The Pros and Cons of Working with College Students

By Christine Ascher on December 27, 2017

When you’re on the hunt for new recruits for your company, college students are a great resource. They’re always looking for experience, so when you need to find some new employees they’re a great place to start. However, for all of the good characteristics that college students will bring to your company, there can also be a few drawbacks to hiring people so young. In order to know exactly what to expect when you’re recruiting college students, check out some of the pros and cons that can come with working with them.

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Pros:

They’ll Be Eager to Learn and Improve

As most college students are just starting out in the working world, they’ll be eager to learn as much from you as they can. College students are aware that they may still have a long way to go before they can reach their dream position, and that awareness drives them even more to be constantly learning and improving. They’ll want to gather new skills and knowledge that they can add to their resume, so you won’t have to do any pushing to get your college-aged recruits to try out new things.

They’re Open to Feedback

Because college students are eager to learn, they’ll most likely be open to your feedback as a result–they’ll probably even welcome it. Instead of having to deal with a potentially stubborn employee who doesn’t want to change the way they complete their work or listen to the suggestions you make, college students will just be starting out, so they’re still malleable in terms of the strategies that you want them to use when working and won’t take offense when you give them constructive criticism.

They Bring Positive Energy

Another benefit of the fact that college students are just starting out is that they’ll likely bring a lot of positive energy to the table, especially if they’re working in a position that puts them on track to achieve their long-term goals. They’ll be glad to be at your company and grateful for the opportunity, and hopefully, some of that positive energy will rub off on the rest of your employees. Let their excitement to join your workforce remind you why you choose your job in the first place, a feeling that can be easily lost amid the stress of everyday work dilemmas.

They Can Bring in Knowledge of New Trends and Technologies

Even if many of the members of your company are already young and in-tune with new trends and technologies, college students are often still the first ones to find out about them. Especially if your company is a little behind, you’ll benefit from having some younger recruits. They can let you know about new apps that you may find useful, ways to utilize social media, and can help you stay up-to-date on what’s popular and what’s not.

Cons:

They’re Inexperienced

Though the fact that they’re just starting out will mean that your college recruits will be ready to learn, it also means that they’re relatively inexperienced. Chances are, you’ll be hiring students for one of their first internships or jobs, so they still have a while to go before they’re ready to work completely on their own. Expect lots of questions and maybe some missteps here and there, especially considering they won’t be as accustomed to a work environment as your older employees.

They May Be Less Likely to Take the Initiative

Again, remember when you’re hiring college students that they’re new to the work scene. One of the potential consequences of their inexperience is the fact that they might be less likely to take the initiative when it comes to what they’re working on and will be more reliant on your guidance—at least for a while. College students can often tend to hang back until they become more familiar with the environment, so if you expect your employees to be go-getters you may have to encourage this quality a bit before you see it.

They’re Juggling School and Work

When you’re looking to hire college students for your company, keep in mind that they’re going to have pretty busy schedules. If they’re working for you part-time and juggling school, they may not be able to come into the office as often as you’d like. They also may not be available on short notice, given they’re juggling a number of priorities. In addition, you may need to be a bit more flexible when it comes to scheduling, as they’re more likely to have exams and other conflicts pop up. Be cognizant of this when you’re recruiting and make your expectations evident early on so that it doesn’t become an issue later. For instance, let potential student employees know how often you’ll expect them to come in and if their schedule needs to be set in stone, or if it can vary somewhat based on their other commitments. As long as you’re clear from the beginning, it should be easy to avoid the scheduling problems that can sometimes arise when you’re working with college students.

By Christine Ascher

Uloop Writer
USC
Hi! I'm Christine and I'm currently a senior at the University of Southern California, where I study English Literature, Economics, and French.

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