6 Things to Look for in Student Worker Hires

By Garth Brunner on August 22, 2023

When looking for students to hire, there are many qualities to look for. Sometimes it might just be their availability, but it goes beyond that! An open schedule does not mean that they will be a good hire. Here are the best things to look for when hiring student workers.

via Unsplash

1. Positive Attitude

Before you even talk to them about their school life, you want to know about the kind of person they are. Even if they are someone working solely for money, it should not come paired with a negative attitude. The students should seem willing to work! After all, a negative perspective can influence more than just their work ethic. It can spread and decrease the pleasure of the work environment for others! Plus, if they are positive and excited about the job, they will be more willing to learn and therefore easier to train. Even if the prospective hire does not have all of the experience you are looking for, they will still become a great employee.

2. Commitment

You should also look into the student’s level of commitment. Have they been switching from job to job or even major to major? A lack of commitment might mean they won’t work with you for long and it’s only a matter of time before you’re back in this position again and looking for more student hires. Instead, look for someone who sticks to their commitments and promises once they make them.

3. Teamwork

Teamwork is essential for most jobs, right? Your student worker should be a great teammate who is always willing to help their fellow coworkers. Make sure you do not take advantage of their hard teamwork and ask them for help with things out of their pay range. Your workers need to be compensated fairly!

A great way to find out about their willingness to work in a team is to ask them about group school projects. Do they immediately groan and grimace? Or do they explain they love it when everyone else in their group works hard and only dislike them when they are doing the bulk of the work? There are plenty of ways that your prospective hire might answer this question, so use what you find out to determine if they are willing to work as a team with that positive attitude from before!

4. If They’ve Juggled a Job and School Before

A good thing to know would be whether your student workers have previously juggled both school and a job at the same time. It can be a difficult task that not everyone can handle, so if they have, find out what happened. Why did they leave their previous job? What made it difficult or easy to handle both>

If they haven’t worked before, that’s fine, but you can ask about their plans. What takes priority, school or work? Ask them that, if they couldn’t do both, if they would plan to quit working altogether or would prefer fewer hours? If they do not know, that’s fine! Sometimes we don’t know how we’d answer questions like that unless we were actually in the situation.

If they would prefer fewer hours, you can still work with them. Even if someone comes in two or three times a week, they can be an incredibly valuable employee.

5. Major

You might be interested to know what major your prospective hire is enrolled in. This should never determine if you do hire them or not, but it just gives you more insight into their work style, how many hours they could take on, and what position you could place them in. Are they pre-med? It might be difficult, but they’re clearly a hard worker! Are they a film major? It might be really nice to have a creative eye like them on hand! Are they studying psychology? Maybe they would love to interact with customers or clients all day long!

6. Current Courses

Similarly to their major, it can be helpful to know either what courses they are enrolled in or how many credits they are taking this semester. If they’re taking 18 or more credits, wow! They might not be able to work five times a week, but they are clearly very dedicated to their studies. That dedication may match the commitment they hold to this job, as mentioned before. Ask which classes they are excited about and why. Once again, this will show the kind of person they are.


Many of these categories are connected between both school and work. In both places, students should be positive, committed, and have great teamwork skills. Use their education to learn more about their background and passions, but never use that as the deciding point in a job. Their work ethic should speak for itself. Ultimately, always believe the student when they say how much work they can take on. It’s not up to you to decide unless they speak out otherwise.

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