Tips on Hiring College Students This Summer
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Posted by Michael S. on April 19, 2016 in Contractor Focus

Summer is just around the corner and, for many construction firms that means the busy season! We had a previous post that focused on how to manage that increased workload. One method we discussed was hiring seasonal help. What better source of seasonal help is there than college students? They are more mature than high school students, but still young, energetic, and inexpensive. (If you are tempted to hire a high school student for summer help, be sure to refer to this brochure from NIOSH.)

 

You may cringe at the thought of bringing an inexperienced college student onto a jobsite—so many things can go wrong! But by considering the following tips, the risks can be minimized if the right candidate is found and you invest in some training for your new hire.

 

  • Start early. The best summer job candidates are proactive and responsible, which means they are getting their resumes out early. Other good employers are acting on this. Don’t find yourself scrambling for summer help come mid-May!
  • Look for candidates interested in construction. Students who are working toward a career in or related to the construction industry bring more to the table. They will be more interested and eager to learn than the student just working for extra cash. Additionally, they may bring more knowledge, which means a shorter learning curve.
  • Use your network. Chances are, you have workers, friends, and family with college-aged kids. Ask them to share information about the position opening with their children. Children of your employees, friends, and family usually realize that poor performance will reflect badly on their parents and work to avoid that uncomfortable situation.
  • Involve your foreman. Your foreman is on the site all day, every day and will bring a unique viewpoint to the resume review and interview process. Additionally, this will show that you respect your foreman’s input and  realize he or she may want a voice in selecting a candidate who will be around all summer.
  • Find a responsible student. This is probably a little more difficult. All applicants will tell you they are responsible, but you need to dig deeper. Look at their grades and their extra-curricular activities. Be sure to reach out to their references and ask detailed questions to learn who is actually responsible.

 

With these tips, you should be able to hire a seasonal worker who can contribute to your business. And if you do, please make sure you properly train him or her! I realize how difficult it is to invest in training for an employee who will only be on the job a few months, but it is essential. Construction is inherently dangerous and these students lack experience on a jobsite. That can be a bad combination, but with proper job training and safety training, accidents are avoidable. 

Michael S.
Michael S. is a construction market analyst who has worked at ACUITY over 26 years. He has been heavily involved in the construction industry since 2009. His love for construction started at a young age, which motivated him to get more involved in construction business at ACUITY. In his spare time, Mike likes to be outside and enjoy nature by hiking and running. If he could pick any travel destination in the world it would be somewhere with trees, mountains, rivers, lakes, wildlife, and hiking trails.


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