On-Campus Recruiting Guidelines

In the best interest of USC Viterbi students, the established employer guidelines help to facilitate a professional, fair, and ethical experience in the recruiting of USC Viterbi students. We encourage organizations and their recruiters to help us maintain an equitable and successful recruiting process by acting in agreement with the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) guidelines, Title IX, the Department of Labor, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Principles for Ethical Professional Practices, and the guidelines laid out by the Viterbi Career Connections office listed on this page.

VCC reserves the right to decline any employer or job posting at our sole discretion. Organizations that do not follow the guidelines below may forfeit eligibility to recruit through VCC and the USC Career Center. If you have any questions or concerns regarding these guidelines, please contact us at vcareers@usc.edu.

Job Postings

Employers must offer bona fide positions and all postings must adhere to the following:

  • Employers cannot require new hires to pay a fee for training or other job-related expenses.
  • Employers who compensate employees based solely on commission (i.e. without a base salary as well) must clearly disclose this information in the job description.
  • Employers who compensate employees based on partial commissions must disclose accurate estimates of expected earnings in their job descriptions. They must also present an accurate base salary/expected first-year salary at that time.
  • Organizations only offering stipend, unpaid or volunteer positions must meet the organizational definitions and requirements that allow them to do so legally, and they must clearly state the pay status when posting their opportunities on Handshake. Refer to Fact Sheet #71 and consult your legal counsel regarding any questions.
  • Job postings should be of a technical nature and apply to students in the Viterbi School of Engineering.

    Postings requiring donations, application fees, investments or offering items or services for sale, in-home employment, or babysitting will not be permitted on Handshake. Any testing required as part of the hiring process must be compliant with EEO/ADA standards.

    We reserve the right to refuse service to organizations or individuals due to any of the following:

    • requiring personal information at the time of application, such as bank and social security numbers;
    • misrepresentation, whether defined by dishonest information or absence of information;
    • fraud;
    • harassment of Viterbi students, alumni, or staff;
    • breach of confidentiality as required by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA); All materials received from our students (letters, resumes, transcripts, via email or hard copy), should be shared only with those persons at your firm involved in the hiring process.
    • failure to adhere to VCC employer guidelines;
    • any violation of University of Southern California rules and regulations;
    • any violation of local, state, or federal laws.

        On-Campus Recruitment (OCR)


        In accordance with University of Southern California policy, VCC does not discriminate against any person based on race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, marital status, veteran status, or handicap, in admission to, access to, treatment in, or employment in its programs or activities. Therefore, VCC will make its facilities available only to recruiting organizations whose practices are consistent with this policy. 


        All companies participating in on-campus recruiting events must be offering paid positions within their organization. Without exception, we expect all organizations to adhere to the U.S. Department of Labor Fair Labor Standards Act when it comes to wages and compensation. Positions that are solely based on commission with no base pay will not be included in on-campus recruiting events. Cryptocurrency, bitcoin, tokens, fiat, or equity are not acceptable forms of payment.

        Alcohol & Marijuana Policy  

        The use of alcohol or marijuana at any point during on- or off-campus recruiting — including tailgating at sports events — is prohibited. Any organization violating this policy will no longer be eligible to participate in career events or programs. 

        Cannabis Industry Recruiting Policy 

        USC adheres to federal law regarding marijuana. Employers whose primary business is in the cannabis industry are not permitted to post jobs on Handshake, or any other USC platform, or otherwise recruit on campus. 

        Third Party Recruiters  

        The On-Campus Interview Program and Career Expos are only available to employers of a recruiting organization. Third-party recruiters hired to staff one or more organizations will not be permitted at on-campus recruiting events without the express permission of VCC staff. 

        Multi-Level Organizations

        Multi-Level Organizations (“Pyramid” organizations) are never allowed to participate in any on-campus recruiting events or post opportunities on Handshake.  

        Employer Brochures and Recruiting Materials

        The VCC office is limited in space and requests that employers do not send brochures and materials to display. We encourage everyone to link their web sites through their Handshake, listings, send digital flyers, or interact with VCC social media accounts. 

        On-Campus Interviews & Events

        On-Campus interviews and events coordinated through VCC and Handshake are only available to currently enrolled Viterbi students. USC students outside of Viterbi, Viterbi Alumni, and Viterbi minors are not eligible. Please only offer/schedule on-campus interviews and events with currently enrolled Viterbi students.

        We discourage recruiters from pursuing students who have already accepted job offers from another organization. We also recommend employers respect the commitment students have for their academics as well as any previously scheduled interviews with other organizations. Employers who place unnecessary pressure on students to miss class or reschedule existing appointments damage their relationships with students, other recruiters, and VCC.

        • Cancellations: Employers should provide notification of cancellation to VCC at least three business days before the event start time. Employers that cancel events once the student RSVP window has opened are responsible for directly contacting and informing students regarding the cancellation as well as any follow up information (contact information, rescheduled event date, etc.) A copy of this cancellation notice should also be provided to vcareers@usc.edu.
        • Space available: During peak periods, VCC may limit the number of interview rooms available for a given employer. Employers with a history of reserving more schedules than they can fill, or those who regularly cancel schedules, may be limited the following semester(s).
        • Extra space or Room only”: If you need additional space for administrative purposes, please submit a “room only” request when you reserve interview space, as same-day requests cannot be accommodated. We will make every effort to honor reservations, however, VCC reserves the right to cancel any previously reserved administrative space during peak periods.
        • Interview timing: Please note that all interviews, tests, and debriefs scheduled in the interview rooms in the VCC suite should be planned during regular business hours, 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM Monday through Friday.
        • Event Timing: Events must be scheduled during the regular work week but may start after regular office hours. Events held on weekends or breaks require special approval.
        • Student timing: We expect every employer to take into consideration a student’s class schedule. Students should not be expected to miss classes for tests, interviews, or employer-sponsored recruiting events.
        • Timely Communication: Employers are expected to keep students informed of their status in the hiring process and to communicate hiring decisions within a reasonable period, usually within two weeks of the interview.
        • Second Round interviews: Employers should extend invitations for second-round interviews to students a minimum of three business days in advance. It must be clearly communicated to the student at all times that they should feel comfortable speaking up about any scheduling conflicts. Employers must offer alternative dates, without negative consequences, for a second-round interview if the date originally suggested by the employer interferes with a valid conflict.

            Offer Timeline

            Students should be notified in writing of the major components of the job offer, including salary, location, benefits, and starting date. Students should be given sufficient time to make an informed decision regarding offers they receive. Listed below are the timeframes we recommend employers give students to accept an offer. We strongly encourage all employers to follow the NACE position on Reasonable Offer Deadline Guidelines.

            Recruitment Cycle


            Fall (Spring/Summer start)

            A minimum of 2 weeks from the receipt of the written offer or November 1st, whichever is later.

            Spring (Spring/Summer start)

            A minimum of 2 weeks from the receipt of the written offer or March 1st, whichever is later.

            Summer (Summer/Fall start)

            When extending a full-time offer at the end of a student’s summer internship or an offer to continue the internship the following summer, we recommend that employers give the student until November 1 to accept an offer.

            We understand that in certain circumstances, recruitment timelines do not align with regular university recruitment cycles. If an offer is made outside of the timelines recommended above, please consult with VCC to find a mutually beneficial solution to everyone’s needs.

            Offer Consultation 
            Upon request, VCC will discuss employer offers with the students before the acceptance deadline. Staff will communicate the importance of the commitment made when signing an offer letter and advise each student that if they have any questions or concerns, they should contact the company directly and be as open and communicative as possible. To take advantage of this service, send us the list of Viterbi students’ names and email addresses at least 7 business days before the offer acceptance deadline so that we may contact them.

            Exploding Offers

            Employers must not pressure students to accept offers to accept exploding offers.

            Exploding offers may include:

            • Pressuring students to accept offers “on the spot” or "early” based on the time frame above
            • Diminishing incentives, tiered or expiring bonuses, reduced options for location preferences, etc. based on the length of time from offer to acceptance
            • Asking a student if they are ready to decide on the spot or provide the student with a hypothetical situation involving a potential offer
            • Not allowing flexibility in granting offer extensions on a case-by-case basis as circumstances warrant

            If an employer foresees a challenge in being able to adhere to NACE or VCC's recruiting guidelines they should contact the VCC office prior to recruiting at Viterbi. It is our hope that advanced discussions involving recruiting will improve the employer and student experience during the recruiting process.

            Employers who do not follow these guidelines increase the risk of students reneging on offers, risk negatively impacting their brand within the student community, and may face restrictions on future participation in campus recruiting activities at Viterbi. These suggestions benefit both our employers and students. A lack of undue pressure helps ensure students make the best choice and employers attain candidates with greater commitment and fit.

            Deferred, Rescinded, or Withdrawn Offers

            Deferring, rescinding or withdrawing job offers, whether verbal or written, may violate professional standards and put students in a difficult professional and financial position. If your organization is considering retracting an offer for any reason, please call our office immediately to discuss the situation. 

            Deferred Offers 

            If a start date must be deferred, employers should communicate to the student and VCC as soon as possible. The employer should make every effort to provide services to aid the students in securing other employment or provide financial assistance if the deferral will be longer than three months. 

            Rescinded or Withdrawn Offers 

            In NACE’s Position Statement on Rescinded and Deferred Employment Offersemployers are urged to examine both legal and ethical considerations or rescinding offers. NACE recommends that employers who must revoke a commitment do everything possible to avoid rescinding offers and consider alternatives that do not require rescinding employment offers. These may include changes in job responsibilities, salary reduction and/or reduced work weeks, changes in job locale, delayed starting dates, and other reasonable options.  

            If the offer must be revoked, the employer should provide assistance to the affected candidate. Such assistance could include: 

            • Reimbursing the candidate for expenses incurred in the acceptance of employment, such as travel and relocation expenses. 
            • Providing the candidate with short-term financial assistance. 
            • Offering the candidate services to secure other employment. 
            • Providing the candidate with a written statement that the offer has been revoked. This may help the candidate secure a job offer that was turned down in favor of the offer that has now been rescinded. 

            Published on March 8th, 2021

            Last updated on May 20th, 2024