Your guide to hiring seasonal college and high school students

With summer coming up, you may be looking to build up your team for the busy season. And what better way than to hire students looking to make some extra money on their break from school? 

It can be hard to find seasonal and temporary workers just for the summer months. We created this post to help break the student process down into actionable steps you can take today.

Whether you’re new to hiring students or looking for a few shortcuts to make it a little easier,, here are our top tips for hiring seasonal college and high school students

Pros and cons of hiring students vs non students for seasonal employment 

Hiring Students:


  • Students are often available during school breaks and holidays, so they’re perfect for seasonal work.
  • They’re usually excited to get work experience and learn new skills, which can make them great workers.
  • They might be more flexible with their schedules than non-students, which can be helpful for businesses with changing demands.
  • They might be willing to work for lower wages since they have less work experience.


  • Students may not have as much experience as non-students, so they could make mistakes or work slower.
  • They might have other commitments like school or extracurriculars that could cause scheduling conflicts or unexpected absences.
  • They might not be available for the entire season.
  • Businesses might need to spend more time and resources training them than they would with experienced workers.

Hiring Non-Students:


  • Non-students might have more work experience and skills than students, which can make them better suited for certain tasks.
  • They’re less likely to have scheduling conflicts or unexpected absences since they’re not balancing school and work.
  • They might be available for the entire season.
  • Since they have more experience, they might be able to work more efficiently and effectively than students.


  • Non-students might require higher wages due to their experience and skills.
  • They might not be as flexible with their schedules as students, which could be a challenge for businesses with changing demands.
  • They might be resistant to new processes or technologies, which can make it hard for businesses to adapt.
  • They could be at risk of burnout if they’re working a seasonal job on top of their regular job.

How to hire students for seasonal employment

Throw a recruitment party on campus for college and high school students

Adding a few to your summer crew? Take a page out of Taco Bell’s hiring handbook and throw a recruitment party that appeals to younger job seekers. 

Hiring events are a great way to stand out among other businesses looking for summer help in the area. And if you make the event unique and create a buzz on social media, you can attract more candidates. 

(Taco Bell spiced their event up with free Nacho Fries and Watermelon Freezes, party games such as Taco Bell trivia, Instagram-worthy photo ops, and even signing bonuses in the form of gift cards for those who accepted a job on the spot.)

Be sure to have a designated application booth. Set up a few tablets for candidates to input their information. And make it easy by not requiring them to bring an application or apply online beforehand. 

Partner with local schools to post seasonal employment jobs

Many high schools and colleges have career centers that allow you to post available summer jobs. And if you want to classify your seasonal work as an internship, you can take part in a student-learner internship program

Student learner programs are often coordinated through high schools and trade associations. And, in some cases, you may qualify to pay the student 75% of the state minimum wage for part-time work. 

Reach out to your local high school, community college, or trade school to find the program that works best for your business. The organization will walk you through the steps to meet the student’s curriculum needs. 

Post on specific student job boards 

It’s always a great idea to post your job description on the top sites for those looking for student employment like ZipRecruiter, Indeed, and Craigslist—which Homebase can do for you. And there are also a number of hiring sites tailored to students looking for seasonal part-time work, or grads looking to get experience in the workforce

A few great options include: 

Tailor your interview process

If a hiring manager is interviewing students who have zero work experience, the interview process should reflect that — after all, they likely have no idea what the process even looks like. Layout the steps clearly when meeting with them. And prompt them to share examples from classes or extracurricular experiences to answer questions. 

Since there might not be any on-the-job experience, ask them about other skills (ones learned in school, for example) that could be beneficial to the role. A few helpful questions include: 

  • How do you manage your time with studying and juggling multiple activities? 
  • How did you overcome a challenge or take initiative during a group project? 
  • Have you ever disagreed with an instructor about your grades or performance evaluations? What were your reasons?
  • How would your favorite (and least favorite) teacher describe you? 
  • What has been your biggest academic achievement?
  • What other job opportunities are you pursuing or plan on pursuing in the future?

Set clear job expectations

If this is your new student hire’s first job, it’s important to lay out the guidelines and expectations as soon as possible. For example, they might not understand why you need them to show up on time for every shift, so provide a clear tardiness policy before their first day. 

Set them up with a seasoned team member who can show them the ropes on things like running a cash register, cleaning, customer service, and more until they’re comfortable with working on their own. A great onboarding for seasonal hires can make for a stronger season.

Focus on leadership

Today’s summer employees can turn into tomorrow’s full-time team members, and according to our recent survey, job seekers value great leadership over anything else. Give your part-time employees a reason to keep coming back. 

Learn more about how to be an effective leader in our article on how to give employees what they really want

Be flexible with high school and college students

Even though it’s summertime, students will likely still have other obligations. Ask them about dates and times they’ll need off so you can schedule around them ahead of time. 

For more advice on onboarding and being flexible with student employees, take a look at our article from Scentcerely Yours owners Rob and Susi Brocado on setting first-time team members up for success.

Brush up on child labor laws 

Minor employees come with their own set of compliance rules around safety, work times, and more. If you’ve never hired underage students, take a look at federal and state child labor laws before adding anyone under the age of 18 to your team roster; check with your human resources department. Take a look at our articles on how to legally hire minors, and what you need to know about interns to learn more. 

As the summer approaches, finding seasonal workers can be a daunting task. But with Homebase hiring and onboarding, it’s easier than ever. 

Homebase allows you to post jobs, track applicants, and onboard employees all in one place.  We’ll post your job description on the leading sites and help you find the perfect candidate, and then we’ll streamline the onboarding process by sending your new employee a digital packet including all the necessary hiring forms.

It’s important to be flexible with your student employees, but with Homebase, you can streamline the hiring process and make the most out of the busy season.

Remember: This is not legal advice. If you have questions about your particular situation, please consult a lawyer, CPA, or other appropriate professional advisor or agency.

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