How Hiring Students Can Help Your Small Business

Date posted: May 22, 2012

By Rieva Lesonsky

Is your small business looking to hire? Well good, because millions of young people are looking for summer jobs. A recent Gallup poll showed widespread underemployment among U.S. workers aged 18 to 29 has been a persistent problem for the past few years. With freshly-minted high school and college graduates about to be looking for full-time jobs, part-time jobs or summer jobs, now is the time to snap up an energetic young worker for your small business.

Hiring a young worker either for full-time jobs or part-time jobs, permanently or for summer jobs, can bring many advantages to your business. Young people are more tech-savvy, having grown up with technology like email and social media. So if your business needs an injection of vitality to its website or someone to help get you into the social media game, a young person could be the right choice.

Of course, hiring younger workers who may never have held a “real job” before brings some challenges, too. I’ve worked managing many entry-level employees in both full-time jobs, part-time jobs and summer jobs, and here are three tips that worked for me.

  1. Provide guidance. This generation of young employees, in particular, needs some assistance getting used to the ways of the work force. Set standards for your expectations of their behavior and achievements. You may also want to set up an in-house training program to get newbies up to speed. This doesn’t have to be fancy, but simply a way to get them in line with your company’s culture and how things are done.
  2. Provide feedback. Regular feedback on how young employees are doing is the best way to keep them on track and stop bad habits before they start. It’s also something today’s young workers welcome and even expect, so don’t be shy about sharing both positive and negative feedback on how they’re performing.
  3. Get out of their way. Once you’ve got young staffers through “basic training,” give them a couple small projects to handle their way. Set their goals and timeline, and let them figure out the best way to do the job. Often they’ll come up with ideas that surprise you. There’s nothing like having a fresh pair of eyes on the scene to revitalize your small business.

Of course, if you’re hiring young employees for part-time jobs or as interns for summer jobs, make sure you’re following federal and state labor laws regarding part time jobs and internships. State laws in particular may vary. Visit the Department of Labor website to see what laws apply in your state.


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