One of the great things about IT work is that you don't have to finish college to get work, or even to start a company. The value of this for applicants in search of permanent employment after college is that they can have quite the resume when compared to their pre-med friends, who can't exactly go out and perform appendectomies as a summer job.
You can also succeed by hiring people who work part-time, freelance, or as a consultant and achieve impressive things. If they've been seeking out engineering consulting services based on what they've learned so far in college, assess that information when they graduate. Make sure you have a clear description of what they were doing, and that they have good contact information (and good relationships) with the people who worked with them. As noted, IT is a unique field in its ability to let you work before you have official credentials, so employers have a good opportunity to see real-life work from applicants even before the ink dries on their diplomas.
Breadth of Experience
Here's another area where job experience matters. Some applicants have part-time work that runs the length of their time in college, and then they go elsewhere to look for permanent employment. Their durability and reliability is great, but if the focus of that work has been somewhat narrow, it might not be as impressive as they hope.
Working with a lot of different people on a variety of projects in several different companies can instead show them as adaptive and broadly-skilled workers who can be beneficial in many different roles. The more roles you consider them suitable for, the better the chances of something coming open where you can use them.
If they haven't worked for multiple employers, at least find people who do different jobs within that single firm. As a temp service, you need people who are able to mix things up, so consider people who have worked in various roles. The key thing: Watch for people who have learned to do lots of different jobs.
Visibility Of Their Work
The internet has proven to be a very effective means for passively investigating almost anything. This goes both directions in the job search process; applicants can anonymously investigate companies before applying, and hiring officials can find out a lot about applicants without contacting them and giving them false hope.
There are two key components of this for you as an employer as you evaluate the things that you find online from your applicants.
Number one, make sure that they have an online presence, in as many ways as possible. Of course you want to see professional profiles on hiring sites, and there's no inherent problem with being on Facebook or other social media. But you also want to note examples of their work available online. Make sure that they have an online portfolio of some kind and have created
And number two, make sure that the applicant's presence is positive. We're looking back to the early years of email here, and of noting that job applicants should have a professional email address and not something like "sweetiepoo" or "catlover". Facebook posts about hating jobs or having difficulty with other people (or abusing alcohol, or just a bad attitude, you name it) can be warning signs to you that you won't have a good experience with this person.
When you are providing skilled workers, the bar is automatically higher for your firm. It's critical to get good people in your pool of workers to meet these needs. If you follow these suggestions, you're well on your way.