It’s never too late to give hiring students a try, and to see how adding work terms to your recruitment cycle can positively impact your company. Recently, Dalhousie Management Career Services (MCS) spoke with a student employer who heard about the Commerce Co-op program just over a year ago and decided to give our students chance.
Joe and Dalene Allen are both Executive Directors of BNI Maritimes, the local chapter of a world-leading business networking and referral organization. They learned about the Bachelor of Commerce Co-op program in spring 2020 through a member of the MCS Employer Development team. “We hired one Commerce student, Sam Willner, for the Fall 2020 work term to check it out,” says Joe. “Well, we were so pleased with what he brought to our organization that we hired two students, Nick Lawlor and Maia St. John, for the Winter 2021 term!
In the Commerce Co-op program, students complete each of their three mandatory co-ops during a specific time of year: their first in the winter, second in fall, and third in summer. Some employers may be hesitant to hire a first-time co-op student knowing they possess less work experience than other students, but as BNI came to find out, previous experience is only a small piece of the puzzle to making a great student employee.
“Nick and Maia were at the end of their first year and still early in their university learning, yet they were already able to offer us real value,” says Joe. His team went on to hire two more co-op students, Jake MacMillan and Cameron Gannon, for the Summer 2021 term. “It has been a pleasure to have these students work with us. They bring fresh energy, ideas, and skillsets, and they help BNI Maritimes operate more smoothly. We were impressed by the initiative and enthusiasm they have demonstrated by taking on such tasks as making cold calls to companies that they had themselves selected by prospecting such sources as social media and trade publications. They have helped us by bringing their technical skills to our projects and by researching and learning new software and techniques.”
Joe also acknowledges that he and Dalene knew they had a responsibility to ensure the co-op experience was also valuable for their students. “For our part, we wanted to make sure we gave them a valid learning experience by assigning them diverse tasks that would exercise as many skills as possible,” he says. Both he and Dalene encouraged their students to connect with BNI’s member organizations to learn about their businesses and build relationships that may assist them in their future career paths.
“We highly recommend the hiring of Dal Commerce Co-op students to any employer. We have found them to be reliable with a curiosity to adapt and develop skills.”