Don't Blow Your Job Search

Don’t be that job seeker who damages your professional reputation early in your career, who is exploited by an employer’s unethical behavior, or who causes an employer to stop recruiting at Berkeley. Read on to educate yourself about ethical and safe practices during the job or internship search.

If you believe an employer is fraudulent or has not conformed with Career Center Recruiting Principles, Policies and Practices, contact Employer Relations.

Stage 1: Researching opportunities and applying

  • If you’re using Handshake for job and internship listings or On-Campus Recruiting, complete all steps in the registration process, including reading and understanding the Career Center User Agreement. By registering for Handshake, you acknowledge that you will abide by all policies and procedures and agree to release of your employment materials.
  • Represent yourself accurately in all phases of the On-Campus Recruiting process, including in your Handshake profile, resumes, unofficial transcripts, cover letters, and interviewing. Misrepresentation of information will jeopardize your job offers and is a violation of the University Code of Student Conduct which could result in referral to the Office of Student Conduct.
  • Carefully scrutinize employers and their job listings for legitimacy. If you’ve never heard of an employer organization before, or if the job opportunity seems too good to be true:
    • Search the internet for the company name to see if they have a legitimate website. If they do not, before you submit a resume, contact them if possible to request more details about what the company does, where it is located, how many employees it has, and ask for a link to their website
    • Also search the internet for the company name plus the word “scam”. If the employment opportunity is fraudulent, this is a good way to find out.
    • Follow the Career Center’s tips for assessing for fraudulent employers:  Fraudulent Job Alert
  • If the listing is for an unpaid internship, read the Department of Labor’s policies on unpaid Internships (PDF) to see if the position seems to comply
  • Demonstrate courtesy and respect at information sessions, networking events and career fairs.
    • If you RSVP for an event, honor your promise to attend the event. Employers often provide catering or bring swag based on the number of RSVPs. Don’t inconvenience them – if your plans change, cancel your RSVP. Only RSVP if you sincerely plan to attend.
    • Don’t cut in front of other students waiting in line to speak with employer representatives. Employers notice this behavior and it makes a bad impression.
    • If you’re speaking with a recruiter and there is a line behind you, be courteous and spend just a few minutes in conversation. If after 5 minutes there seems to be a good connection, ask the recruiter for a business card to continue the conversation later. Explain that you want to respect their time and give them an opportunity to meet other students. This will make you seem professional and will give a good impression.

Stage 2: Interviewing

  • Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early for your interview. This will give you time to relax and gather your thoughts before your interview begins, or to prevent being late if you’re faced with unexpected transportation delays. Being late for an interview gives a very bad impression.
  • Know the OCR Interview Cancellation / No Show Policy. Unexcused late interview cancellations or no-shows will result in loss of interview privileges.
  • Be courteous and respectful to all employer representatives, Career Center staff, and other students while interviewing on campus.
  • Employers should not ask you any questions during the interview that are designed to illicit any information about you that could lead to discrimination as defined by the EEOC. If you are asked an illegal question during an interview, you do not have to answer. Instead, ask the employer how the question relates to your qualifications for the position. If you are asked an illegal question during an OCR interview, please notify Employer Relations staff.
  • Only accept interviews if you’re genuinely interested in the employer and their opportunity. Do not use real interviews for practice. This wastes your time, the interviewer’s time, and robs other students of the chance to interview for a job they may really want. Instead, meet with a Career Counselor to help you polish your interview presence.
  • Send thank you notes following interviews.
  • Review the Career Center’s Interview Attire webpage to make the best impression.

Stage 3: Job Offer

  • Thoroughly evaluate job offers (PDF) and only accept an offer if you truly want the position.
  • Don’t rush your decision to accept an offer. The Career Center Job Offer Guidelines suggest you should be given a minimum of two weeks to make a decision from the date of a written offer.
  • Know typical salaries of the position you’ve been offered to assess if your offer is reasonable.
  • Accepting or declining an offer is a difficult decision. Consult with a Career Counselor or use the Career Center’s decision making resources if you need unbiased assistance.
  • Once you accept an offer, stop recruiting. Politely and promptly withdraw your applications for other jobs, cancel upcoming interviews, and decline (PDF) any other offers you receive.
  • Do not renege on offers. The damaging consequences may be extreme and irreversible:
    • You will irreparably damage your reputation. It’s a small world…people have large professional networks and change jobs or companies often. 
    • Companies spend thousands of dollars to recruit you, and if you renege on your commitment with little notice, it will be unlikely they will be able to replace you. 
    • Other students may have really wanted the job and you will have robbed them of the opportunity.
    • When students renege on offers, employers get a bad impression of students in your school or college, of the university in general and of the Career Center. Employers have stopped recruiting at Cal because of this type of unethical behavior.

Recruiting Principles, Policies and Practices

Non-Discrimination Policy
The Career Center welcomes all Equal Opportunity Employers. The University of California, in accordance with applicable federal and state law and University policy, prohibits discrimination, including harassment, on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, physical or mental disability, medical condition (cancer-related or genetic characteristics), ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, or status as a covered veteran (special disabled veteran, Vietnam-era veteran or any other veteran who served on active duty during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized).

Preselection Screening Policies
There is no GPA screening via Handshake, given the wide variance of reporting formats and interpretations on the Berkeley campus.  However, this information may be included in employer job qualifications as a point of information for potential candidates. Students should consider any employer GPA preferences before submitting resumes. Some employers may also request unofficial grade reports or student transcripts to verify academic performance.

Release Authorization
By completing the Handshake registration form and uploading an online resume, students are providing the Career Center authorization to release employment materials to prospective employers. Students are expected to accurately represent their qualifications and interests in all information provided to the Career Center for this purpose (resume, cover letter, and unofficial transcripts).

Complaint Procedures
Students who believe an employer has misrepresented him/herself or his/her company or has not conformed with Career Center policies should email Employer Relations immediately.

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