The decision to leverage students’ talents through part-time “test drive” opportunities can be greatly beneficial to your business. But as important as it is to identify an immediate problem the student can solve, you must also think about the future. How do you know if this one assignment will give you a true representation of how this student might fit in at your company? In this post, we’ll provide you with a recruitment rubric that you can use while you’re leveraging part-time work for students.
Measuring the success of your student recruitment plan with part-time work
Modernising the traditional internship system
Let’s take a step back and consider the traditional college-recruiting environment. Many companies have established internship programs, where they hire by asking for an essay or cover letter and a transcript before conducting an in-person or phone interview. Then the student spends an entire summer working for the company on a full-time basis. This may be the norm now, but there are several aspects of this method that require updating.
First, how informative can an essay or cover letter truly be? Even if it is sophisticated, concise, and well-conceived, what does it tell you about someone’s ability to think on his or her feet? How do you know if this person will fit in with your company culture until he or she is exposed to it? These are the questions that can only be answered through actual experience working together, even if the position is remote.
Second, in today’s fast-paced business environment, three months is a very long time to give someone a test drive at your company. If the fit isn’t a good one, for whatever reason, that can mean an extra two months or more of both sides feeling unhappy with the decision.
Creating a rubric for success
Part-time projects give students the opportunity to back up what they claim on their resumes. For example, if you’re looking for a student to help you write marketing content, you have probably asked your applicants to submit writing samples. But how do you know that they were actually written by these students? Even if the student conducted all the research and posted the finished piece to his or her personal blog, how do you know that it wasn’t heavily edited by someone else? Through a short-term assignment, you can judge his or her writing or editing skills for yourself.
This is why it’s imperative to pair the right student with a project that not only emphasises the student’s skills, but also serves as a fair representation of the work to come if you were to offer him or her a full-time job. Even though different industries and roles have their own required skills, there are some catch-all indicators that can let you know whether you’re on the right track:
- Does the student meet the deadlines you set?
- Does the student follow directions? How different is the end product of the project from what you asked for at the beginning?
- Does the student ask questions, rather than assuming he or she knows the answers?
- Is the student willing to conduct additional research to get the job done well?
- How well does the student take feedback and constructive criticism?
Once you have your rubric in place—including any other aspects you’re seeking to connect with your company culture—try it out on a few different students. It’s a win-win-win situation: You get the help you need with a project. The student has the opportunity to see what it would be like to work with you. And at the same time you get a real sense as to whether you’d like to offer this student a job in the future.
Want to hear what sort of work other companies have been entrusting to students? Check out our Student Spotlight series for examples.