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Cornell University

Hiring Guidelines, Policies, and Timelines

For students: We also expect our students to respond to your job offers according to the expectations that can be found in the Student Rights and Responsibilities for Cornell Students

Whether recruiting our students on campus or at their own locations—our employers are expected to abide by Cornell Career Services' Employer Offer Guidelines and Recruiting Policies. 

Review the Experience Agreement section of our website for information on internship contracts or other experiential learning agreements.

Employer Policies & Offer Guidelines 

Updated June 15, 2023

Cornell Career Services (CCS) is pleased that you are interested in hiring Cornell students. We have developed the following procedures for candidate identification, interviews (first- and second-rounds), employment offers, and other aspects of the recruiting process to which all employers must agree. A shared commitment to these policies and guidelines—by both recruiting partners and the University—creates a foundation for a successful recruiting experience for students and employers alike. We also expect employers to comply with Principles for Ethical Professional Practice established by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). 

We strive to facilitate a fair and ethical recruiting process. Employers that fail to heed these policies or make offers inconsistent with our guidelines may damage to their brand on campus, and/or experience difficulty securing commitments from our students. Please review your organization’s recruiting strategy to align your actions with both the spirit and intent of fairness. 

If you have questions regarding our employer expectations, please contact staff in Cornell Career Services (Erica Kryst, Executive Director, at +1 (607) 255-2723 or; Kimberlee Swartz, Associate Director, at +1 (607) 255-7464 or, or your representative in the appropriate college office

Job-Offer Response Dates and Offer Guidelines: 

On-Campus Recruiting and Job Postings 

As noted in the NACE Advisory Opinion on reasonable job-offer deadlines, “Experience shows the best employment decisions for both students and employers are those that are made without pressure and with the greatest amount of information and transparency. Students given sufficient time to attend career fairs, participate in on-campus interviews, and/or complete the interviewing in which they are currently engaged are more likely to make good long-term employment decisions and may be less likely to renege on job acceptances.” Cornell’s guidelines for job-offer response dates are as follows. 

Full-Time Offers for 2024 Start Dates 

Written Offer Extended  Earliest Response Date 
On or before 8/31/23  10/2/23 
Between 9/1/23 and 11/1/23  11/1/23 or 2 weeks, whichever is later
Between 11/2/23 and 2/1/24  2 weeks 
On or after 2/2/24  1 week 

Offers for Summer 2024 Internships 

Written Offer Extended  Earliest Response Date 
On or before 8/31/23  10/16/23 
Between 9/1/23 and 11/1/23  11/1/23 or 2 weeks, whichever is later 
Between 11/2/23 and 3/1/24  2 weeks 
On or after 3/2/24  1 week 

In some cases, students may ask for extensions beyond these dates; we hope you can accommodate them. Most employers have been very understanding and willing to give students the time they need. We appreciate your cooperation in the past and ask for your flexibility in the future. 

Job-Offer Communications 

We expect employers to maintain clear communication with prospective student candidates regarding recruiting timelines, second or final rounds, offer decisions, and deadlines to respond (in accordance with our policies). 

Once an offer has been made, allow the student the recommended time frame to make a decision without additional, undue pressure. Often what is intended to serve as helpful points of contact—such as outreach to candidates by multiple current employees—adds excessive pressure during a student’s process of considering an offer. 

Employers should communicate clearly to students their offer procedures, including method for students to confirm acceptance (e.g., signing written documentation, confirming an electronic offer, etc.), and whether the employer considers a verbal statement of intent to accept to be a binding job acceptance. (In this case, the employer should inform the student immediately that the statement is considered an acceptance.) Offers should include start dates and basis of compensation. 

Rescinded Offers 

If circumstances force an employer to rescind on offers, the employer must report this to Cornell Career Services staff prior to the actual rescinding with the student. We review rescinded offers on a case-by-case basis, with consequences ranging from delayed registration for on-campus interview dates to reduced campus access for an academic year or longer. 

Campus Engagement 

Cornell Career Services strives to assist employers in developing a recruiting strategy that is equitable, open, and inclusive. Our expectation is that scheduling of all recruiting activity, including events with target groups, will originate with our offices; in other words, the date and time of all recruiting activity at Cornell requires pre-approval from Career Services. Activities include but are not limited to interviews, information sessions, coffee chats, office hours, networking events, competitions, practice interviews, and resume critiques. Employers should consult with the career office coordinating their planned activities for guidance on collaborations planned with student organizations or departments. 

We will make every effort to schedule your activities at a time that will maximize “brand exposure” by avoiding head-to-head conflicts with your competitors and at times that are convenient for students. We will work with you to schedule these events in approved facilities (when they can be on campus) at times that will facilitate your success, primarily during the 4:30-7:30 pm student activity period. 

In support of the University’s educational mission, and in light of the limited time to schedule events due to Cornell’s evening exam and class schedules, Cornell Career Services reserves the right to limit the number of events a given employer holds during any one semester. We strongly encourage firm-wide events that are open to all eligible students. 

Second Round Interviews, Site Visits, and Recruiting Timelines 

In accordance with CCS recruiting policies, students may not cancel first-round interviews to attend second-round interviews. Those who do, face suspension of their on-campus recruiting privileges. We expect our employer partners to adhere to the following policies to enable students to comply with this expectation:

  • Offer students alternate times for second- round interviews to avoid missing class or canceling first-round interviews (which is prohibited). Most professors will not excuse students from class or exams for recruiting-related activities. 

  • Schedule “Super Day” events in accordance with the recruiting calendar. Provide students sufficient time to make academic arrangements. Since students are not allowed to cancel first-round interviews to attend these events and may experience academic consequences if they miss exams or classes, please be flexible with your dates. 
  • Communicate recruiting timelines and procedures to students, including advance notice of when and where second- round interviews will take place (e.g., day of/day after first-round interview, same-day call back, etc.). In all cases, offer students alternative dates, without negative consequence, for a second-round interview if the original date interferes with a student’s first-round, on-campus interview, exam, or other valid conflict. 

Employers should not extend invitations that conflict with this policy. Students should not request that employers offer second-round interviews that conflict with this policy, even if a date is convenient for both parties. To do so is considered a violation of these policies. 

Accelerated Recruiting Timeline 

Early-identification and recruiting processes require students to make a decision on career direction before they have time to gain much exposure to relevant coursework or to explore a variety of employers. This is not in keeping with our stated goal of supporting our students’ developmental needs. We discourage processes that require excessively early commitment and recognize that this practice often leads to students reneging. 

Professional Conduct 

Employers can build a positive brand as an “employer of choice” by handling the entire recruiting process with a high level of professionalism. Employers would be well served to communicate the desired professional behavior to any team member representing the company to students. Recent alumni may need guidance on how best to represent their organization, in formal and informal situations, since they are often interacting with candidates who were recent student peers. It is not acceptable for employer representatives to share information on personal relationships, alcohol consumption, candidacy of other applicants, etc. To facilitate a professional recruiting environment alcohol should not be provided for students during any on- or off- campus company activity involving our undergraduates. 

Recruiting and Other Career Office Contacts 

See the complete list of contacts by office on the Campus Recruiting Offices and Contacts page.