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Division of Human Resources

Hiring Overview

The processes and procedures to select a candidate and extend an offer to a student employee vary widely across USC. The following is a general overview of things to consider when hiring a student employee.

Please note, your school or unit may have additional requirements or guidelines that you will need to consider. Contact your student hire representative for more information.


Posting a Position

Posting a student job is not required. However, if you would like to increase your recruitment effort, speak with your student hire representative about appropriate job boards to post the job.

Employers are encouraged to post on-campus job vacancies on the Handshake platform. Posting in Handshake ensures equity, and gives employers the chance to meet qualified candidates from across the entire campus. To post a job vacancy in Handshake, your office will need an established employer account. Check out this Getting Started with Handshake guide for information on registering as an employer.   

NOTE: Please be sure to search for your USC office/department before creating a new one. If you do not see your office listed, please name your account “University of South Carolina- name of office” (ex: University of South Carolina- Career Center).   


Interviewing Students

Unless hiring a student for a work-study position, in which an interview is required, interviewing candidates for a student position is not required. However, it is recommended that you take the time to interview students before hiring them. This helps both you and the student make an informed decision about whether the job and the student are a good match.

Before you interview a student, you should develop a list of questions to ask during the interview. Questions can include a mix of open-ended and yes or no answers, and should help you determine a student’s skill level as it relates to the job, and how a student will fit in with the culture of your department. Questions to consider asking a student during an interview include, but are not limited to:

  1. Do you prefer working independently or in a team?
  2. What did you like most or least about your last job?
  3. Can you perform [insert task relevant to the job]?
  4. Tell me about a time when [insert experience or qualification relevant to the job]?

If you require additional information about a student’s previous experience or wish to review a resume, make sure to notify the student in advance that they should bring those materials with them to the interview.

As you prepare to interview a student, it is important to keep in mind that employers are legally prohibited from asking questions related to any protected class. This includes but is not limited to race, ethnicity, nationality, sex, gender, sexual orientation, marital or family status, disability, or religion. It is also advisable not to ask questions about date of birth, children, child-care arrangements, transportation, financial commitments, and arrest records. You may ask about their ability to work the specified work schedule, career objectives, grade point average and/or estimated graduation timeframe.  If you wonder about a question and you cannot get an answer before the interview, it is best to not ask it. Contact the Division of Human Resources if you have a question regarding interview questions.

For more information on protected classes, visit the Office of Civil Rights & Title IX.

It is important to keep in mind that it may be a student’s first time interviewing for a job, or that they may be slightly nervous. Try to spend a few minutes at the start of an interview putting the student at ease with some small talk. Questions such as “Tell me about yourself” or “What year are you and what are your aspirations after graduation” are good ways to break the ice.

Before asking your questions, make sure to give the student information on the department, essential functions of the job, standards expected, supervisory style, and other factors relevant to the job. You should be clear about your personal expectations and ask the student for responses, questions, or comments. Some topics that should be discussed during the interview include:

  • Work schedule and the student’s availability
  • Description of job duties
  • Pay rate for the job
  • Personal conduct and dress code expected of the student
  • Previous experience needed to perform the job
  • Training to be provided to perform the job
  • Employment duration, anticipated start date and end date
  • Expected hiring decision timetable

Ask your interview questions. As the student talks about their education, training, and experience, it is important to listen carefully and to pose questions or comments that encourage elaboration.

For more information regarding interviewing questions, please review the interview guide [pdf].

At the conclusion of the interview, make sure to thank the student and let them know by when and how they can expect to hear about your decision.


Selecting a Candidate & Background Screenings

The processes and procedures to select a candidate and extend an offer vary widely across USC. Please contact your student hire representative for more details on the specifics or special considerations in your department.

Depending on the job the student employee will be working, they may need to complete a background check before being extended an offer. Jobs that often require a background check include those where student employees work with minors or work with residential programs.

If a background check is required, the student employee will be notified by your student hire representative. 

Learn more about employee background checks from the Division of Human Resources.


Extending an Offer

Making a job offer to a student may be verbal or in writing, depending on your department’s process. Offer letters are not required for students. The Student Hire eForm may be processed in HCM PeopleSoft without an offer letter but if an attachment is desired, that is always as option. Once the hire is processed in HCM PeopleSoft, the student will automatically receive a system-generated email confirmation including the specifics of the state and end date, pay rate, hours per week, supervisor, and other pertinent information at their USC email address.

This email confirmation will include specifics regarding start date, pay rate, hours per week, supervisor and other pertinent information.

After selecting your candidate, please inform other students that were interviewed that they were not selected.

Hiring a Student Employee

Once you select a student to hire, extend an offer, and have the student accept the offer, your student hire representative will complete the hiring process as well as ensure that all required forms, including the Form I-9, are completed by the student employee prior to their first day of work.

Review the Supervisor Checklist for more information on what to expect leading up to the student employee’s first day of work and throughout their first week on the job.

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