How to Respond to 4 Common Student Questions
One of college students’ biggest fears throughout their college career is not finding a job after graduation. The thought of putting in so much work to get a degree and ending up unemployed is daunting, even more so with how competitive the job market is. During college, students seek jobs and internships to take with their studies and to gain experience for their future careers.
Students often have a few topics they need clarity on when considering a job offer, including work environment, scheduling, and future opportunities. When students ask recruiters about these topics, they already have an idea of what they want — and it is a recruiter’s job to know how to best answer questions, such as the following.
How many hours am I expected to work?
Because you are recruiting students, you should expect them to ask about how the offered position will affect their other commitments. With the notoriously competitive job market, more students than ever have added internships and jobs to their classes and campus-related extracurriculars to make them more appealing in the eyes of future employers.
While some students will have no trouble adding another commitment to their responsibilities, others will question how much time their offered position requires. Be as specific as possible; specific numbers are key when answering this question because it will be the most helpful in the student’s decision when they can map out how the job will affect their schedule down to the hour.
How flexible is the scheduling?
Very similar to the question above, students seek flexibility in their internships and jobs that they have in college. Students wonder if the position’s schedule stays the same week to week, or if they should plan for a variation. A schedule that doesn’t change week to week is more appealing, as students can then plan ahead and delegate a specific time for the position instead of shifting their schedule around every week.
If the position is long-term, their school schedule will change as the quarter or semester changes. A position that provides more flexibility for a student and their school schedule is most appealing, as it makes committing to both school and a job easier.
As they are students, their workload with school varies depending on the week of the quarter or semester system they are on. When finals come along, they may want to ask for fewer hours. On the same wavelength, their other commitments — clubs, family events, and other jobs — may require time that conflicts with the offered position, and students want to be in a position where scheduling conflicts will not automatically land them in hot waters.
What kind of environment will I be working in?
This question is vague, as students often have different specifics in mind when asking this question. Will they directly work with higher-ups? Do coworkers collaborate often, or is the workplace a competition for praise every day? Is everybody already experienced with long careers, or will they work with others their age in a learning environment? For this question, find out about the student’s prior experience.
Depending on a student’s experience, some answers will either scare them away or encourage them to accept the job offer. A chance to collaborate and network with experienced workers in their field offers an edge that students seek — it is a valuable experience that they may have never been offered before and it makes the position more enticing.
However, students just starting to explore their career field and without prior experience do not want to be thrust in a competitive (and often harsh) environment. Instead, they seek a learning environment, where they can get a grasp on what the job entails and ask questions/find help without being ridiculed for it.
Will there be any opportunities for promotion?
Younger students may not look at a position for something other than to build experience and move on, but older students will be more likely to ask about the long-term opportunities that the offered position may or may not come with.
While the position could be entry-level, or even an unpaid internship, students want to accept the position with the possibility of future promotions on the table. Can the internship be paid in the future? Can the offered part-time position become a full-time position? While you often cannot promise a future promotion upfront, offer parameters for the type of qualities or achievements expected of them to get a promotion in the future. With this answer, students know what is expected of them and know that there is a future with the offered position.