Step-by-step co-op hiring guide

students and employer walking and talking

WaterlooWorks is designed to help you reach the largest co-op student talent pool in Canada. Our online recruitment system uses hiring cycles to take you through the hiring process. Posting a job on WaterlooWorks is free and we have a dedicated team to help you throughout the process.

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Benefits of using the WaterlooWorks co-op Full-Cycle Service job board


Our co-op job board is a free-of-charge, one-stop-shop to

  • post job(s),
  • reserve interview dates/times,
  • select interview candidates,
  • conduct interviews,
  • rank candidates and
  • match with a student.


Posting your job on WaterlooWorks will maximize your exposure to our top talent:

  • We have thousands of co-op students available every term.
  • The Full-Cycle Service job board is the first place students go for job opportunities.


Our hiring cycles and rank-match process connect you with students across all our 120+ programs.

  • Hiring cycles give you the flexibility to hire at the right time for your organization.
  • The majority of students (approximately 80%) are employed via the rank/match process.


Access personalized support during the entire recruitment and hiring process.

Your dedicated service team includes an account manager and account co-ordinator.

Steps to hire through the Full-Cycle Service job board

Laptop and phone on a yellow desk with the WaterlooWorks home page open on both devices

Register on WaterlooWorks (if you're hiring for the first time)

WaterlooWorks is our centralized recruitment and hiring platform. We’ve customized it to connect employers with top student talent. WaterlooWorks will help you find the right fit for your job and connect with your service team.

Within two business days of registering, you’ll receive an email with more information. Once your registration is approved, a member of our service team will reach out. We’re available to offer support through recruitment and hiring.

Post job(s) on WaterlooWorks

Once you’ve registered for an account on WaterlooWorks, you can post or repost a job for the upcoming work term. Our recruitment dates outline the hiring cycles and applicable dates and due dates.

Students will see your job title and description. Here are a few tips and resources to help attract the right applicants:

  • Choose an accurate job title that reflects the position.
  • Write an engaging job description.
  • Include compensation and benefits information like a salary range, or any other benefits your organization offers. Providing salary details can increase your chances of finding the right applicants to fill your role(s).
  • Indicate whether the employment location arrangement is in-person, remote or hybrid to help students make informed application decisions.
  • Add up to five pre-screening questions to job postings to collect information from applicants. If a job has required skills or experience, the pre-screening questions will help you filter applications and select those with the correct qualifications to save time when interviewing.
  • Use thematic and academic clusters to target your job posting to the right applicants. Students use these clusters to find jobs of interest based on job function and program.

Make an interview reservation

Part of the process of posting your job on the WaterlooWorks co-op Full-Cycle Service job board is making an interview reservation. An interview reservation lets us know when you want to conduct your interviews, and what method you want to use. It is like a “save the date” that helps us support you through your interviews.

After you make the interview reservation, block the time in your calendar for interviewing candidates.

Why add an interview reservation?

  • You need an interview reservation to make an interview schedule in WaterlooWorks.
  • It will help you plan and prepare for your interviews in advance (and helps us support you!)
  • It will reserve your interview slot to avoid losing your preferred interview time.

Note: If you’re not ready to make a reservation or have other plans for your interviews, please send us a message on WaterlooWorks. We can better support you if we know your plan.

Co-op students talking in an interview.

Review applications and select candidates to interview

After the application closes, you'll be able to view applications in WaterlooWorks. The application due date in the job posting is the date the job posting closes. We’ll also send you an email notification when the applications are available to review.

You will be prompted to select candidates and submit your interview schedule at least four days before your interview reservation date. The candidates you’ve selected to interview will each choose an interview time from the schedule.


  • Download application packages and sort/filter applicants based on various criteria to help you screen applications
  • Use answers to your pre-screening questions to isolate qualified candidates.
  • Select alternate candidates to interview. Sometimes, students can’t attend interviews due to academic or personal reasons. Choosing alternates ensures that you have enough candidates to select from.
  • Submit your interview schedule as soon as possible. This will help to ensure that the students you choose will have enough time to select a time slot and prepare for their interview.

Interview your candidates

Once you have an approved interview schedule, you’ll receive an email with next steps. You can view your interview schedule, including student names and timeslots, in WaterlooWorks. We can help manage your interview schedule and address any interview conflicts.

You can conduct your interviews using one of the following methods:

  • WaterlooWorks integrated webcam
  • Your preferred digital platform (i.e., Teams, Google Meet, etc.)
  • Phone
  • In-person at one of our campuses. There are limited in-person bookings available for Tatham Centre, University of Waterloo.

Rank your preferred candidates

After you’ve completed interviews, you’ll submit rankings for each candidate you interviewed. You must submit your rankings before the due date for the cycle you interviewed in. Students will rank your job in return. The lower the sum of employer and student rankings (e.g., employer ranking 1 + student ranking 1 = 2), the greater your chances of being matched.

Please note:

  • Only rank candidates that you would be willing to hire.
  • Submit your rankings before the ranking due date. If your rankings are not submitted on time, the rankings will be included in the next cycle’s match but the students may no longer be available. If you are late to submit rankings, contact your account co-ordinator for options.
  • We recommend using the optional compensation/benefits and job location fields of your ranking form to enter details about the rate of pay for the role, any benefits, and the location where the student will spend their work term. These details help students to make ranking decisions and can help you secure the right student for your role.
  • Include personalized comments in the Note to Student box. This can include things like interview feedback or additional role, salary, benefits or location information. Students appreciate these details!

▶️ Watch our rank/match video to learn more about how it works, how to submit rankings and more.

employer shaking student's hand

Match with your selected candidate

We will send you a message to notify you of the results following a match. A match is equivalent to an accepted job offer. It indicates that a student has committed to working with you for the work term. The student(s) you matched with will contact you to make further arrangements.

If you don’t match with any students, don’t worry! You can repost your job and take part in the next hiring cycle.

▶️ Watch our rank/match video to learn more about how it works.

After the hiring cycles have ended (direct offers)

If you haven’t matched with a student, or if you submit your job to the co-op Full-Cycle Service job board after our hiring cycles have ended, you can still hire a student during the direct offer stage.

Direct offers generally begin about a month before the start of the new work term. It continues until the students need to start to get their co-op credit (at least 12 weeks working). You’ll still post your job on the WaterlooWorks co-op Full-Cycle Service job board during direct offers and gather applications. However, you’ll handle the interviews and offers yourself — not through WaterlooWorks.

How does direct offers work?

  • Post your job on the WaterlooWorks > Co-op Jobs > Full-Cycle Service job board.
  • Review your applications (available three business days after posting your job).
  • Select the students you want to interview in WaterlooWorks.
  • Contact students directly to set up interviews via phone/webcam.
  • After you’ve completed your interviews, contact students directly to make offers.
  • If the student accepts your offer, forward the email confirming the student’s acceptance to your account co-ordinator.

Prepare for your work term!

Here are tips to help prepare for your student’s work term:

Other options for hiring co-op students

Most employers hire our co-op students through the WaterlooWorks co-op Full-Cycle Service job board using the steps above. This method comes with many benefits to employers, as it’s where most students start their search and where our staff can best support you. However, if it’s not the right fit for your organization there are other options to consider.

Post a job on the WaterlooWorks co-op Employer-Student Direct job board

  • Use this job board to hire flexibly outside of Waterloo's hiring cycles. 
  • Post on this job board anytime. 
  • Tailor your recruitment timeline to align with your hiring needs - helpful if you want to post in advance. 
  • Connect directly with students for applications, interviews and offers. 

Please note: Based on their academic schedule, students may not be available for specific dates. If a student accepts your offer, they'll complete a form to receive co-op credit. 

Post a job on the WaterlooWorks Contract, Part-Time and Volunteer job board

  • You can use this job board to post co-op jobs that fall outside of our standard work term requirements or hiring cycle timelines.
  • You can post on this job board anytime and conduct your hiring independently.
  • This job board is great for posting part-time, summer and volunteer positions for all students.
  • All Waterloo students, not just co-op students, have access to the WaterlooWorks Contract, Part-Time and Volunteer job board. Keep in mind that not all students will be available for your preferred duration, and not all co-op students check this board. Posting to the WaterlooWorks Contract, Part-Time and Volunteer job board may result in a smaller candidate pool.

Post a job outside of WaterlooWorks

If you choose to post outside of WaterlooWorks, like on your company website or an outside job board, we can still help! To get added visibility with Waterloo students, post your job on the WaterlooWorks co-op Employer-Student Direct or Contract, Part-Time and Volunteer job board and direct students to your website. If you hire a student from Waterloo, they can submit the job for co-op credit.

Not sure what hiring method will work best for you?

If you've already registered in WaterlooWorks, contact your account manager.  If you're new to hiring in WaterlooWorks, email us at Either way, our staff members are happy to support you!