The Case for Hiring Summer Employees

By Adam Robinson,
June 12, 2013

Parents hate it, children hate it, but in the end – everyone benefits. Hiring teenagers for summer positions pays off for everyone involved…

When I was fifteen, I wanted to get a job. Maybe I was the in the minority, but my parents never had to “make me” find a job. I found an opening for a cashier position at a local hardware store, applied and after interviewing and completing a skills test, was hired. I had intended for it to just be a summer job, but that summer quickly turned into four years. 

So why should you take a chance and hire a teenager? Because they’re eager. 

Because this was my first job, I didn’t expect any more than minimum wage. So while my co-workers were making around $10.00/hour, my hourly wage was $7.50. Although it would take almost a full day’s work to afford a new pair of jeans, I didn’t care. Having a job and being exposed to the “real world” more than made up for it. 

Since I was so eager, my manager knew he could assign any project to me and I would be more than happy to do it. But he didn’t – he recognized the value teenagers could bring to the store and didn’t want to drive them away. 

I know, I know – you’re probably rolling your eyes and wondering “what value?”. Teenagers don’t care about anyone besides themselves and all they want to do is hang out with their friends. Well, that’s correct – but there’s more to them.

Whether they’re driven by the money or the position itself, teenagers will tackle any project. From filling propane tanks to loading mulch into customer’s cars, I was happy to do anything asked of me. Standing just over 5’0”, loading mulch often resulted in some sort of interpretative dance/acrobatic act to get the bags in the car. But this ridiculous site often resulted in conversation. And at a hardware store known for their customer service, this was encouraged. Moreover, it was a relationship building block. Anytime I would see such customers in the store again, we would greet each other on a (usually) first-name basis. 

This may not seem important, but when you think about the role social media plays in business today, it’s what set us apart from big-box hardware stores. Take Yelp! for example. With a four-star rating, many of the comments mentioned specific employees. That’s huge when your employees, many of whom are under 20, are driving customers to post positive messages about your business on social media. 

I know this is just one example, we’ve regularly hear stories about hiring mangers taking a risk and hiring teenagers. So give them a chance this summer – you never know, they just may help bring in more customers.

Download this guide for information on how you can best utilize these 11 hiring tools.


About the Author

Adam co-founded Hireology with the mission to help growing companies make better hiring decisions through data and better technology. Adam is passionate about entrepreneurship, donating time to a number of organizations that support the entrepreneurial cause. Adam completed his undergraduate study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and received his MBA from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and learn how to build your best team.