If your small business relies on hiring seasonal summer employees, it’s not too early to think about hiring students. High schools and college summer breaks are weeks away, and the best job candidates may get snapped up early. Before you post your help wanted ad, check out my top tips for successfully hiring student employees.
1. Know the laws for hiring minors. The federal government has specific laws regulating the amount of hours minors can work, which industries they can work in, their minimum wage and the type of work they can do. The Department of Labor website has guidance, fact sheets and tools to help you. You should also check with your state’s Department of Labor to see if there are any state-specific guidelines regarding employing minors.
2. Partner with high schools and colleges. High schools and colleges typically have career centers where students can find out about jobs in their communities. List your summer jobs with local centers. If you are looking for students with a particular skill, consider establishing a relationship with a certain department, teacher or professor and reaching out to their students. For instance, if you own a graphic design business, you could work with a professor at a nearby graphic design institute.
3. Give applicants a glimpse inside your business. High school and college students have many other interests competing for their time, including extracurricular activities, volunteer work and sports. If you want to attract qualified students to your business, you’ll need to show them why it's a great place to work. Use social media to share photos and videos of your employees having fun at work or talking about why they enjoy their jobs. Or show how your business makes a difference in the community or beyond—that’s very important to young people today.
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4. Enable mobile job applications. High school and college students do just about everything on their smartphones —and they expect to apply for jobs that way, too. Be sure to list your job openings on job boards that have mobile apps, such as Proven, Snagajob and Simply Hired. You’ll attract more student candidates that way.
6. Be patient. Today’s teens and young adults are less likely than earlier generations to have had jobs at a young age, and may need training in elements of the workplace that seem obvious to you, such as the importance of attendance, attitude and work ethic. Because they spend so much time online, on their phones and on social media, they may even need coaching on one-on-one interactions such as communicating with team members and making eye contact with customers.
7. Be flexible. If you expect to attract and keep student employees, you’ll need to be flexible with scheduling so you can accommodate their summer vacations and family activities. If you don't already use employee scheduling software, now's a good time to implement it. The right software will help you keep up with crazy schedules without losing your mind.
8. Stay in touch. If you find a student employee who’s a real gem, keep his or her information on file after summer ends. You might want to hire that employee back next summer (saving time on training) — or even hire him or her full-time after they graduate.
About Rieva Lesonsky
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.
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