Supporting employers to select students for industry placements

This resource gives comprehensive guidance on how to help employers select the right student for industry placements. It describes the five stages in the selection process. It also contains checklists and templates for working through each stage of the process with employers. 

Who is it for? 

Curriculum leads, IAG advisers and employer engagement staff. 

How to use this resource 

Select the relevant section of the guidance and use the checklists or templates to help you and the employer work together. 



Templates and checklists 


1. Designing the process 

Criteria for the selection process (checklist) 

2. Planning the application process 

Application process (checklist) 

3. Providing information for students 

Employer organisation overview (template) 

Industry placement role description (template) 

Industry placement student specification (template) 

4. Interviewing students 

COVID-safe face-to-face interviews (checklist) 

Hints and tips for online interviews (checklist) 

5. Giving feedback and introducing students to the placement 

The outcome of selection (checklist) 


1. Designing the selection process

Your organisation’s or an employer’s standard process to select applicants for jobs can be adapted to select students for industry placement roles. 

Students will benefit from going through a similar selection process to ones they are likely to encounter when applying for jobs. However, selecting students for industry placements is different in some ways from selecting applicants for jobs. You should work with employers to make sure the selection process is suitable for industry placements. 

Working with employers to design the process 

When employers offer a student an industry placement they invest in the person, as they do when they offer an applicant a job. You should expect employers to take a similar amount of care over the selection of an industry placement student as over selecting someone for employment.  

Selecting a student for an industry placement is a joint responsibility between the employer and yourselves.

You both have a stake in the outcome: 

  • Employers want to be sure that the student they select will fit in, benefit from the experience and contribute to the team. 
  • You want the student to have the best chance of learning technical skills, personal skills and positive attitudes to work which will give them a flying start to their career. 

As the provider, it's part of your role to support employers through the application and interview process to select students. Employers of different sizes and types will be looking for different things from students. Some will want to involve themselves in the detail, others will want a lighter touch.  Some employers may wish to focus on student core skills or on specific industry skills.  They may want to give opportunities to students who have additional needs or particular profiles. 

It is important therefore for you to think through your approach and to have tailored conversations with each employer. However, the process should fulfil the criteria shown in the checklist below. Some criteria may require extra preparation, over and above what an employer would normally be used to.  

What you should do 

  • Agree with the employer that selection is a shared responsibility 
  • Check that the normal selection process fulfils the general criteria listed above 
  • Add any additional criteria needed for industry placements

What the employer should do  

  • Agree the criteria 
  • Agree to make any changes needed to their usual selection process

Use the Criteria for the selection process checklist to help you design your process. 

2. Planning the application process

Advertising the industry placement 

Employers may want to select from more than one applicant, so the industry placement role should be advertised to all eligible students. You may want to consider using the equivalent of job boards and professional networking sites, so students get used to them. A job board could be created on your own website, for example. You could also create a special group for eligible students on a social media platform, if it is secure. 

Students should be encouraged to find out about the employer for themselves before applying for an industry placement. They could start by looking at the employer’s website. Further investigation elsewhere on the internet and social media could be useful, with appropriate guidance on how to assess the reliability of the source.  

Application forms 

Application forms should be used to gather information about applicants in a consistent way. Students get clear guidance on how to apply, including how to apply, when, and what happens once they have applied. 

Employers may have their own application forms, which could be adapted for industry placements.  

What you should do 

  • Decide how to advertise the industry placement to students  
  • Produce application guidance and an application form (if used). 

What the employer should do  

  • Agree how applicants apply, including the application form (if used).

Use the Application process checklist to help you plan. 


Information about the employer organisation 

Students should be given enough information about the employer to help them: 

  • Decide whether to apply for an industry placement with the employer 
  • Prepare for the selection process. 

Potential industry placement students would probably find it useful to know about: 

  • The team or department they would be working in
  • Where the work takes place 
  • Travel arrangements 
  • Dress codes  
  • Other practical details.  

Information about the industry placement role 

Employers may not have tried to define roles for industry placements unless they have offered them before. A role description for industry placements should describe the objectives and responsibilities of the role. It should also show how the role will be aligned to the technical and specialist curriculum and learning goals. 

Information about the kind of person the employer is looking for 

A person specification should also be produced, describing the attributes required for the role. These attributes may include skills, experience, knowledge and other attributes such as flexibility, attention to detail and enthusiasm. The specification should show how the role will be aligned to broader employability skills and behaviours. 

Using information already available 

Employers may already have information about the organisation which tell students what they need to know. They may also have their own templates for role descriptions and person specifications, which could be adapted for industry placements. 

What you should do 

  • Gather information from the employer about the organisation and industry placement role 
  • Produce a role description  
  • Produce a person specification. 

What the employer should do  

  • Provide information about the organisation and industry placement role 
  • Agree the role description and person specification. 

Use the Employer Organisation Overview to help you plan. 



Interviews for industry placements should be taken as seriously as job interviews. They shouldn’t be seen just as ‘a chance to get to know the person’.  

Interviews should be carried out by more than one person: 

  • For safeguarding reasons  
  • To provide more than one perspective on students’ performance.  

People carrying out the interview should be trained and experienced. They should understand the differences between interviewing applicants for a job and for an industry placement role. As the provider, you can offer an appropriately experienced and trained person from your organisation to participate in the interview panel or as an observer.  

It’s good practice to include an interview in the selection process even if only one student is applying for the industry placement on offer. 

It is important to make sure the employer adapts their process to make the interview experience welcoming and accessible for students who may not previously have had workplace interviews. 

Helping students to prepare for interviews 

Students may never have been interviewed for a job or placement before. You should give them the chance to prepare, e.g. by going through sample questions so they can practice how to respond. Carrying out mock interviews in an appropriately formal manner allows students to experience the occasion beforehand. This additional practice will help students build their confidence around the process and possibly support them through similar experiences in future.   

Additional methods 

Some employers use other methods in addition to interviews when assessing applicants for jobs. For example, they may ask applicants to carry out tasks, take psychometric tests, or attend an assessment centre. These methods are unlikely to be necessary for industry placements and may seem disproportionate. However, if an employer wants to use any of these methods you should discuss how to make them suitable for students and help the student to prepare. [Checklist: Selection process] 

What you and the employer should do together 

  • Agree the structure of the interview  
  • Decide who should be involved and what their roles are 
  • Plan the questions (example questions can be found here) 
  • Prepare a scoring card 
  • Carry out the interview in a professional manner. 

What you should do 

  • Prepare students in advance. 

What the employer should do  

  • Prepare the people who are carrying out the interview. 

Use the Covid Safe Face-to-Face Interivew  and Hints and Tips for Online Interviews to help you plan



Getting feedback from the employer is a valuable part of the experience for students applying to an industry placement. Constructive, specific feedback helps them to see where they need to develop their skills so they can approach future job interviews confidently.  

Ideally feedback is two-way, allowing the student to ask questions. This is best done in person, by video or by phone. It can also be done by email although the scope for interaction is limited.  

Feedback has most impact if it is given by one person, usually the person leading the interview. Involving more than one person can confuse or water down the message. Feedback should follow soon after the interview, e.g. within three days. Enough time should be allowed, e.g. 15 minutes. 

Students should have the opportunity to give their own feedback about the selection process.  

Introducing students to the placement 

Clear arrangements should be made for students who have been selected for an industry placement to get to know more about it. This could include visiting the site where the placement is located and meeting their supervisor and mentor (if there is one). Practical details should also be confirmed. 

What you and the employer should do together 

  • Agree who will give the feedback  
  • Decide how students will be introduced to the placement. 

What you should do  

  • Debrief students. 

What the employer should do  

  • Give feedback constructively and professionally 
  • Think about how to integrate the student into the industry placement role.  

Use the Outcome of Selection to help you plan.

Application Process.docx

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