Ethical Conduct in your Job or Internship Search


Ethical conduct is one of the most meaningful ways you will build and sustain a credible professional reputation. When questionable choices are made, Duke students are often surprised just how well-networked professionals in industries and companies are, and that news of bad choices often travels fast.

Use these guidelines to understand expectations others have of you while searching for a job or internship. Should you have questions about the right thing to do in a given situation, please contact the Career Center. We are here to help clarify and explain, or to help you think through the best course of action in your specific circumstance. If you are in a pinch, always err on the side of caution.

Participants in Duke's On-Campus Recruiting program are expected to abide by a set of policies that are codified expectations for ethical behavior.  Make yourself familiar with these policies because you will be held accountable. Employers who participate in On-Campus Recruiting also have a related set of policies and deadlines and it is very helpful to review this, as well.

Be 100 Percent Truthful and Accurate on Your Resume
Embellishments and exaggerations are considered lying. Employers often look beyond candidates' resumes to verify information that has been provided. Don't falsify, stretch, or bend information such as your GPA, SAT scores, involvement in activities, leadership roles you have held, or results in competitions in which you have participated. 

On-Campus Recruiting Policy:
Falsifying your resume may result in being reported to Duke's Office of Student Conduct and you will be subject to sanctions, being banned from the Career Center's on-campus recruiting program permanently, and forfeiting employment opportunities. The Office of Student Conduct has written a thorough blog post on the topic of resume falsification.

Attend Interviews to Which You Have Committed
By agreeing to an interview, you are making a commitment. Should you need or desire to withdraw from an interview, timely notification is a must. This means notification of your interviewer as soon as you know, no delays.

On-Campus Recruiting Policy:
You may remove yourself from an interview schedule no less than two business days prior to your interview. Students who withdraw any later (or do not show up) will be barred from the On-Campus Recruiting program. Reinstatement will require a letter of apology to the recruiter and a meeting with a Career Center staff member.

Communicate in a Timely Manner With Employers
Don't avoid or ignore phone calls, emails and other correspondence from employers as you go through the process of accepting and declining interviews or job offers. If you need more time when determining details such as start dates or relocation information, it is best to be in touch, be straightforward about the reason for delay or uncertainty, and request more time.

Consider Your Verbal or Written Acceptance of an Offer a Binding Contract and End Your Search Immediately after Accepting a Position
Once you have accepted a job or internship, whether verbally or in writing, you must immediately terminate any other hiring-related activity with other employers. This includes contacting employers with whom you are scheduled to interview and removing yourself from candidate pools.

Do not accept an offer and then turn it down. This is call reneging and the behavior typically ends any chances of employment with the organization in the future. Its negative implications on your general professional reputation can frequently be more long-term and widespread than you expect.

On-Campus Recruiting Policy:
Reneging on a job offer or continuing to pursue other opportunities once you have accepted a position is a violation of the Career Center's On-Campus Recruiting Policies. Your account in eRecruiting will be deactivated and you will be expected to meet with a Career Center staff member to discuss the situation and take steps to repair the relationship with affected organizations.

note: use our On-Campus Recruiting Guide to learn more about resources available to you and how to effectively prepare for campus recruiting.