Hire a Student Worker
Hiring a student worker or research assistant makes you not only faculty/staff at Mason but also an employer! Below you will find resources customized for your needs.
Post and Market Your Position in Handshake
Handshake is the job and internship database for Mason students and alumni, and it is the first place Mason students go to find on-campus opportunities.
To create your account:
- Sign up as an employer with Handshake
- Complete your profile
- Requests are reviewed within 48 business hours.
Please note: If you have registered for connection to a currently existing George Mason account, your registration must be approved by the account owner in your office or division, and not Career Services.
- Log into Handshake
- Select 'Post a Job' from your home dashboard
- Complete the following 4 steps: Job Basics, Job Details, Job Preferences, and Schools (required fields are identified with an asterisk)
- Make sure to select the appropriate Position Type, such as On-Campus Job or Graduate Assistant (For Federal Work-Study jobs, please see the Federal Work-Study section on this page.
- Create and review the job posting
Tip! Job Descriptions and Learning Outcomes
For many students, an on-campus job may be their first "real" job. A well-written job description and learning outcomes can make the application and interviewing process easier for you and the student.
Using Federal Work-Study to Hire a Student
Federal Work-Study is a federally subsidized program that provides part-time employment opportunities to eligible students. If on-campus employers create a Federal Work-Study position in their office, federal funds will pay for 75% of the student's wage, and the department will pay the remaining 25%.
Connect with your department’s fiscal coordinator or liaison and ask if there are currently unused Federal Work-Study funds available. If no funds are already available within your department, the faculty or staff member should contact Mason's Federal Work-Study Coordinator with the number of students they wish to hire, the desired pay rate, and the total amount of money they are requesting.
Once the department is approved to hire Federal Work-Study students, the faculty or staff member can begin the process of hiring a student. Follow the directions listed for 'Post and Market a Position in Handshake'.
Please NOTE: Students that are not eligible for work-study at Mason will not be able to view or apply to Federal Work-Study postings.
Questions about Federal Work-Study?
Contact Lady Ramirez (703-993-2349), Federal Work-Study Coordinator in the Office of Student Financial Aid.
The Hiring and Onboarding Process
Before the Interview
- Develop interview questions related to priorities you identified for the position and ensure your questions are within EEO guidelines: Navigating the Interview Process and Avoiding a Legal Landmine
- Consider creating an interview rubric to assist you and other staff members participating in the interview in evaluating all candidates objectively.
- Create a structure for your interview and make sure all staff members participating in the interview are familiar with that structure.
During the Interview
- Provide the candidate with a brief overview of what they can expect during the interview.
- Ask all of your candidates the same questions, and be consistent about how you ask the questions.
- Take notes during the interview to help you compare applicants once the interview is over.
- Rate the candidate's performance in the areas you identified as priorities.
After the Interview
- Once you have identified a student you would like to hire, provide them with information about the desired start date and confirm the salary for the position.
- Provide the candidate with a reasonable amount of time to accept the position.
- Follow up with candidates you did not select to let them know about the status of their application.
Student employees play an important role in our campus operations so it is essential that new employees have the training necessary to be effective. By following an onboarding procedure such as the one below, student employees will be able to transition into their new role successfully.
Before the First Day
Remind your student employees that they need to present original documents that establish identity and eligibility to work in the US when completing their hiring paperwork. This is a Federal requirement that has very specific time requirements, which affect the students' ability to start working and be paid. A full list of acceptable documents may be found at USCIS Form I-9 Acceptable Documents. Direct questions about I-9 documents to HR & Payroll (703-993-2600).
- Create a welcome email for your new student worker that covers dress code, required paperwork, and schedule for their first day.
- Notify your office of the start date of your new student worker so they can help them feel welcomed.
- Compile supplies and orientation materials.
- Review the major responsibilities of the position, how they will be evaluated, office policies, and expectations for conduct.
- Review your department's mission and how their role supports the mission.
- Introduce them to members of your office, provide a brief overview of your organizational chart, give an office tour, and discuss the office's emergency procedures.
- Discuss any relevant office events, celebrations, or traditions.
- Encourage your student to meet with or shadow staff members to learn more about how the office operates.
- Collect any relevant personal information from your student to assist with recognition (e.g. cell phone number, birthday, picture, preferred way to be recognized, favorite type of candy, favorite color, etc.).
- Encourage your student to set goals for their position.
- Discuss and encourage professional development opportunities offered within your office or University Life (e.g. Patriot Experience modules, leadership conferences, University Career Services workshops, Safe Zone Training, etc.).
- Meet to review expectations and check in on their experience.
Employment at Mason provides students with the opportunity to experience a professional work environment while developing transferable skills that employers value. To help students make the connection between the work they are doing in your office and their future careers, it is important that you set clear guidelines about what you expect from them and how they will be evaluated.
- Create a code of conduct and ask all student employees to sign it before starting their position.
- Meet at least once a semester to develop and discuss goals.
- Meet at least once a year to discuss their performance in the position and the skills they are developing.