Carnegie Mellon University

Information for Supervisors

With over 4,000 student hourly positions at CMU, on-campus student employment includes a wide variety of part-time job opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students. 

On this page:

Best Practices for Hiring Student Workers

Hiring a student worker can be a positive experience for both yourself and the student. In order to optimize this opportunity, follow these steps for recruiting and hiring best practices.

  1. Write a thorough Job Description. Clearly describe the key responsibilities of the position so that students understand what the job entails. List any requirements such as work schedule or technical skills. If not essential to the job, qualifications can be listed as preferred.
  2. Post the position on Handshake. By posting on our on-campus recruiting system, you will maximize the visibility of your opportunity and make it accessible to all qualified students to apply.
  3. Review applicants and schedule qualified candidates to interview. You have no obligation to interview every student who applies but you will want to review all applications and choose the most qualified to interview. Use a set of standard questions so you are able to compare candidate qualifications. Remember this may be a student's first formal job interview, so you can help them relax by starting with open-ended questions such as "Tell me about what interests you about this position."
  4. Provide an offer letter to selected candidate. Documenting your offer in an official offer letter is important both to ensure understanding of the terms and also for Unviersity records of employment.
  5. Hire student worker into Workday. Once the student accepts your offer of employment, you will initiate the onboarding process in Workday, CMU's Human Resources system. You will find detailed information on OHR's Student Worker Services employment website. Additionally, please coordinate with your student transaction Initiator to hire a student in Workday.
  6. Follow up with and thank all candidates who were not selected. Even if a student is not chosen for a position they applied for, they appreciate hearing back that the position has been filled. Sending automated response emails to all candidates is easy within the Handshake system using the Applicant Status Messaging feature.

Recruiting for On-Campus Student Positions

Set Up a Handshake Employer Account

To post student jobs on Handshake, you first must have an on-campus employer account associated with CMU On-Campus Student Employment. 

Please note, an employer account is different than a courtesy student-view account in Handshake. If you have both a student and an employer account, you can toggle between your two accounts using the “Switch users” feature found by clicking the profile icon in the upper right corner of your account. 

To set up an employer account, please email with your name, job title, department/division, and purpose for getting a Handshake account. You will be sent instructions on how to set up your Handshake employer account. Once your employer account is activated, you can begin to post the on-campus opportunities you have available for students.

For more details on posting a job, click here. To add an application form or other document to your job posting, click here for instructions.

Create a New Job Posting in Handshake

Once you have an employer account and have written a thorough job description, you are ready to post your on-campus student position. On home screen, select Post a Job button. When creating a new posting in Handshake, pay special attention to these fields:

  • Job Type - should always be “On Campus Student Employment" (not job or internship). This allows students to easily find your posting when using the on-campus job filter.
  • Duration of student jobs - choose "Part-time" (except possibly in summer) and "Temporary/Seasonal." 
  • Start Date/End Date - must be within one academic year employment calendar. Student workers can be rehired in subsequent employment periods.
  • Expected Pay - enter the hourly rate using the Exact Amount tab to the right of the Range tab. For more information about job profiles and pay ranges, see the Compensation section in Human Resources Service Center.
  • Required Documents - select Resume, and perhaps also a cover letter, employment application and/or other documents.
  • Applicant Package Recipients - specify contact name/email(s) to receive applicant notifications.

Re-Post an On-Campus Student Job in Handshake

If you would like to attract new applicants for a job you have previously posted in Handshake, simply create a new job posting by duplicating the posting as follows:  

  1. Locate and select your prior posting from the job list in Handshake (select from the All or Closed tab if your posting is not currently active). Select the job by clicking on it.
  2. At the top of the posting in the circle with three dots, select More Actions. If the job is currently Active, first Close this job. To duplicate it, choose Duplicate Job. You've now created a copy of the original job posting with all the same information, but with no applicants. 
  3. Review and edit to update the posting before you publish it.
    • Estimated Start Date & End Date: Put in the new dates for the employment period.
    • Application Open Date & Close Date: Review the default dates that your job is set to open/close, and update the dates to reflect the new application period. 
    • Applicant package Recipients: If necessary, update who will receive the application packages.
    • Schools: You will need to re-select Carnegie Mellon University as the school.

Federal Work-Study

During the academic year Carnegie Mellon participates in the Federal Work-Study program, a federal financial aid program offered to students who demonstrate financial need and meet the program requirements.

Students who accept their offer of FWS are not guaranteed a job but are encouraged to secure on-campus employment to help them pay for CMU education expenses. Their Work-Study award will be used to subsidize the department expense for any job that they have on campus. Work-Study students are paid by the hour on a bi-weekly basis.

The Federal Work-Study program offers employers a cost-savings benefit, and at the same time students with a Work-Study award may have an advantage when applying for certain jobs. Details about funding and reimbursements to departments when hiring a work-study eligible student can be found on the Student Financial Services website

Supervising & Coaching Student Workers

One of the most effective strategies you can use as a supervisor is thoroughly training and orienting your student workers. Conducting a comprehensive department orientation and setting expectations from the start will open channels of communication and build a foundation of knowledge that can contribute significantly to a positive student employment experience. 

A special part of our on-campus student employment program is CMU-GROW (Guided Reflection on Work) . In line with CMU's Core Competencies Initiative, CMU-GROW provides a coaching model to aid supervisors in supporting the development goals of their student workers.  Ongoing job training and hands-on coaching will help students develop career-ready competencies that employers value. By participating in CMU-GROW you are able to create more meaningful and impactful work experiences for students by helping them  make connections between their on-campus job and what they're learning in the classroom.  CMU-GROW Supervisor training is available on request.

Student workers are hired and paid through Workday, Carnegie Mellon’s human resource system. For information about supporting student workers, see the Office of Human Resources Supporting Student Workers webpage. If you have any questions about tasks involving Workday, you can find answers on the Supporting Student Workers section of the HR Workday Toolkit page.

Policies & Guidelines

Please refer to Carnegie Mellon’s official University Policies page for a complete list of university policies. For your reference, here are a few important policies related to student employment:

Supervisors sometimes have questions or concerns about student employment that are not directly covered in our official University Policies. To provide some guidance, here are guidelines that address frequent questions. If you have a specific situation that you are unsure how to handle, please do not hesitate to contact AnneMarie DeGeorge in the CPDC or your Human Resources representative.

Member of the University community, including student workers, may have access to confidential, proprietary or private information of various types, including student records, employee records, University business information, personally identifiable information, intellectual property and other information subject to contractual or legal obligations of confidentialiry. All members of the University community must follow all applicable legal, contractual and policy restrictions on the use, disclosure and safeguarding of such information.  Refer to the university's Code of Business Ethics and Conduct for more information.

Each department should have its own guidelines on student work requirements and expectations. These should be consistent and both students and staff responsible for supervising students hould be aware of them.

If a student's work performance is not satisfactory, or if the student has violated university policy, it is the supervisor's responsibility to take corrective action. Some situations may prompt a supervisor to take disciplinary action up to and including involuntary separation of employment.

Please contact your Human Resources Business Partner for further guidance.

Meal periods and breaks should be coordinated by the student’s supervisor. A student employee who is expected to work a full day (7.5 continuous hours) should be permitted an unpaid meal period of at least one half-hour, but not more than one hour. Scheduled breaks are optional at Carnegie Mellon and are determined by each department. Student employees working more than four consecutive hours should be allowed comparable rest periods where they are established for support staff in a departmental work unit. The supervisor should inform all employees of the break policy in their area. If scheduled, breaks are limited to 15 minutes per day and are paid.

For students employed in the state of California, the university offers meals and rest periods in accordance with California law and encourages employees to take them. Refer to the Carnegie Mellon University in California Staff Handbook, Section 7, Hours of Work, Item 7C, Meal Periods and Breaks for more information.

If you sustain a work-related injury or illness through the course of employment at Carnegie Mellon, the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act provides you with medical benefits and payment for lost wages. Your follow-up care must be obtained by approved physicians/facilities to be eligible for Workers' Compensation benefits. Find detailed information from the Office of Human Resources on what to do if you sustain a work-related injury or illness through the course of employment at Carnegie Mellon.

Review the Providing Employment Verification and Job References: Guidance for CMU Employees [pdf] for best practices and legal considerations regarding employment references and letters of recommendation for student workers.

You are welcome to rehire a student worker in the following academic year, but there is no obligation to do so. Student appointments are not continuing appointments; they are hired on a temporary basis for either an academic year or summer work period.

A student employee is defined as, “an individual whose employment at the university is incidental to the pursuit of obtaining a degree.” Any student who is enrolled at least half-time (18 units) in a degree-granting program at Carnegie Mellon can participate in the campus employment program. To qualify to work during the summer session, the student must be admitted to, or continuing in, a degree-granting program at Carnegie Mellon the following semester.

Faculty or staff who transport students in their personal vehicle during work hours are covered under the University’s liability insurance if they are traveling on university business.

Although students may work a total of 37.5 hours per week, most student employees at CMU work an average of 6-12 hours per week. International students with certain visa types are permitted by immigration regulations to work on campus up to 20 hours per week when school is in session and up to 37.5 hours per week during summer and winter vacations. For more information about on-campus employment regulations for international students, please contact CMU’s Office of International Education.

Due to liability issues and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), students are not eligible to volunteer in a position that normally receives monetary compensation or academic credit. This includes those students not eligible for a Work-Study award and students who have reached their award limit. For more information on this and other policies, please refer to the student handbook, The Word.

Student Employment Forms