for a full-time job is perhaps the only concept that select students will appreciate more than cold hard cash.

While certain industries remain limited in their job duties, most owners can cater to this desire for a more tangible, worthwhile experience by allocating some back-office responsibilities.

Whether it’s allowing students to run one’s social media platforms, creating management opportunities, or taking them to outside meetings and conventions, students will always be interested in putting themselves in a situation that will give them an advantage after graduation, when they enter the “real world.”

A Fun Work Environment

When it comes down to making decisions, many students have one priority: fun. Whether it’s what to do on a Friday night or—in this case—where to apply for a job, this f-word definitely applies.

And while the key part of a work environment is, of course, work, integrating an element of fun is a great way to capture the interest of job-seeking college students. No matter what the industry is, there are certain ways one can keep employees happy and enjoying themselves, ergo boosting office morale and establishing a foundation for success.

And this doesn’t have to mean taking a cue from some startups, and bringing in Nerf guns or installing a full bar in the office. Throwing office parties, going out for monthly employee outings, playing music, and just hiring upbeat people are all great ways to foster a fun workplace that students will be excited to be a part of.