Hiring and Supporting Student Employees

Handshake Logo

Open student positions must be posted in Handshake for a minimum of three business days. If you have questions, visit Handshake FAQ page or call us at (269) 387-2745.

Career readiness resources

Campus employment is an excellent vehicle for students to obtain skills desired by employers.  Career and Student Employment Services offers a variety of resources, tools, and workshops to help your department maximize the benefits of student employment while assisting students in gaining transferable skills.

Career Readiness Competencies

Sample Job Description

Sample Interview Questions - Competency Based

Performance Evaluation for Student Employees

Career and Student Employment Services offers a Career Readiness Workshop for student employees, where students learn how to effectively articulate the skills gained while working on campus. Schedule the Career Readiness Certificate workshop by completing the form below, or contact wmu-handshake@wmich.edu if you would like more information or get the materials to conduct the workshop yourself.

Request Career Readiness workshop

Individual units determine their employment needs, job descriptions, and pay rates (within university guidelines). Campus units commit to pay, train, monitor, and supervise student employees.

Finding student employees at WMU

1. Review the WMU Student Employee Work Hour Policy and Breaks

2. Review the Quick Guide to Work Study 

3. Create a job description and post in Handshake

4. Interview candidates

5. Use ethical hiring practices

  • Americans with Disabilities Act
  • All offers should be made by phone, and a follow-up message should be sent via email or mail.
  • Send a job offer letter:  

Dear (Student Name), 

Thank you for interviewing for the position of xxx with xxx. Please consider this the official job offer for the stated position.  As we discussed over the phone, your start date will be [insert date]. You will be compensated at the [insert pay level] [($wage/hr)] and will be scheduled to work [insert number of hours] per week with possible changes to the work schedule. You will be reporting to [insert job title]. You're welcome to contact me with any questions. We look forward to you joining our team! 

  • To candidates not offered the job, email a courtesy message informing them a different candidate was selected: 

Dear (Student Name), 

Thank you for applying for the position of [insert position] with [insert department]. After careful consideration and assessment, we have decided to proceed with another applicant at this time. While your skills and background are impressive, we have received a large number of applications, and others more closely matched the current requirements. Again, thank you for your interest in employment at Western Michigan University and wish you luck in your future job search. 

Hiring student employees

1. Enter student in Workflow

When a student is hired, staff from the hiring department must input student record in Workflow. To get access to Workflow, go to PeopleSoft Access and Reporting. Once approved you may enter new student employee via GoWMU. When hiring an international student has not yet received a social security number, use 99911222 in Workflow. Once the student employee receives official social security number, make the change in Student Employment Online Transactions.

2. I-9 Processing

  • Employees can complete their I-9 and direct deposit through GoWMU, under the Employee Self-Service link. If direct deposit is not set up, employee with be issued a debit card by Payroll.
  • New hires must provide required I-9 documents to Human Resources located in Seibert Administration Building within 72 hours of starting a job.

3. Student employee payroll and tax information

4. Hiring student employees - Resources from HR

5. Confidentiality statement to be signed by student employees

6. Guidelines on record retention

Training and supporting student employees

1. Complete the WMU Student Employment Eligibility Form with the student

2. Sample Training and Orientation

3. Online training on transferable skills for student employees

4. Ongoing training and support

Employing department is responsible for providing training and support to their student employees.

  • Provide a job description, direct supervisor and space for belongings.
  • Identify job duties, samples, directions or others supporting documents.
  • Set expectations for work hours, professionalism, confidentiality, dress, etc.
  • Pair the new hire with a peer for on-the-job training, develop a department specific training guide for new hires, and schedule blocks of time with supervisor for training.
  • Encourage student feedback; ask for input and expect to provide the same.
  • Evaluate the student's performance 1-2 times per year using competency-based performance evaluation. (Fillable pdf version of the competency-based performance evaluation.)
  • Provide a safe, inclusive environment for the student to perform at their best.
  • The need for special accommodations, due to disabilities or other reasons, must be reported to the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE). OIE will help determine what accommodations can be provided.
  • Lunch schedules may vary by department and can be adjusted to meet departmental needs. A lunch period of 30 minutes or more is non-paid time. Student staff lunch break is optional, but not required. Lunch break may be accommodated at departments discretion. A lunch break is required for full time employees.    
  • Share WMU Telephone and Voice Mail Procedures with your students.

5. Recognition

  • Supervisors are expected to provide appropriate recognition for work well done by students and regularly provide feedback when work falls below expectations.
  • The campus celebrates the work of student employees annually during Student Employment Appreciation Week in February. Supervisors may nominate individual students for the annual Student Employee of the Year recognition. 

Addressing performance issues

1. Supervisor responsibilities

  • Student employees must perform as expected by the supervisor. Explicit expectations should be provided to the student upon hire and reinforced on a regular basis. Students need to be given clear direction on changes needed to improve performance. When action is needed, supervisors follow these levels of direct action: provide a verbal warning, a written warning, and - if necessary - dismissal or termination. For details, review the Employee Conduct and Disciplinary Action section on HR website.
  • Supervisor support for this process is available through Career and Student Employment Services or Human Resources. Supervisors are encouraged to address problems when they occur to reduce escalation.

A performance evaluation should be administered at least once a year to review the student employee's performance, offer direction for improvement, and note exemplary work.  The evaluation is based on the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) career readiness competencies.

2. Student responsibilities

  • Students are afforded due process and can protest a termination. This is done by contacting Career and Student Employment Services. Depending on the situation, a meeting between the parties may be needed. Student employees (with the exception of teaching assistants) are not represented by a union.
  • Additional resources for supervisors and students are Office of Ombudsman, Human Resources, Office of Institutional Equity, or Student Conduct.

Support for non-work issues

1. Referral process for faculty/staff concerned about a student

  • Talk to the student to share your concerns; attempt to help the student understand that they could benefit from help.
  • Inform the student that you will be referring them for help.
  • Complete the online Concern Form or follow the link in GoWMU. The completed form will be reviewed by the case manager, who will follow up with the student and person has submitted the concern. 

2. Self-referral process for a student

  • Complete the online Student Concern Form or follow the link in GoWMU.
  • The completed for will be reviewed by the case manager who will follow up with you to determine the next steps.
  • If you suspect that any employee could harm others, themselves or have an emergency, contact WMU Department of Public Safety at (269) 387-5555 or 911.

Terminating student employment

  • Upon leaving employment, whether employee-initiated or termination, employees should complete an exit interview. This process can help improve employment for students by providing helpful feedback about supervisors, work load, and the department.
  • To terminate a student employee, the hiring agent should use the Student Employee Online Transaction form.