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Your hiring guide

18 September 2023

UC works with a huge variety of employers across different industries throughout the year. We can help you promote part-time employment opportunities such as work placements, internships, summer work, and of course fixed term and permanent employment. Check out your hiring guide for our students and graduates.


Are you new to employing a university student or graduate?  Perhaps you don’t have an in-house HR person to assist?  You’re not sure if your opportunity would be a fit for a university student?

We work with a huge variety of employers across different industries and throughout the year (not just the academic year).  We can assist with promoting part-time employment opportunities, including work placements, internships, summer work, scholarships and awards and of course fixed term and permanent full-time employment.

We ask you, the employer to advertise all opportunities on our dedicated student and graduate jobs board NZUni Talent as all our students and graduates have access to this platform.

This guide will provide some helpful information around things to consider and preparation when looking to employ one (or more!) of our talented students or graduates.


Find the right student for your business


1. Draft a Job Description

Draft a job description that accurately describes the role you are filling to ensure you find the right student for the role. This will also help with induction and training, and create clear expectations for your employee.

Keep it simple

Keep the job description simple but comprehensive. Clearly stated expectations help avoid confusion and create a benchmark against which performance can be measured. Don't be tempted to leave out tasks that are difficult or tedious; it is a fact that all jobs have tasks that can be frustrating. If they are part of the job, do not mislead students - consider redesigning the job to remove or improve upon them as best you can.

Remember, the more realistic the expectations a new employee has, the more likely he or she is to stay and meet your expectations.


Example of a job description
CATEGORY                                                                                 EXPLANATIONEXAMPLE
Job titleThis should clearly convey the nature of the work to be done.Marketing Assistant
LocationWhere will the post be based?Branch office, Christchurch
Responsible to                Who will be the direct line manager/supervisor?Marketing Manager
Responsible for Will there be any staff management? If so, how many staff (part-time and full-time)?No staff
Purpose of jobWhy does the job exist? One or two sentences should be enough to help you and the student get a feel for the overall scope of the job.To assist the Marketing Manager with the implementation of the marketing plan
Key tasksWhat do they need to do? Include enough detail so that the student will have an idea of what they will have to do. This will also help you identify what knowledge/skills/attributes the student will need. It is a good idea to use active verbs like "writing", "calculating", "making", "developing", "designing", and "analysing".Designing marketing materials for the launch of a range of new products
ConditionsHours and days of work, rates of pay and particular circumstances, such as travelling, nights away from home, outdoor work, etc10 hours a week. Flexible, occasional evening work required. Award rates.
2. Decide on a selection criteria

Selection criteria are points against which applicants are assessed to determine their suitability for a job. 

These points summarise the knowledge and skills needed to perform the role. They are derived from the position description and summarise the specific knowledge and skills that applicants need to perform the role. Applicants respond to each criterion with an example of their experience in that area.

These criteria can then become the structure of your interview, as you can base your questions and discussion around each candidate's individual criteria response.

Example selection criteria:

  • An excellent telephone manner and good interpersonal skills
  • Demonstrated commitment to quality client service
  • An ability to relate to people from diverse backgrounds and cultures
  • Experience in a reception/office environment
  • Ability to organise and prioritise workloads
  • Excellent word processing, data entry and Internet search skills.


3. Develop a person specification

Use our template to identify the essential and desirable specifications for the job. Use the job description as the basis for what you need.

Pick out the key responsibilities from the job description and group similar ones together e.g. administrative duties, those involving communication.

Specify the skills and abilities in job-related terms and identify the level required in terms of quantity or quality, for example:

  • Ability to type accurately at a speed of 35 wpm
  • Able to identify routine maintenance problems and recommend appropriate remedies

Identify any experience required to carry out the duties - keeping in mind other experiences can be as valuable as that gained through paid work. For example travel, hobbies, or community activities.





Personal attributes

How to structure the position

There are different ways to structure a position. Choose how you engage your student on the basis of what you want to achieve. Each organisation will have different requirements:

  • You may only require help for a specific project
  • You may require a student on a full-time basis
  • You may require a casual vacancy to be filled
  • You may be in the position to offer the student permanent work after they graduate
  • You may be able to offer a work-integrated learning (WIL) internship project first and then offer some paid work

Keep in mind that 10-15 hours a week is manageable for a full-time student during term time. They may decide to take on more hours over holiday periods.


1. Part-time employment

Paid part-time employment is a good option for engaging a student while they complete their degree, especially if there is the possibility of full-time permanent work after they graduate.


2. Graduate employment

Graduate positions are generally entry-level roles that are permanent full-time positions that are offered to students who are about to finish or have just finished a university degree.

  • Organisations are expected to provide a full induction and supervision, and the graduate becomes a full member of staff from their first day of employment.
  • If you are interested in developing a graduate job with your organisation, contact NZUni Talent.


3. Casual employment

Casual employment is an excellent option for work that is available at irregular times or durations, or for work that isn't permanent. If a job needs to be done at short notice, a casual employee provides a flexible option for many employers.

  • Casual employees are often contacted regularly by their employers to arrange working times from week to week. As there is no expectation in a casual work contract between employee and employer of ongoing work, employees can legally refuse a specific work opportunity at any time.

For more help or to advertise a study-related casual role please visit these websites:


4. Volunteer work

UC Careers works with other areas within the university that can assist with sourcing a suitable student if your opportunity is unpaid. If your internship can fit a programme of study that offers work-integrated learning, then yes, we can assist with sourcing a potential candidate or candidates for you. If the opportunity does not fit, then we are not able to assist with promotion on our job platform NZUni Talent.

We ask our employers to look to pay a living wage if they can otherwise minimum wage depending on the level of study and expertise you are looking for.

If we are not able to source a suitable student for you for an unpaid work opportunity through other channels here at UC, and your organisation is not a registered Not for Profit or Charitable organisation, the University of Canterbury is not able to assist with promotion via the NZUni Talent jobs board.


5. Work-integrated learning

UC partners with companies, organisations and professionals to engage a student for a work placement, professional experience or industry project.

The university assesses the students in the workplace as part of their formal study along with the workplace supervisor.

WIL occurs where students learn both formally and through practical experience in the industry. The workplace or practical experience takes a variety of forms but is often a placement in industry, community, government or professional practice.

Key considerations for this type of placement are:

  • The student does not get paid.
  • The project/job has to fit within the requirements of the course the student is studying.
  • The placement has a set timeframe of when the work starts and finishes (often during a semester).
  • The work is assessed by an academic supervisor and the student receives a grade for it.


Legal requirements 

There are legal requirements that need to be considered and adhered to whenever a new employee is engaged.

See the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website for information about health and safety, employment relations, immigration and the labour market.


Prepare to engage a student

Preparation is vital for both you and your students. Our resources take you through questions that will help you define your objectives and make sure you've thought of the resources, time and information you'll need to provide.

The most important thing is for you to have a clear idea of what you want your student to do and the logistics of how they are going to work within your organisation.

A well-organised placement can help a student develop their professional skills, increase their confidence, and enable them to see your organisation at its best.

But a lack of preparation can create a negative experience for both you and your student, so to ensure the best experience for everyone there are several questions that you need to ask yourself.

Define your objectives

Do you know what you want your student to do? Do you have defined objectives? Clarify what you need your student to do.

The length of time and the frequency with which you engage with your student is up to you. Some organisations may only require a student for a few days or weeks, whilst others may look to engage with a student for a whole semester.

Carefully consider which element of your organisation would best benefit from a student's contribution, and define what it is that you would like them to achieve. Use established objectives to build a time frame around their tasks.

Well defined objectives and time frames are essential in giving students the structure they need to perform their tasks effectively, whether in a project or operational environment.

Working conditions

Do you have an available workspace for your student to work? If the student requires equipment to complete their tasks, is the equipment readily available and in working order?

Logistics matter

What may seem like a simple detail can become a large interruption if not properly prepared. Take the time to review what space or equipment is required for the student to work effectively, and ensure that access is prepared well in advance.

Working space and equipment

Do you have an available workspace for your student to work from? If the student requires equipment to complete their tasks, is the equipment readily available and in working order?

Also, be mindful of the organisation of your workplace and consider the impression you are making on new staff. They may be the future of your organisation.

Policy and procedure

Brief your student on company policies and OHS procedures. You must treat your student in the same way as any other new employee.

Take the time to ensure your student has been thoroughly briefed and understands all occupational health and safety procedures, and any other relevant policies that affect your organisation.

For more information and the Health and Safety in New Zealand's Employment Act please see the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website.

Supervision and assistance

Are you able to provide ample supervision and assistance for your student?

For a student, much of the benefit gained from an industry job is the contact with the other professionals who work there.

From an employer perspective, the key elements of any successful student engagement are induction, clear instructions and access to consulting with management to achieve the best outcomes.

The amount of contact that a student requires will depend upon the task you assign them. Consider the complexity of the task, time frame, and if previous industry knowledge is required.

Appropriate dress and presentation

Have you prepared information on appropriate dress and presentation standards?

Details such as appropriate dress standards need to be addressed to ensure your student is able to match the level of professional presentation established by your organisation.

If you have particular dress requirements in regards to safety equipment or a uniform, make sure they are available to your student.

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