How are students evaluating my organization and my job postings?

Students don’t want just any job – they want a valuable experience that will help them achieve success in the future. When they are considering a job posting, they are evaluating you just as much as you are evaluating them.  

When you are hiring someone, some of your criteria is to find the perfect fit and some of your criteria is simply about avoiding a bad fit. It’s the same with students. In addition, even if you have everything a student is looking for, it won’t do you any good if students don’t know about it. 

Read on to learn about how students are evaluating your organization and how you can advertise the ways in which you meet, or even exceed, their expectations.  

    Your organization’s reputation

    Where are they looking for this information? 

    • From students who have worked for you before. 

    • Social media or other employer-rating websites. 

    • Your careers page, particularly if there are testimonials. 

    • Your website in general – particularly for clues as to culture, diversity, learning opportunities, etc. 

    • Ratings for your company on WaterlooWorks. 

    How can you make sure they evaluate your reputation positively? 

    • Keep your careers page up-to-date and include testimonials. 

    • Make sure your website accurately reflects and communicates your culture. 

    • Encourage past WIL students to share their stories and rate you on WaterlooWorks. Of course, you want to do everything you can to make sure those students have a positive experience to report on! 

    • Monitor your social media mentions and respond appropriately. 

    • Host employer information sessions and invite current or previous employees to share their experiences 

    What if you are a new company or simply haven’t hired a WIL student before? 

    The job description

    What do students want to see in the job description? 

    • Indication that a plan is in place, there will be enough work to do, and the work will be adequately challenging.  

    • Enough details so they can visualize what their day-to-day role might look like. 

    • Why the position matters to the organization, and that it isn’t just a make-work project. 

    • What they will learn through the role, so they can connect the job with their program learning. 

    • Criteria to clearly determine if they are eligible for the position. Students want to know if they'll have a chance at landing the job. 

    Check out our resource on ‘How do I write an attractive job description.’ 

    How they will be compensated 

    Students understand that they are coming with less education and experience than a regular full-time employee, however, they want to know that the skills they do have are valued and their contribution is respected. Being up-front about value-adds (e.g. transit passes, development opportunities, etc.) can help differentiate your position from similar roles at other organizations.  

    If you're hiring a co-op student, consult Co-op Earnings for average earnings of Canadian work terms by program. 

    Learning and development opportunities

    More than anything else, students are looking for opportunities that will enable them to grow. They are looking to their future and are evaluating your position based on how it can help them get there. They have heard about too many cases where WIL students were hired and then were basically left to manage on their own. They are looking for evidence that you will be different. If you can, include information in the job description about what kind of supervision or mentorship you will be able to provide, along with the training opportunities that you will make available (don’t overpromise and underdeliver though - it will impact your reputation). Plan to support your supervisors as they support students - this increases their leadership capacity while giving the students a great experience. Share your passion for helping students grow! 


    While students are primarily looking for great experiences, they also have to be practical. Making sure you provide them with details about location (including any re-location assistance available), remote possibilities, hours, necessary equipment, etc. will help them evaluate whether they can meet your expectations. No one likes to get excited about a position only to find out later that some small detail makes it impossible.