How to Hire a Co‑op Student
Follow our four easy steps to hire a Dalhousie co-op student. At any point, contact us to help you throughout the process.
Step 1: Plan your co-op opportunity
What kind of co-op role would help you and your organization?
First, identify how can a student assist your organizational goals and objectives. Consider the following types of roles for which you could hire a co-op student:
- Special projects
- Staff relief
- Daily operations
Next, consider your desired outcomes for these co-op roles:
- Increased productivity
- Short or long-term recruitment
- Corporate social responsibility
- Subject matter expertise
Decide when you'd like to recruit
Work terms take place during the following semesters:
- Fall (September to December)
- Winter (January to April)
- Summer (May to August)
To recruit for any given work term, plan to post your job and begin the hiring process at the beginning of the semester before your start date.
Work terms are generally four months (minimum 14 weeks) in duration, with a minimum of 35 hours per week (or equivalent). For student availability by semester, view the Programs Available section.
Understand your responsibilities as a co-op employer
Review our employer responsibilities to understand your requirements throughout the work term.
Learn all about money matters
As professionals in training, co-op students seek fair and competitive wages. Co-op student wages are set by you as the employer, and vary based on the student skill level and your resources. For help determining wages, view our individual program pages or contact us for advice.
Employers must provide 4% vacation pay or time off in lieu during the student's work term under the terms of a Collective Agreement or the Employment Standards Act. Employers may consider granting other benefits such as training, relocation assistance, travel expenses, housing/accommodations or access to company fitness facilities.
Housing and Relocation Assistance
Students normally bear the cost of housing and relocation, but some employers make their job postings more competitive by offering assistance ranging from subsidized housing to covering travel costs.
Funding and Subsidies
Need funding to make it happen? Various funding and subsidy programs are available for co-op employers.
Step 2: Create your job posting
Start by writing your job description
Strong job descriptions get more student applications, and balance brevity with detail. We recommend this format:
- Company overview: 1-2 lines about the company and a link to your website.
- Job title and location
- Job description: describe the purpose of the role, who they will report to, and key tasks.
- Qualifications desired
- Types of knowledge (industry, technical, legal, etc.)
- Specific skills (both technical and non-technical)
- Professional qualifications
- Personal attributes
- What the student will learn, experience and contribute
- Wage and benefits
- How to apply and specific documents to include
Need help with drafting your job desciption? Email us and we'll help you get started.
Submit your job posting
Once submitted, our office reviews the job posting to ensure it aligns with the available co-op disciplines. It is then made viewable to students in relevant disciplines.
For assistance with your job posting, contact us at 902-494-4353 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Step 3: Review applications and interview candidates
Review your applications
Co-op students typically have three days to apply through myCareer. Once the deadline passes, the applications are emailed directly to you. If an application is incomplete or missing requested documents, you may screen out incomplete applications or contact us to prompt the student submit the missing documents.
Interview your candidates
Once your candidates are selected, let us know that you are ready to arrange interviews and our team can help coordinate this. To schedule interviews, simply tell us your dates, times and the candidate's names and let us do the rest. We will confirm the schedule in advance of your arrival.
Student availability varies based on course load and concurrent interviews. Please allow for some flexibility as we aim to find convenient interview times for both employers and students.
Choose your interview location
On-campus interviews are generally held at our office locations. Limited interview rooms are reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis, and may not be "block-booked.” We encourage employers to schedule early to secure a room. We welcome employers to interview on-campus at any time during the term except Exam Week, and recommend employers avoid Study Breaks in February and November.
Telephone interviews: we accommodate telephone interviews through our office.
Video conferencing/Skype: if you have access to facilities in your organization. Video conferencing costs are not covered by our office. Please contact us for details.
Step 4: Rank Applicants/Make a Job Offer
Our office employs a Rank & Match process. Ranking helps us maximize the number of student-job matches so our students are successful in their co-op job search.
The matching process reviews ranking input from both the student and the employer. After you interview your student candidates, enter your rankings. There are a few key steps and our team can easily walk you through the process.
Round 1: Rank & Match
During the Rank & Match round (typically the first six weeks of the hiring semester), no direct job offers are made to students. Instead, employers and students participate in Rank and Match:
- Employers post jobs, interview students, and rank interviewees before the ranking deadline.
- Once employers have submitted rankings, students then rank all the jobs for which they have interviewed. Students can see whether an employer has ranked them #1, ranked them something other than #1, or has not ranked them.
- Using an algorithm, employer and student rankings are combined to create matches, with the goal of filling a position with the match that yields the lowest score. For example, suppose an employer interviews three students.
Student 'A' Rank #2 + Employer rank #1 = 3
Student 'B' Rank #1 + Employer rank #3 = 4
Student 'C' Rank #3 + Employer Rank #2 = 5
In this scenario, the employer is matched with Student A, because the sum of their rankings is the lowest of the three scores.
Make Rank & Match work for you
There are several ways you can improve your odds of being matched with a student during Rank & Match.
- Interview and rank as many students as possible;
- Rank in order of preference, not sequentially: Rank & Match allows you to rank only one student #1, but other students can be ranked evenly. This means if you interview four candidates and find them to be equally strong, pick one as #1 and rank the remainder all as #2 (essentially, they're in a tie). This makes it easier to end up with a lower combined score and therefore be matched.
Ranking = job offer
- Only rank candidates that you would hire; ranking a student is considered a job offer. If you are not interested in a candidate, do not rank that student.
- If you are uncertain about the funding of a position, do not submit rankings.
- Before the match, please do not make job offers, and avoid discussing rankings with students.
- Almost all candidates remain available until Round 1 ends on Match Day, granting all employers equal access.
Round 2: Recruit in real-time
Round 2 recruiting operates on a first-come, first-serve basis; post your job, review applicants, then contact us to help set up interviews and extend job offers.
If you decide not to rank any students, or do not fill your position during Round 1, your job can be posted again during Round 2.
If you have questions about the job competition, please contact your Co-op Employer Team member.
Rehiring a student
If you are rehiring a co-op student for a subsequent work term in the same position, simply make your offer of employment and notify us of your intentions. We can also communicate the offer on your behalf if you provide us with details.