How much time/work does it take to be a WIL employer?

There are plenty of benefits to working with WIL students, but it does require you invest some time and effort in the process. When planning your WIL experience (.doc), we encourage you to make sure you have enough time to prepare, recruit, hire, train, and supervise, just like you would if you were hiring a regular employee. The time you'll need to invest as a WIL employer depends on a few factors, many of which will decrease as you continue to work with WIL students. 

1. Your organization's processes 

If your organization has existing human resources processes for hiring regular employees, you'll likely be able to use those processes to hire a WIL student. You might need to plan the student's workplace and procure resources the student will need, like a laptop or software. You may decide to research and apply for funding opportunities to help offset the cost of hiring a student. You may also decide to get legal advice for contract agreements with your WIL student, like intellectual property and non-compete agreements. 

2. The institution's processes 

If you are hiring a WIL student for the first time, or working with a new institution, it will take some time to figure out the process. This will involve deciding which institution to work with, contacting them, and understanding their process and deadlines. Many institutions have strict deadlines based on their academic calendar, so it's a good idea to reach out well in advance of when you would like the student to start working. In addtional, many institutions require completion of a student performance evaluation, so you'll need to set aside some time at the end of the experience to complete it.

If you are interested in hiring Waterloo co-op student, there are processes and procedures to follow. 

3. The WIL position 

Here are some instances where your WIL position may require a greater time commitment: 

  • If your job description is broad, you may get many applicants - it will take more time to review them all and decide which students you would like to interview. 
  • If you are hiring a WIL student for the first time or for a new position, it will take some time to plan the position and figure out what the student will be doing.
  • If you are looking for a specific skillset, it may take longer to find the 'right' student. 
  • If the position involves project or innovation work, you may need to meet with the student more regularly to ensure that the project is on track. 

4. Your experience 

If you are new to supervising students, or new to supervising in general, you'll quickly realize that it takes time. You might need to figure out your supervision style as well as what works best for your student. If you want to learn more about supervising WIL students, you're in the right place, but you may also want to explore leadership training and resources. 

As a WIL supervisor, be prepared to schedule the following meetings with your student:  

  • On their first day, and during their first week 
  • Weekly, or more frequent check-ins 
  • Midterm progress 
  • Final performance evaluation 
  • On their last day or during their last week 

5. Your student's experience 

WIL students are equipped with the knowledge and skills to contribute to your organization, but like any employee they will need onboarding and training. Students that are newer to the workforce may need their supervisor to be more hands-on, especially in the first month. It can be helpful to pair your student with a mentor (a more senior student or recent grad) they can approach first with questions and ideas before coming to you.