If your store needs summer or holiday workers, student workers are a great choice – they have more time because they’re out of classes for the summer or holiday break, and they won’t expect you to keep them on when school starts back up. A lot of students, however, don’t have much job experience, so how do you determine if they’re right for the job?
The FLSA regulates how many hours minors can work. For example, children between 14 and 15 cannot work more than 3 hours on a school day and more than 8 hours on a non-school day. During the school year, they can only work 18 hours per week, and they cannot work more than 40 hours per week during breaks from school. They also cannot work before 7am or after 7pm (except between June 1st and Labor Day, when they cannot work after 9pm).
The FLSA also regulates what industries minors can work in, their minimum wage, and the type of work they’re allowed to perform.
Partner with your local schools
Work with your local schools to find the right student workers for your company. Some high schools and most colleges have a career center, where you can post job openings. You can also form relationships with specific departments or teachers to get student recommendations.
Give students clear instructions during their interview
Many potential student workers haven’t had much interview practice, so when you bring them in for an interview, be very clear about the process. Before you start asking questions, tell them that you’re looking for specific examples from their classes or previous jobs. Even with clear instructions, you’ll probably have to remind them a few times during the interview.
Ask about skills that don’t require on-the-job experience
For many of your candidates, this may be the first job they’re looking for. Since they don’t have any on-the-job experience, ask them about skills that they should have learned during school.
You can ask them about their time management skills. When you ask them how they organize their day, look for indications that they consider everything they have to do before prioritizing those tasks.
You can also ask them about problem-solving. You can ask them about problems they’ve encountered during group projects and how they handled those problems.
Ask how their teachers would describe them
You can also ask them how their favorite and least favorite teachers would describe them. When talking about their favorite teacher, watch out for anything that sounds too good to be true. When talking about their least favorite teacher, watch out for anything that puts the blame entirely on the teacher.
Show students what it’s like working for your company
Your potential student workers are on social media all the time, so use that to your advantage. Share pictures of your employees having fun and show how your company gives back to the community. Students will see your social media accounts and be lining up to work for you.
Set clear expectations
Once you’ve hired your student worker, set very clear expectations. If this is the student’s first job, they might not understand the importance of showing up on time, so set clear tardiness policies.
Make sure to include lots of training. Your new student worker probably doesn’t have a lot of experience running a cash register, so have them work with a seasoned employee until they’re comfortable working on their own.
Even during the summer, students have full schedules. They usually don’t have a choice of when they’re going on family vacations, so be as flexible as possible.
Once school is back in session, if you decide to keep the student on, be willing to work around their class schedule.
Stay in touch
If you decide not to keep a student on during the school year, or if a college student won’t be in town during the school year, you can still keep them in mind for next summer. Make sure to keep in touch so they won’t accept another job before you ask them to come back.