When the world of work suddenly shifted to remote, companies had to act quickly to retain employees and keep motivation strong in uncertain times. Hypotenuse Labs mastered engagement in the virtual world to become a favourite employer to many co-op students.
Founded by two Waterloo co-op alumni, Matthew Reyes (BMath’19) and Anthony Zhang (BMath’19), Hypotenuse Labs builds high impact web, blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) products for other start-ups. The company hires multiple co-op students every term and gives them a unique work term experience where they can develop technical and communication skills in a fast-paced environment.
Through prioritizing positive student co-op experiences, Hypotenuse Labs has developed a hybrid system, hosting events and meetups to create in-person bonds that help strengthen their remote work. Through this dedication to staff and student well-being, Hypotenuse took home the award for Impact on Student Experience at 2021 Co-operative and Experiential Education Employer Impact Awards. This is an especially esteemed honour as it is voted on by the students.
“Waterloo students that we’ve hired are consistently very skilled, very motivated and are very good at what they do,” says Zhang (he/him).
Co-op students crave working at small and medium enterprises (SMEs)
Waterloo co-op students note that working at SMEs increase their exposure to leadership and working on a variety of tasks makes their work term fulfilling.
At the beginning of each work term, Hypotenuse Labs schedules a goal planning and career mapping session where co-op students each meet with one of the co-founders. Throughout the term, they work with the students to track their goal progression. By working directly with the leadership team, co-op students learn more about entrepreneurship, leadership skills, and how to run a business.
“We have a pretty open-door policy in terms of anyone being able to ask anybody else for help,” says Reyes (he/him). “Anyone in the company is just a message away.” Thanks to this policy, students will collaborate with staff and clients to provide innovative and attainable solutions.
What a Waterloo co-op student can do for your business
Co-operative education (co-op) students are uniquely positioned to be an incredible asset to SMEs. The short-term commitment of the four- or eight-month work terms makes them perfect candidates for projects or daily tasks. Their skill range paired with work experiences ensures they can be flexible and handle different tasks, situations and roles.
“One constant draw for us is that Waterloo students always deliver and they bring a lot of street smarts and experiences from other companies. They help us grow as a company because we are always learning from them,” says Reyes.
What a co-op student can bring to your business:
- Technical skills – whether you’re looking for general help or someone to do a specific skill, with over 120 programs at Waterloo, there’s a student that can help with their technical skills and specific training.
- Fresh perspectives – students offer innovative and diverse solutions.
- Ability to learn quickly – co-op students learn new tasks and skills at lightning speed and can apply their learnings just as quickly.
- Digitally skilled – students can help your organization thrive in the digital world from web design to digital marketing and e-commerce.
The Waterloo Advantage
With over 25,000 co-op students available each year, Waterloo is the largest co-operative education program in the world. Rated #1 in experiential learning by Maclean’s Magazine and the most innovative Canadian university for 29 years, Waterloo provides outstanding support and guidance when hiring a co-op student.
The Waterloo co-op team includes dedicated service members to help employers through the entire recruitment process, from recruitment strategies to funding to help subsidize hires. “We want to ensure our employers have every advantage. That’s why we’ve created Co-op Fundamentals: a series of virtual info sessions which cover the key aspects to hiring a co-op student,” Emily Burgess, Business Developer and Industry Strategist at University of Waterloo said. The sessions center around general hiring information, funding opportunities and writing an engaging job description to attract the targeted set of candidates.At Waterloo we do talent differently, and so can you. Ready to start hiring? Contact Emily Burgess today!