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LeadingEdition: E-Newsletter for Purdue University Supervisors

Tips for hiring student employees

Employing student workers can be a win-win situation for a student, as well as for the Purdue department that utilizes the student's talents. The student gets a great work experience to enhance his or her r�sum� and overall educational experience. At the same time, the supervisor gets a source of relatively inexpensive but talented support. Here are a few suggestions for finding quality student applicants and ensuring that those selected will be successful.

How do you find student applicants? Although the economy is improving, an abundance of students are still interested in working. The primary resource for reaching Purdue students is the Financial Aid office. Contact Financial Aid at 49-45056 or visit the Financial Aid Web site. Postings can be made on the SSINFO Web site or on the Boiler TV cable channel.


Supervisors are welcome to use other resources available such as bulletin boards, table notices in residence halls, and discussion with peers in departments with relevant connections (e.g., functional responsibility, degree area).

What work needs to be done? Generation Y people tend to work enthusiastically in teams, love to be assigned a challenge, want to use technology, need appreciation for their work, like to keep busy, and like diversity. If your position has all these elements, it will be attractive to a wide variety of applicants. If your position lacks these qualities, you will need to make an effort to sell the position on other merits.


For routine tasks, you may want to consider high school students. Those under 18 years old will need a work permit. Refer to the Indiana Department of Labor Web site for information on hiring minors.


Upperclassmen will be interested in more challenging tasks and are particularly enthusiastic about internships related to their degree work.

How many hours do you need help? Most students are interested in working 12-20 hours a week. Working more hours may be financially attractive to the student but may affect the student�s ability to meet academic challenges. In some cases, a restriction may exist on the number of hours a student may work relating to his or her age, the time of year, or the type of work authorization.

How flexible are you in scheduling? Most students need time off for exams or other special academic issues and may want to leave town during holiday periods. Often the students are more likely to be flexible for positions directly related to their career interests.

How much are you willing to pay for a student employee? One way to encourage retention is to make sure the student employee is properly paid for the work. Although wages for student employees tend to be lower than for regular and non-student positions, you need to make sure you are paying an equitable and fair wage to students.


Use the Student Wage and Classification Manual to make sure you are offering a fair rate for the level of work. Financial Aid staff and your Human Resource Services compensation analyst can assist with this determination.


If budget is a concern, supervisors may want to hire work-study students. Hiring departments are only responsible for 30 percent of the student�s wages if the student qualifies for the Work-Study Program. Participating students receive a work-study authorization form (PAF) from Financial Aid that should be submitted along with the Student Employment Report.

Who will do the orientation, training, and supervising? Generation Y students may be confident, but they also require training and the proper resources to do a good job. If you don�t have the time to properly train and oversee their work, it is unlikely that the student will be successful. If you have an ongoing need for a position, it might be useful to develop a desk procedures manual for the student position.

How much time do you have to make a selection? With an abundance of applicants, you can be picky, so make sure you take advantage of the opportunity. Many issues to consider are the same as for hiring non-student staff. Give a realistic job preview. What are your expectations regarding dress, behavior, and other environmental factors? Are student applicants authorized to work in the United States? You should ask students to submit a r�sum� or complete an application. Be sure to ask whether the applicant has been convicted of a crime. Plan on conducting reference checks, if possible.

Good luck in your search for a student employee!

� Sue Gibson and Rebecca Ross
Housing and Food Services Human Resources

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LeadingEdition is an electronic newsletter for Purdue University supervisors.  It is produced and distributed by Purdue University Human Resources four times annually.  If you have questions, comments or suggestions relating to the newsletter, please call 49-41679 or email us.  Thank you.