For Candybox Marketing, co-op program key to success

Candybox Marketing Founder and CEO Darrell Keezer

For Mississauga entrepreneur Darrell Keezer, hiring co-op students is simply good for business.

“I think co-op is a great way for business trying out different people, getting them to experiment and try different things,” Keezer told YourMississaugaBiz.com.

The founder and CEO of Mississauga digital firm Candybox Marketing said co-op students help him try out new talent serious about their careers and bring in new people often already familiar social media.

Candybox didn’t always welcome co-op students. But a placement with Sheridan marketing student Mahfuz Chowdhury quickly changed Keezer’s mind. “We now hire two co-op students every term from Sheridan College,” said the marketing alumnus, class of 2005.

For recruiters and business owners, Keezer said having co-op placements allows companies to try out serious, career-driven young people. “They know business acumen a lot better,” he said. “They’re much more job-ready and they’re also more savvy when it comes to who they want to work with.”

While resources are needed to properly go through the process of testing, training and seeing the results of a co-op hire’s work, Keezer said there is also a much lower risk compared to hiring someone on full-time. “I liked the arrangement of having them for four months, basically seeing how they work out,” he said.

Co-op is helping fill in gaps in skill shortages, especially in industries like social media marketing.

Keezer said a lot of “older” companies and corporations don’t understand social media and the value it can bring. A co-op placement with a student could be a company’s opportunity to bridge this gap.

“Young people know this stuff instinctively,” he said. “It’s someone that can actually innovate with you knowing all the tools and tricks in the marketplace out there today.”

“If you’re able to harness the power, thought and tools with their big marketing strategy, that’s a win-win.”

Started in 2008, Candybox Marketing is located in Mississauga on Queen Street South. The digital marketing company employs 10 people in a mix of contract and full-time positions.

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