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The Co-op Process & Experience

The D’Amore-McKim Co-op Team closely partners with employers to develop engaging and meaningful co-op opportunities for our talented and motivated students. For four to six months at a time, co-op students become fully immersed team members who work as full-time employees. Supervisors partner with their co-op students to develop learning objectives and goals at the beginning of their co-op, coach and mentor them throughout the co-op experience, and then review the student’s performance in an online performance appraisal and during a one-on-one meeting at the end of their co-op experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Northeastern’s Spring 2021 semester begins on January 19, 2020. We encourage employers to post positions during the first two weeks of January so students can begin to review them as they acclimate to their Spring courses; however, employers are welcome to post job descriptions throughout the Fall 2021 recruitment cycle and there is no deadline to post a co-op position. Co-op Coordinators meet with students in January and February to review previous experiences and set goals for the upcoming co-op search, and continue to guide and support students through their co-op searches and career exploration.

The University recommends that employers begin to access resumes and contact students for interviews starting February 22. You do, however, have access to review resumes in real time and can schedule interviews at your convenience. We strongly recommend that you include your target recruitment dates in your job postings on NUworks as this helps students structure and manage their searches. Your Co-op Coordinator can work with you to identify a target interview date.

The co-op interview and offer process is fast-paced. We encourage employers to limit interview rounds to two (maximum) and to follow up with students within a week of the interview, optimally sooner, if you would like to make an offer.

Northeastern utilizes NUworks, powered by Symplicity. You can post open co-op opportunities and review applicants’ resumes through our NUworks portal. If it is your first time logging in, or if you need to reset your password, you can click “Forgot Password” to reset your account. Your email address will serve as your Username.

If you need to create an account, or if you would like a refresher on utilizing NUworks, please review our NUworks Co-op Employer Quick-start Guide.

A compelling and inclusive job description will help you to attract a diverse pool of students and drive applications to your role. The D’Amore-McKim Co-op team is committed to acknowledging and embracing the unique identities of each member in our community, and we are committed to supporting our employer partners in their pursuit of a more equitable society. If you have any questions or would like feedback on your job description, your Co-op Coordinator will be happy to work with you!

Additional resources to support diversity, equity, and inclusion in your recruitment practices can be found on our Employer Engagement Diversity Recruiting Support page.

A few of our quick tips include:

  • Avoid “gender-coded” words
  • Avoid unnecessary “corporate speak” or industry jargon, which can be a barrier to young talent
  • Be specific with your co-op job title (e.g. rather than “Marketing Intern,” use “Social Media Marketing Co-op”).
  • Share information about your organization such as a link to your company website or relevant press. Showcase the organization’s values wherever possible.
  • Does your company have a Diversity and Inclusion Group or Employee Resource Groups? Be sure to mention them when describing your organization.
  • List the day-to-day tasks that the co-op student will work on. You may want to share information about projects that past co-ops have completed or what you anticipate the new co-op will take on.
  • Clearly outline the required skills and experience needed for the job. Be as specific as possible (e.g. Instead of “Excel Skills,” list “vLookups required, macros a plus”). Also, share any qualities that you feel a great co-op would possess (e.g. “comfortable communicating on the phone” or “enjoys analyzing data to find solutions to problems”).
  • When considering skills, also demonstrate the learning opportunities and overall impact the student can make in the role.
  • While you may require a cover letter as part of your process, many employers have found it more effective to request a writing sample instead. Some students may be deterred from applying to jobs with lengthy application requirements.
  • If you have a company-specific job link that the student must complete in addition to applying in NUworks, please include it at the top of the job description with clear instructions.
  • We recommend including an application deadline in your job description to help students plan and navigate the search process. Providing an application deadline will also guide students to apply within your desired timeframe.
  • You are encouraged to include the hourly pay rate in your job posting.

Due to COVID-19, many employers are working remotely. If you anticipate that co-op students at your company will be working remotely, or have the option to do so, we encourage you to include that information in the job description. Below is sample text to consider.

  • This position has the capability to be fully remote. If the X Company offices reopen, the selected student would have the option to come into the X location (s) office, but this would not be required.
  • This position will commence in a remote capacity. Currently, X Company is planning to re-open their offices in X location on X date. This is subject to regular re-evaluation and may change as we approach that date.

If you are looking for guidance in setting the pay rate for your role, please contact your Co-op Coordinator. Please note that we require that students are compensated. Students do not receive academic credit for co-op.

You should directly schedule interviews with students. You may reach out to students via phone or email to coordinate these meetings. Please be conscious of students’ academic responsibilities, and whenever possible, offer multiple timeframes.

We discourage students from missing class for co-op interviews. As a co-op employer, you play an important role as an educator in the student’s university experience, and we appreciate your cooperation in supporting our students’ learning.

When scheduling interviews, you may find it helpful to use free online tools such as Doodle and Setmore. Many of our employers have used these resources to streamline the interview process.
We know that many employers are working remotely due to COVID-19 and will be interviewing co-ops virtually. We encourage you to review this list of remote interviewing resources that many of our employer partners have successfully used to conduct video interviews with candidates. You are encouraged to interview students virtually. However, if you do plan to host interviews on-site at your office, please coordinate with your Co-op Coordinator.

When you have identified a candidate to whom you would like to make an offer, you should directly contact the student to extend your offer. When making the offer, you should share the compensation rate, work start date, any training dates, and any contingencies including background checks or pre-employment screens with the student. You do not need to have a formal offer letter ready at the time of your verbal or written offer; however, following the verbal/emailed offer you should send a formal offer letter on company letterhead.

Please also contact the Co-op Coordinator that works with your company to update them on the offer process. The University recommends giving students two business days to make a decision on your offer. You can decide whether you would like to provide more time.

Yes, you will be asked to complete a short assessment of your co-op student(s) near the end of the co-op term. You are encouraged to review this assessment with the student before submission. While there are no formal assessments to be completed while the co-op is underway, we suggest holding regular meetings with your co-op student throughout the work term to provide feedback and discuss opportunities for growth. An informal, mid-point evaluation is suggested.

Official co-op work dates for the Fall 2021 term:

  • Six-month co-op: July 5 through December 17, 2021
  • Four-month co-op: September 6 through December 17, 2021

Some employers may adjust these dates slightly based on their work needs and holiday schedules.

Fall Co-op cycle infographic. January-March: identify your co-op hiring needs and submit a job description to NUworks. March-June: Review resumes and interview and hire candidates. July-December: Onboard, review learning objectives, train and mentor and evaluate co-ops and provide feedback.

Please review the Employer Engagement and Career Design Handbook, which defines the university-employer relationship and employer expectations; note, in particular, that Northeastern students must be hired as employees, not independent contractors of your organization.

Our partners at the Northeastern University Employer Engagement and Career Design group will be happy to help!

Co-op Employer Handbook

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Employer Tips for Working Remotely with Students

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NUworks Co-op Employer Quick-start Guide

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