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Cornell University

Students Rights and Responsibilities

As a Cornell student, you are eligible to take part in recruiting arranged by staff in Barnes Hall and college career offices. On-campus recruiting is a privilege that carries with it certain expectations for your conduct. To reinforce appropriate use of the on-campus recruiting program, we have adopted policies so that we can best serve you and the employers visiting campus. See the Student Rights and Responsibilities below for expectations and dates for responding to job offers made by employers.

Are you an employer looking to recruit on-campus at Cornell? See Hiring Guidelines page. 

Why Have Recruiting Policies?

Employers commit time and resources for their recruiting efforts with Cornell students. We need to assure that their experiences at Cornell are positive, so that they will want to continue recruiting here. You should realize that if you misrepresent yourself or otherwise use the system carelessly, you will damage your own reputation, adversely affect other Cornell students, and waste the time of employers.

Your Responsibilities

Before interviewing, you should thoroughly research the organization and the position requirements. While most Cornell students seriously research their interviews, we sometimes hear from employers that some students come to the interview unprepared and unfocused.

It is especially important that if you must cancel any interviews you have scheduled that you give enough advance notice that the slots can be filled by those on the waiting list. Failure to appear for a scheduled interview or giving insufficient cancellation notice are serious breaches of professional ethics, for which there are specific consequences.Reneging on offers; falsifying personal, work experience, or academic information; or approaching employers directly on the day of the interview with an interview request may result in forfeiture of your right to participate in on-campus recruiting. Check with the staff in the office where you are interviewing to learn about acceptable procedures to seek same-day interviews.

Students Rights and Responsibilities 

Updated June 14, 2023

The staff in Cornell Career Services are eager to support you in your career development. As Cornellians, we benefit from established, high-quality relationships with top employers across a wide array of industries. In the recruitment process, you are representing yourself and Cornell University. The rights and responsibilities outlined below reflect Cornell Career Services’ goal of supporting students through this process and ensuring that our employer partners continue to recruit at Cornell. These basic expectations are essential for you to maintain integrity in all aspects of your career development: 

Portray truthfully all personal information, work experience, and academic details. 

Attend all events and interviews scheduled through “campus recruiting” (CR). If extenuating circumstances arise, refer to the policies below for guidance. 

Honor your commitments. Reneging on an employment offer or other opportunities is a breach of ethics. 

Campus Recruiting (CR) Guidelines 

Eligibility for Campus Recruiting

  • To submit resumes through Handshake for campus recruiting activities, a student must: 
  • Be a full-time matriculated student (i.e., earning a Cornell degree). 
  • Be in good standing with all Cornell Career Services units. 
  • Complete the online Campus Recruiting tutorial in Canvas

Studying Away from Campus: 

  • Registered students living outside Ithaca (living elsewhere while studying remotely; or studying abroad, in New York City, or in Washington, DC) may submit resumes to campus recruiting schedules, but we expect you to follow some specific guidelines. If you need modification due to time-zone variation, you must arrange that with the employer. If you are designated a Primary or Alternate candidate, before signing up for an interview slot you must contact the employer to learn whether the employer wants to arrange a virtual interview. 

Exchange Students: 

  • Exchange students or students who are studying at Cornell but will not earn a Cornell degree may not participate in campus recruiting 

Students’ Responsibilities Regarding Handshake 

Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the Handshake system and meeting all deadlines for on- campus recruiting events. Submit your application materials well in advance of deadlines to demonstrate your interest in the position and your time-management skills. Some employers review applications on a rolling basis, meaning there is no explicit deadline and applications will be reviewed as they are received. 

Technical problems with your computer are not considered a valid reason for missing a resume submission deadline. If you encounter technical problems with the Handshake system on the day of an application deadline after Career Services offices have closed: 

  • Continue trying to submit materials until the deadline (usually 11:59 p.m. Eastern time but check the timeline in the interview schedule for specific details). 
  • If still unable to submit, notify the career office hosting the visit of the problem by 9:00 a.m. the day after the application deadline. (See list of contacts at end of document.) After verifying the system problem, the career office will facilitate communication with the employer to resolve problems. 

Committing to Employer/Alumni Events 

Events with Employers & Alumni include Coffee Chats, Panels, Speakers, Dinners and Treks/Site Visits and other events involving employers and alumni as applicable - 

  • Students who register or RSVP for an event involving an employer or alumni speaker/host are expected to attend the event. 
  • Please provide notice 24 hours prior to the event if you can no longer attend the event. Registration can be updated in Handshake. If less than 24-hours prior to the event, please email the career office hosting the event. 
  • Failure to notify Cornell Career Services or the college office hosting the event will result in forfeiture of Handshake access. To restore Handshake Access, students must complete the Student Rights & Responsibilities module in Canvas. 
  • We understand that special circumstances sometimes arise that inhibit your ability to attend an event. In these cases, please email the career center hosting the event to discuss your situation. 

The Interview Process 

Student Rights - Illegal Questions, Bias, Harassment, Alcohol, Etc. 

Interviewers should not ask illegal questions (refer to the Career Development Toolkit for a list of such questions) or demonstrate bias or harassing behavior. In addition, alcohol consumption should not be part of any aspect of the interview or recruiting process involving undergraduates. Please report any concerns you have about an employer’s conduct during the recruiting process to a campus career professional. To the extent possible, Career Services staff will maintain confidentiality. 

Interview Policies 

Students must manage interview activity carefully to avoid conflicts with first- and second-round interviews, exams, etc. Career Services staff make every effort to help students who encounter difficulty with interview sign-ups, however it may not be possible to resolve all scheduling problems since interview spots are limited. 

CCS No-Show Policy: Interviewing 

If you do not appear for an interview or if you cancel without sufficient notice as described here, you are considered a “no-show,” and you will not be allowed to participate further in campus recruiting until you contact a CCS staff member. You will be required to submit a letter of apology to the recruiter. 

A second "no-show" will result in automatic forfeiture of the right to use the Handshake system until you have completed the required tutorials. 

This No-Show Policy pertains to all campus interviews (virtual and in-person) as well as second rounds scheduled by the employer outside of Handshake. 

First-Round Interviews: Cancellations and Consequences 

If you cancel the interview, do so immediately according to the guidelines below so the interview slot will be available for another student. Employers are expected to offer alternate dates for second-round interviews and to work with you to avoid conflicts with your other interviews. Consult a Career Services staff member if an employer does not offer this option and you need assistance dealing with the situation. 

Interview Cancellations

If you elect to cancel an interview after interview sign-ups end (generally 12:00 noon two business days prior to the interview, but check the individual schedule) or you cannot physically attend a scheduled interview (e.g., due to illness or serious injury), you must notify the career office where your interview is scheduled by phone or in person. You will be in violation of the CCS No-Show Policy (see above) until you take action to rectify the situation. 

Notify both the employer and the Career Services office of your inability to attend the interview. (See list of contacts at end of page.) Employers often do not inform Career Services of late cancellations and your interview slot will not be available for another student unless you notify us directly. 

Second-Round Interviews 

You must notify the employer if you are unable to attend a second-round interview. 

Do not cancel a first-round interview with another employer in order to take a second-round interview. If there is a conflict, please contact the employer directly to ask for an alternate date for your second-round interview. 

Employers are directed to offer alternative dates, without negative consequences, for a second-round interview if the date first proposed interferes with a student’s first-round interview on campus, an exam, or other valid conflict. It is your right and responsibility to ask for an alternate date if one is not offered initially. 

Employers are aware that off-campus interviews early during the academic year disrupt students’ participation in first-round interviews and class commitments. Work with the employer when interview dates conflict with academic commitments and first-round interviews.

Offers and Acceptances 

Job Offers and Timelines 

We expect employers to communicate their offer procedures clearly, including how students should confirm acceptance (e.g., signing written documentation, confirming an offer electronically, etc.), and whether the employer considers a verbal statement of intent to be a binding job acceptance. We have established a set of guidelines pertaining to these communications, with the goal of giving students time to give careful consideration to their employment options, to consult with family members and trusted advisors, and to make informed decisions about their employment after Cornell. 

We ask employers to extend offers and require student response in accordance with the dates below. Many employers often request that students accept offers by an earlier date and some employers ignore our suggested timelines. If you know that you will be accepting an offer, it is good form to respond by the requested date (if not before) rather than extending the process all the way to the actual deadline. Always clarify with the employer whether a stated date is a preference or a requirement. 

If you have any questions or concerns about communicating with employers regarding interviews or job offers, seek assistance from a CCS staff member well in advance of any response deadlines. Career Services staff will maintain your confidentiality when possible and may intervene with employers at your request. 

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 

Excessive Pressure/Exploding Offers from Employers 

Employers should not pressure students to accept an offer before the timelines above or make "exploding offers.” Examples of excessive pressure include repeated “sell calls” from team members to assess a student’s status; insisting on a verbal commitment from a student before sending a written offer; or statements such as “If I offer you the position today, will you take it?” Exploding offers are those that require a quick response time or call for a reduction in base salary after a certain date. Please discuss with a career advisor how to handle these situations. 

Start Dates 

Employers know that students typically expect to start work in June, July, August, or September. Employers must give students an accurate start date and must include it in the offer letter. You should be aware that some employers have been known to delay start dates, sometimes significantly. 

Accepting Offers and Closing Your Search 

Once you accept an offer, you must notify other employers that you are not continuing the interviewing process. This is the case for any job offer, even if it is not the result of campus recruiting. 

If you have multiple offers, we expect you to narrow the field to the positions that interest you the most and discontinue the interview process for all other positions as soon as possible. 

If participating in campus recruiting activity, you must immediately remove yourself from the interview process as follows: 

If the application period is still in effect  You must remove yourself from all resume submissions in Handshake. 
If the application period has ended  You will notify both the employer and the Career Services office managing the interview schedule to remove your resume from consideration and will not sign up for an interview, even if accepted for an interview (in error) by the employer. If you do not have contact information for the employer, the Career Services office can provide assistance. 
If you have signed up for any additional interviews  You must remove yourself from the interview schedule through Handshake (if possible, given the date) or by notifying the CCS office managing the interview schedule. 
If other employers have extended offers  You should inform them without delay that you have accepted an offer. 

Reneging on Internship and Job Offers 

When you accept a job or internship offer, but later turn down that offer in favor of another opportunity, this is considered reneging. 

Regardless of what you might hear, reneging on an accepted offer is considered a serious breach of ethics and could irreparably damage your personal reputation and employment opportunities in the future, and damage Cornell’s reputation with that employer. 

Do not accept an offer, even verbally, until you are sure it’s right for you. Employers typically consider a verbal commitment the same as a formal acceptance of the offer, even if contract documents have not yet been processed. 

If you are considering reneging, please speak with an advisor in CCS for assistance and support.

Career Office Contacts 

See the complete list in our Campus Career Network page.