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Recruiting Policies and Guidelines

The Center for Career Development and Academic Exploration at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) is a comprehensive career planning and employment center for students of all majors and classifications at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. We provide resources to assist students with their career development and job preparation. We also provide an array of services to employers across all industries. Our staff can connect you to candidates through career fairs, on-campus interviews and online job postings via Handshake.

As a member of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the professional association to facilitate the employment of the college educated, we utilize NACE’s Principles for Ethical Professional Practice as a framework and foundation for our center’s career exploration and outcomes processes. We expect employers recruiting at UTK to also abide by these principles and all applicable
federal, state, and local Tennessee rules and regulations.

By posting on Handshake and utilizing on-campus recruiting resources, employers agree to abide by these policies and procedures and to respond to reports of noncompliance.

Handshake Posting and Recruiting Policies


Handshake is a web-based portal for publicizing full-time, part-time, internships, on-campus jobs and short term positions for all employment industries and sectors. It is free for both employers and students to use. Employers looking to have more student messaging capabilities may elect into the paid version as well. All postings should adhere to the following:

  • Post only bona fide jobs and internships. NOTE: Donation requests, investment opportunities, items/services for sale, or opportunities requiring purchases and/or disclosure of private financial and identification information (i.e., bank accounts, Social Security Numbers) at the time of application may not be posted.
  • Posted by an employee of the company or organization. The Center for Career Development Staff will not post jobs for companies and organizations.
  • Accurately describe the organization, position description, and position requirements.
  • Follow all policies and procedures of the university and the center, the compliance standards of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and other state and federal employment regulations.


In compliance with the University of Tennessee Alcohol Policy and NACE Principles for Professional Practice, serving alcohol should not be part of the recruitment process on or off campus.


In accordance with the Department of Education’s Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), employment professionals will maintain the confidentiality of student information, regardless of the source, including personal knowledge, written records/reports, and computer data bases. There will be no disclosure of student information to another organization without the prior written consent of the student, unless necessitated by health and/or safety considerations. See more information on FERPA and campus recruiting on NACE’s FERPA Primer: The Basics and Beyond.

On-campus Interviews and Event Cancellations

As a professional courtesy to the center and our students, we ask recruiters to provide advanced notice (a minimum of 24 hours) should they need to cancel or reschedule on-campus interviews or event attendance.


All internships, both paid and unpaid, in the for-profit, not-profit, and government sectors,  must meet the NACE definition and criteria for internships and adhere to the Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). 

  • Internships requiring donations, application fees, payment for training, or payment to participate will not be posted or approved. 
  • In accordance with NACE guidelines, the CCDAE will not approve unpaid internships at for-profit entities. Unpaid internships at non-profits and government entities may be posted, but they must pass the Department of Labor’s primary beneficiary” test. If the opportunity is to the primary beneficiary of the employer, then the opportunity must be paid. 
    • Please note, requiring academic credit for an internship does not relieve the employer of the responsibility to abide by federal labor laws set forth by the Fair Labor Standards Act. Academic credit and compensation for work are not synonymous or interchangeable. Academic credit is only granted through the student’s academic department, not through the Center for Career Development and Academic Exploration. The student is responsible for initiating the application for academic credit with the academic department.

Third-Party Agents & Agencies

The National Association for Colleges and Employers (NACE) defines third party recruiters as follows: “Third-party recruiters are agencies, organizations, or individuals recruiting candidates for temporary, part-time, or full-time employment opportunities other than for their own needs. This includes entities that refer or recruit for profit or not for profit, and it includes agencies that collect student information
to be disclosed to employers for purposes of recruitment and employment.”

Individuals and agencies recruiting on behalf of other organizations must comply with these additional recruiting policies:

  • State in the job description that they are a third party or temporary employment agent/agency.
  • Any fees assessed by the agent/agency will be paid by the client organization or the employer they represent NOT by student candidates.
  • Disclose client names to Center for Career Development.
  • Agree that they or their client will not provide student resumes to any other party without the student’s written consent. Failure to comply with this is a violation of Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
  • Agree to follow the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE) Principles for Ethical Professional Practice
  • May not access Resume Books.
  • Participation in On-Campus Recruiting, Elite Partners Program, and Career Fairs is on a case by case basis.

Direct Referrals & Special Requests

Employers who have an interest in recruiting UTK students are encouraged to use Handshake as their primary recruiting resource, regardless of their specific selection criteria. In order to ensure equal access to all students, our staff will not provide direct referrals, student recommendations, or any type of list of “top” candidates to any party, including employers, faculty, staff, etc. Resume books are not typically provided by our staff unless a special exception is granted. Employers should use Handshake to post their open positions and select their own candidates based on the specific guidelines and needs of their individual company. We strongly encourage UTK faculty and staff to refer all employers to Handshake if they would like to recruit our students.

Equal Employment Opportunities

Employment professionals will maintain equal employment opportunity (EEO) compliance and follow affirmative action principles in recruiting activities in a manner that includes the following practices:

  • Recruiting, interviewing, and hiring individuals without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability, and providing reasonable accommodations upon request
  • Reviewing selection criteria for adverse impact based upon the student’s race, color, national origin, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability
  • Avoiding questions that are considered unacceptable by EEO guidelines for fair employment practices during the recruiting process
  • Developing a sensitivity to, and awareness of, cultural differences and the diversity of the workforce
  • Informing campus constituencies of special activities that have been developed to achieve the employer’s affirmative action goals
  • Investigating complaints forwarded by the Center for Career Development office regarding EEO noncompliance and seeking resolution of such complaints

Additional EEO Resources:
Federal Laws Preventing Discrimination Q&A
Laws and Guidance
Americans with Disabilities Act
Workplace Laws Not Enforced by the EEOC

Work Authorization, Visa Status and Citizenship

The Immigration and Nationality Act prohibits citizenship status and national origin discrimination with respect to hiring, termination, and recruiting or referring for a fee. By posting in Handshake the organization agrees to comply with all applicable equal employment opportunity laws, including the antidiscrimination provision of the Immigration and Naturalization Act. For more information see the Department of Justice’s Best Practices for Recruiting and Hiring Workers

Non-Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Policy

Although students may be off-site during internships, jobs, recruiting events, etc., the requirement to maintain a discrimination-free environment is still applicable. As such, we expect all employers who recruit UTK students to treat students in a respectful and professional manner at all times.

Examples of unprofessional behavior include:

  • Using sexual innuendos, making jokes of a sexual nature, making comments about a person’s physical appearance, or asking inappropriate personal questions.
  • Physically touching without expressed verbal consent, including repeatedly standing too close to or brushing up against a person.
  • Assigning work duties based on gender, age, or disability and not based on merit.

It is also important to ensure that any real or perceived authority employers have is not used in a way that would make a student feel the need to engage in unwanted activity to receive future employment benefits. Examples include:

  • Asking a student for a date, a personal phone number, or to engage in off-duty activities one-on-one. This could include hosting events late in the evening.
  • Emailing, texting, or posting on social media any messages of a personal affection.
  • Sending inappropriate pictures.

It is imperative that all employers comply with UTK’s expectation that the recruiting environment both on and off campus remains focused on respect and provides a space that is free of discrimination and sexual harassment. If you see or hear of behavior that violates this expectation, you are encouraged to intervene, speak up, or contact the Office of Title IX (865-974-9600) or the Office of Equity & Diversity
Additionally, we encourage all employers and recruiters who engage with UTK students in any capacity to read and become familiar with our University Policy & Procedures, including the Policy on Sexual Misconduct

Job Offer Guidelines

NACE Professional Standards for University Relations and Recruiting states the following regarding job offers:

  • Extending offers: Employment professionals must establish a consistent and effective interview feedback structure to ensure the offer decision process is compliant and documented for determining whether an offer is to be extended or not. An offer must be extended through a formal letter process that provides the candidate with the information necessary to make a decision.
  • Offer deadlines: The organization should assess its use of offer deadlines to ensure that the deadlines are not placing undue pressure on the candidate. A two-week window would be a reasonable minimum timeframe for an offer decision. Using financial incentives (i.e. signing bonuses) to pressure offer recipients to make a quick decision may have an adverse effect on the company’s employer brand.
  • Accept & rejection process: The recruiting team and hiring managers must be actively engaged in follow up with applicants after the offer is extended. Employment professionals are encouraged to report hires to their universities on a timely basis.
  • Rescinding offers: If conditions change and require the employing organization to revoke its commitment, the employing organization will pursue a course of action for the affected candidate that is fair and equitable. Once the candidate has been informed, the hiring manager should contact the candidate’s school as soon as possible and inform the career center staff of the decision.
  • Students Reneging Offers: While we accept and appreciate notification, the Center for Career Development Staff does not take sole responsibility for having professional conversations with students that withdraw offers. We believe this conversation is more impactful in a direct conversation with the recruiter and the student.

Rights of Refusal

The Center for Career Development reserves the right to refuse service to organizations or individuals based upon the center’s sole discretions and specifically due to any of the following:

  • Requirement of 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 UT Knoxville students, alumni, or staff
  • Breach of confidentiality as required by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
  • Failure to adhere to Center for Career Development employer guidelines
  • Any violation of University of Tennessee rules and regulations
  • Any violation of local, state, or federal laws

Exceptions to Policies and Guidelines

The Center for Career Development reserves the right to make exceptions to these policies and guidelines as warranted by special circumstances, i.e., in certain situations deemed to be acceptable and beneficial to our students, the Center for Career Development, the university, or recruiters using our services. Such exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please note that any exception made does not constitute a change in policy, nor is there a guarantee that this same decision will apply in the future.

Additional NACE Resources:

NACE Competencies for University Relations and Recruiting Professionals
NACE Professional Standards for University Relations and Recruiting
NACE User Guide for Principles, Professional Standards, and Competencies
NACE Legal Guidance