Policies & Expectations

Offer Dates and Guidelines

These are guidelines for Northwestern University and are effective for companies that recruit on and off campus. If you have questions or concerns about an employer’s adherence to these policies, please do not hesitate to contact Northwestern Career Advancement.   

Offer Guidelines

NCA expects students will pursue opportunities of genuine interest, and thoughtfully and carefully evaluate all extended job offers. To give students adequate time in their decision making, we request that organizations use the following offer guidelines:

  • For return offers (full time employment or internships) extended to current summer interns, offers should remain open until November 5
  • For all other formal offers of employment (intern or full time), offers should be open for a period of three weeks.

Occasionally, an employer’s hiring timeline may fall outside of these preferred windows, and/or a student may ask for an extension or exception to these dates.

We expect employers will:

  • Demonstrate flexibility in working with students to consider reasonable requests
  • Communicate hiring timelines clearly and acknowledge if they fall outside NCA’s preferred offer policy guidelines
  • Not place undue pressure on students to make offer decisions

We expect students will:

  • Not accept an offer for employment while continuing to pursue other opportunities
  • Make requests for reasonable accommodations in a timely manner
  • Work under advisement of NCA and make NCA staff aware of any instances in which our stated offer dates cannot be met

Once you accept a job offer, whether via On-Campus Recruiting or in an independent job search, it is the expectation that students will decline other interview invitations and stop applying for other opportunities.  Reneging on an offer is unprofessional behavior that negatively impacts your reputation and that of Northwestern University, our alumni, and current students.  NCA reserves the right to rescind access to its services (as deemed appropriate) should a student renege on an accepted job offer. 

On-Campus Interviews:

Organizations put considerable time and effort into candidate selections for interviews. Students who are extended an invitation to interview should only sign up when they have a sincere and genuine interest in the opportunity. Holding a timeslot for a position you do not plan to pursue is unfair to the employer and to other students who have applied to the role.

Changes/cancellations to an active schedule

Students who have scheduled an on-campus interview may make modifications to their interview, including canceling or editing their time slot, up to the point in which the schedule “closes”. Schedule close dates are at the discretion of the employer, but are typically outside of two (2) days prior to the date of the interview. While a schedule is active, all changes can be made by the student in Handshake without penalty.

During peak periods of on-campus recruiting it is possible that schedule conflicts may arise. Students who require assistance mediating a conflict with a previously scheduled interview should contact the appropriate NCA Employer Relations team member as soon as possible.

Late cancellations

Changes to a schedule after it closes – including day-of cancellations- should be avoided to the fullest extent possible. When a student absolutely must cancel it is their sole responsibility to notify:
1. The appropriate Employer Relations team member based on industry
2. The employer hosting the interview. NCA may assist in providing contact information to direct a thoughtful and professional apology note to the employer informing them of the cancellation.

Failure to show for an interview without prior notification to NCA and/or the Employer (ie a “no-show”) is something NCA takes very seriously.

Late cancellations and no-shows are tracked by NCA and may result in penalties including loss of OCR privileges.

Participating in On-Campus Recruiting while studying abroad

If you are studying abroad and applying to positions hosting on-campus interviews at NCA, please keep in mind the following:

  • Clearly articulate to the employer that you are currently abroad via your application materials.
  • If selected for an interview, proceed as you normally would in choosing a time slot from the available options, noting that all interviews are in the central time zone.
  • Reach out directly to the recruiter, communicating you are abroad and ensuring the company is comfortable and open to conducting the interview virtually. Employer policies and processes vary greatly on this.
  • Copy the appropriate Employer Relations Strategist on your request to the recruiter. They will work with you directly to provide the technical logistics for connecting you virtually with the recruiter at the designated interview timeslot.

Attendance at Other Employer-Hosted Events

Throughout the year, NCA facilitates events designed to connect employers and students in meaningful ways, hosted both on and off-campus. Examples include: panel discussions, networking hours, coffee chats, information sessions, and the Career Trek program, among others. These events require a great deal of time and resources from participating organizations and an accurate attendee list is essential for planning purposes. Failure to show, especially when space is limited or based on an individual timeslot, reflects poorly on students and the institution. Students should only register for events in which they have the full intention of attending.

If you have any questions relating to the policies set forth by NCA, please feel free to contact our office either via email at nca@northwestern.edu or by phone at 847.491.3700. 

Our business hours are Monday through Friday 8:30am until 5pm.  Our email and voicemail are not monitored outside of regular business hours.