Cheap, smart startup labor!

Latest posts by Jonathan Hudson (see all)

No, I’m not talking about highly trained monkeys; I’m talking about college students.

Do you work with college students? If you don’t yet, you should consider it. They can be a free (or incredibly cheap) source of labor, and their mental faculties are generally well ahead of their professional skills, so most of them are excited to get out and into the workforce.

I’ve worked with many college students from UofM (regulars – not drop out freakshows like me!), and I’ve found them all to be bright and diligent. But I’ve also found a few caveats that don’t turn up in the interviews, and can be fairly broadly applied to most of the younger college students with whom I’ve worked.

The most significant is that they usually don’t have much project experience. Timelines, milestones, and deliverables are all easily-understood concepts, but plan on clearly revisiting your expectations every step of the way and staying on top of any projects with which your young intern/employee is involved.

The other generalizable sticking point is that they often rush things out the door. I’ve made sure that college students who work with me run almost everything by me for the first few weeks – emails, memos, documents. Once I’m confident that they are checking their materials once, twice and thrice, I’m satisfied to let them loose.

All said, college students are an excellent resource. If you find yourself overwhelmed, you may need search no further than your local campus.

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