Rules of the job search

Recruiting rules not always followed

With this year’s corporate recruiting period in full swing, students and companies both sometimes seem unaware of the corporate recruiting rules set by the MIT Careers Office. Companies have been interviewing MIT students since recruiting at Fall Career Fair on Sept. 21, but while companies are allowed to schedule interviews on any day they wish, the Careers Office imposes rules that generally aim to restrict interviews from clashing and work to reduce stress and conflicts for students.

“One of the things we really think about is that if I were a student interviewing for a company, how much time can I allocate for interviews with this company as well as fit in classes?” said Deborah Liverman, associate director of career services. For example, companies are required to hold second-round interviews at a time that doesn’t conflict with other companies’ first-round interviews and give a Saturday option for each second-round interview.

Other policies include: restricting exploding offers — or incentivizing early acceptances of an offer — and requiring scheduling on-site second round interviews within a week of the first-round interview. Furthermore, companies must offer full disclosure on the start date, method of compensation, and the status of the applicant throughout the interview process. Companies also cannot serve alcohol during the interview process, must fully disclose whether they are using a social network (such as Facebook) to evaluate candidates, and are required to keep all parts of the interview process closed to anyone outside of the company.

Despite these guidelines, some students have encountered situations where companies did not abide by these policies. According to a current MIT junior, companies like Adobe have mandated interviews on certain dates with no additional options.

“Adobe wanted me to have my final interview on Monday and Tuesday of a week,” said an anonymous junior. “When I said I couldn’t because I had classes, but was happy to reschedule to another date, they dropped me from the process.”

Amanda C. David ’13, a Course 15 major who has interviewed with consulting companies such as Bain & Co., Boston Consulting Group, and McKinsey & Co., states that interviews take up almost as much time as another class. David has skipped a number of her Thursday and Friday classes for on-site interviews and to prepare for first-round interviews.

“The companies usually don’t give any alternative dates for scheduling second-round interviews,” said David, adding that she was unaware of many of these restrictions on interview scheduling set by the Careers Office.

“It’s natural that students may not bring these policies up with their potential employer,” Joshua Ma ’14, a Course 6 major who has interviewed at more than 12 tech companies such as Google, Twitter, and Facebook. “If I were a freshman or sophomore, I may be afraid to offend a company.”

Repercussions for not abiding by these policies may include the company not being able to continue recruiting on campus or having deferred interview dates. As stated in the Careers Office website, “It must be clearly communicated to the student at all times that they should feel comfortable speaking up about any scheduling conflicts.” While many of these recruiting policies work to make the interview process as easy as possible, it is up the students and companies to enforce them.

“We only intervene in the situation upon the student’s request,” said Liverman.

Ian S. Cinnamon ’13, who has interviewed with companies such as Microsoft, Zynga, and Yahoo, believes that the Careers Office should do more to raise awareness of these issues to both companies and students. Both Liverman and Menghi have worked to make sure a list of Careers Office policies are located in designated interview rooms, as well as displayed on screens around MIT campus. Despite this, a number of companies and students may continue to be unaware of all the policies.

A full list of policies on corporate recruiting is available at The Careers Office is located in 12-170, with hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.