Organization Referral Guidelines

When Organizations/Employers Ask You to Identify Top Students...

With regard to inquiries from organizations to identify “top” students and to pass out information for presentations, etc., the CDO makes its best effort to educate employers about the appropriate and ethical ways to disseminate materials to students. We would tremendously appreciate that such calls and inquiries be forwarded to our office to handle.

There are several issues to consider when organizations take this route. One is an ethical and legal issue which is outlined by the National Association of Colleges and Employers that pertains directly to faculty (and others) making direct referrals.

Guidelines: Candidate Referral

Employers may contact you to request the names of students who would be excellent candidates for job opportunities. At first glance, it seems harmless to provide the names of your best students. However, there are some potential legal and ethical pitfalls. If you or a colleague receive a job lead from an employer and choose only to refer a few individuals without publicizing the position to all students who may be qualified, you are not maintaining "a fair and equitable recruiting process."

Also, by identifying individuals for employment on a "regular" basis, you may be considered an "employment agency" for purposes of compliance with equal employment opportunity laws. For example, if it appears as if you are (innocently or otherwise) referring only male students or only minority students, you may be open to charges of discrimination.

Employers who act in accordance with the Principles understand and expect students to receive open and equal access to information about job opportunities.

A Suggested Course of Action: If you receive a request for student referrals, you can, of course, notify individual students who have declared an interest in such positions and encourage them to apply. However, also post the position in your department and announce it to your classes. At the same time, contact the university career center so that the position can be listed campus-wide. There are practical reasons for these actions. The career services office may have an existing relationship with the requesting employer through co-op, part-time/summer job, internship, job fair, or other recruiting programs. Or, the career center practitioners may wish to develop a broader relationship with the employer. Sometimes unproductive misunderstandings occur when an employer works with more than one campus office.

Please see the full article, A Faculty Guide to Ethical and Legal Standards in Student Hiring

The other issue is that students are generally served best if academic departments refer and make students aware of the vast resources and employment opportunities that we have available through the CDO. If you have a position listing or information you would like us to share with students, we have several ways whereby staff and faculty can announce any graduate school, fellowship, or employment/internship opportunities.