Community Standards for Recruiting

Only current Princeton University undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to participate in the Center for Career Development's recruiting program. We have created community standards to help you navigate decisions or challenges that may arise during the recruiting process in a professional manner.

All Princeton students who participate in our recruiting program are expected to follow these standards as they are designed with your best interests in mind. Remember, too, that the Center for Career Development staff members are here to answer any questions you have, provide support or advocate on your behalf with employers.

We ask that you consider your fellow classmates and students with respect to all of your interactions with employers. While you may decide you are no longer interested in an opportunity, you must still follow professional etiquette in cancelling or rescheduling all interviews and appointments to ensure ongoing, positive relationships with employers.

By participating in the recruiting program, you agree to abide by the following recruiting guidelines and policies set forth by the Center for Career Development. Please also indicate you understand the standards here.

Cancelling an interview

On a rare occasion, you may have to cancel your interview commitment. You may cancel 24 hours prior to the interview (or by noon EST Friday if your interview is scheduled on following Monday) through Handshake. This will allow the employer enough time to select an alternate candidate to interview in your place.

To cancel, you must do the following:

  1. Contact the Center for Career Development a minimum of 24 hours prior so that we will try and make alternative arrangements, if possible.
  2. Write an apology email to the employer also copying the Center for Career Development.

To ensure strong relationship with employers and ongoing opportunities for our students, we strongly discourage multiple cancellations of interviews. Please note the policy below:

No-show for an interview

If you no show-up for an interview and have not cancelled in advance (see above cancellation policy) the following applies:

Students studying abroad

You can continue to access Handshake and apply for positions while studying abroad. Many employers accommodate students studying abroad by conducting interviews remotely over the phone or via video. Please note that the cancellation and no-show guidelines and our recruiting policies still applies to students studying abroad.

To avoid any consequences for violating these policies, it is best to communicate in advance with the employer. When applying for a position, in your cover letter explain your study-abroad status to the employer and alert the Center for Career Development.

Leave of absence

Students taking a leave of absence may continue to use Handshake and are eligible to participate in the recruiting program. However, if you sign up for an interview, when applying for positions, you should disclose to the employer in your cover letter that you are on a leave of absence. If you are not available to interview on campus, you may request special consideration such as a Skype interview.

However, please note that these special requests are solely at the employer’s discretion. In addition, for all on-campus interviews you apply for please send an email to our employer engagement manager at recruit@princeton.edu to note you have applied to a position while on leave of absence.

Misrepresentation

Misrepresentation (e.g., dishonesty about the information provided in your application materials, another person applying for positions on your behalf, giving your Handshake access to someone else, etc.) is unethical and unacceptable. Any misrepresentation will result in permanent suspension of your Handshake account and ineligibility for the on-campus recruiting program.

Evaluating job or internship offers

Evaluating a job offer involves careful thought and consideration. We require employers to provide students a reasonable amount of time to make this important decision. If you have received an offer based on interactions with employers through the Center for Career Development, the employer has been asked to abide by the offer policy section on this page, including the timeframe for how long students should have to accept or decline an offer.

Please familiarize yourself with our offer policy and review our step-by-step guide to evaluating job offers. If you feel you need more time to decide, you may ask for an extension. Should you have any questions or concerns about a job or internship offer you received, please contact the Center for Career Development.

"Exploding offers" for jobs and internships

The Center for Career Development discourages employers from issuing "exploding offers," which place an undue pressure on a student to inducing an acceptance of the offer earlier than the time frame indicated in the offer policy. An "exploding offer" may include an employer:

  • making multiple calls within a short amount of time
  • establishing more favorable options like choosing specific departments or assignments if you accept early
  • offering special early acceptance bonuses
  • If you encounter this type of situation, please contact the Center for Career Development for assistance.
Reneging on an offer

Employers spend significant resources and effort to select candidates and issue job offers. When you accept an offer, you are making a professional commitment to the employer. It is unethical and unacceptable to renege on an offer. Reneging on an offer may have serious consequences, such as:

  • compromising your professional reputation and future opportunities
  • damaging the relationship between the employer and Princeton University
  • limiting future opportunities for fellow students
  • suspension of your access to the Handshake system and the on-campus recruiting program

When accepting an offer, you are expected to withdraw from interviews that have already been scheduled and to stop looking for jobs or internships. If you are unsure about whether to accept an offer or are feeling pressured by an employer for quick decision-making, please contact the Center for Career Development for assistance.

The penalties for reneging on an offer are substantial. A student who reneges on an accepted offer is required to meet with the the Center for Career Development.

The student must also email the company, copying the Center for Career Development, to apologize and explain the reasons for their actions.

Reneging on an offer may also result in a loss of Center for Career Development privileges including access to the Handshake on-campus recruiting and job posting system as follows:

  • First years, sophomores, and juniors who accept an internship offer and then renege on their acceptance may lose access to the Handshake system, including on-campus interviews and postings for the remainder of their time at Princeton.
  • Seniors who accept a full-time job offer and then renege on their acceptance may lose access to the Handshake system including on-campus recruiting and postings; and future support when they are alumni.
Special considerations for international students

International students who are interested in working in the United States will need work authorization and are strongly encouraged to attend one of the Optional Practical Training (OPT) seminars offered by the Davis International Center covering immigration status and work authorization.

Work authorization in the United States has to be obtained prior to the start date of your internship or full-time job. Not only is failure to obtain work authorization unlawful, it can have other serious consequences, such as:

  • compromising your professional reputation and future opportunities
  • damaging the relationship between the employer and Princeton University
  • limiting future opportunities for fellow students
  • suspension of your access to the Handshake system and the on-campus recruiting program
Second-Round Interview Policy

Our second round interview policy is intended to give students the opportunity to be able to attend all scheduled first-round interviews with employers of their choice. Students should not be asked to cancel a first-round interview in order to attend a second-round interview. Employers should make every effort to accommodate candidates’ class and interview schedules.

Employers who violate the Second-Round Interview Policy will be subject to penalties, which may include being unable to schedule interviews during the first two weeks of the next recruiting season in which they participate.

To ensure that students have the opportunity to participate in all first-round interviews they have signed up for, we have policy guidelines in place for scheduling off-campus second-round interviews.

Fall 2019 full-time positions

Second-round interviews cannot be offered outside the Princeton area between Sept. 24-28 (the first week of fall interviews). After Sept. 30, employers MUST give students advance notice of at least five business days to leave the Princeton area.

Spring 2020 full-time positions and internships

Second-round interviews cannot be offered outside the Princeton area between Feb. 3-9 (the first week of spring interviews). After Feb. 11, employers MUST give students advance notice of at least five business days to leave the Princeton area.

Offer Policy

We encourage all employers to provide a reasonable time frame for students to consider all full-time and internship offers. We have outlined our offer deadline policies below. Please note that the Center for Career Development explicitly prohibits any practice that improperly influences or pressures students to accept offers earlier than the time frames posted below. This includes exploding offers to induce early acceptance via bonuses, frequent phone calls to students, the ability to choose a particular department and assignment.

All employers participating in the Campus Recruiting Program, including postings, on-campus interviews, employer information sessions, career fairs, coffee chats and other visibility events and programs coordinated in conjunction with the Center for Career Development, will be expected to follow the offer policy. Employers who violate the offer policy will be subject to penalties that may include forfeiture of the use of Center for Career Development programs, including on-campus interviewing, participation in employer information sessions and other visibility programs and events, for the following academic year.

If you are concerned about possible violations or have any questions, please contact the Center for Career Development.

  • Offers presented during the summer and the fall semester: Students have until Nov. 7, 2019 or three weeks after offer presented (whichever is later) to make a decision. 
  • Offers presented during the spring semester: Students have until March 4, 2020 or two weeks after offer presented (whichever is later).
  • Offers for internships in summer 2020 presented based on interviews during spring/summer 2019 (not return offers based on internships during summer 2019): September 30, 2019. However, we request employers be flexible and accommodate student requests for additional time.
  • Please note that offer timelines may range from three to five days for many of the Princeton-specific internship programs so we encourage you to refer any program-specific questions to the program administrator.

If you have any questions about the guidelines and policies above, please contact the Center for Career Development.