Student Job Offer Guidelines

For many years, the Career Center encouraged employers to make employment offers to Villanova students to abide by certain dates for student responses. Over the past few years, we have observed significant changes in employer hiring patterns for externships, leadership programs, internships and post-graduate employment. The recruiting environment has become markedly different and we expect this environment to be sustained in the future. This is due in large part to three trends:

  1. The increased speed with which employers evaluate candidates and make offers
  2. A desire to offer opportunities to students earlier in their academic careers for externships, leadership programs and internships
  3. The overall shift toward more campus recruiting in the Fall semester

Few employers are willing to conform to specific deadline dates for student responses to employment offers because of the complexity of recruiting across multiple campuses. After many discussions with employers and other universities, we have learned that most employers are operating under a two- to four-week window for all employment offer responses, with the majority expecting two weeks’ response time.

Understanding this, the Center Career has established guidelines to provide both students and employers with a fair, transparent and up-to-date framework for managing the offer phase of the recruitment process:

  • Employment professionals will maintain equal employment opportunity (EEO) compliance and follow affirmative action principles in recruiting activities
  • The Villanova University Career Center defines an exploding offer as any offer which does not conform with the offer guidelines listed above. Students should not be pressured to accept offers “on the spot” or “early,” whether this is based upon a shorter timeframe for consideration overall and/or due to any special diminishing incentives attached, e.g.,  tiered or expiring bonuses, reduced options for location preferences, etc. The Career Center expects all employers to refrain from such practices when recruiting Villanova students.
  • Exploding offers, those made with undue pressure and insufficient time to respond, are strictly prohibited. All bonuses or other incentives are to remain in full effect for the entire duration of the offer period
  • The written offer should clearly state all appropriate terms and conditions, including but not limited to: position title/description, location, start date, end date (if applicable) and compensation (salary, bonuses, benefits, etc.)
  • Full-Time, Internship and Co-Op Offers: Employers should allow a minimum of three weeks from the date of the written offer, but preferably longer, for students to accept or decline
  • ExceptionAccelerated recruitment opportunities where offers are extended nearly one year prior to the position commencing:  September 1 or three weeks (whichever later)
  • Employers should be flexible in granting offer extensions on a case-by-case basis if the circumstances warrant it. The Career Center encourages students to negotiate for the time when needed to support decision-making on employment offers while also staying within a reasonable timeframe to be sensitive to employer needs. The Career Center does not encourage students to wait to decide unless there is a specific reason for doing so.

We encourage students to make timely, informed decisions. If you need additional assistance in making this important decision please reach out to a career counselor or industry advisor as soon as possible. Set up an appointment in Handshake or call the Career Center at 610-519-4060 during business hours.

During this important phase of your job search:

  • Make sure that you have the terms and conditions of your offer clearly defined in writing (job duties, salary, bonuses and other benefits, starting date, work location and schedule, etc.). If a formal offer letter does not follow a verbal offer or if you need further clarification about the written terms, follow up with the employer immediately.
  • Do not hoard offers. If you are not interested in a particular offer, politely let that employer know immediately.
  • Be cautious when confronted with an “exploding offer.” The Career Center’s offer guidelines are intended to protect you from any undue pressure. Politely notify the employer immediately if their offer does not conform to campus guidelines.
  • Understand that you may be able to negotiate the terms of your employment, but some offers and/or terms of your employment may not be negotiable, even in a competitive market. Be realistic about your expectations and conduct appropriate research before approaching an employer to discuss any terms or conditions of your offer.
  • Accept an offer only after careful consideration. Allow enough time to consult with trusted advisors before your offer expires. Don’t make rushed decisions, nor accept offers that you cannot fully support.
  • Notify an employer of your decision regarding your offer in the timeframe agreed upon. If you need more time, you may contact the employer for a possible extension. However, it will be the employer’s decision whether to grant your request for more time.
  • After accepting an offer, you are expected to withdraw your applications and/or cancel your interviews with other employers. If you are holding other pending offers, you are also expected to immediately notify those employers of your final decision.
  • Do not renege after accepting an offer. Doing so is a serious matter. Reneging, or going back on your acceptance of an employment offer, damages both your reputation among employers and Villanova’s reputation among employers.

If you have further questions about these guidelines or would like to discuss more about the offer evaluation or negotiating processes, consult with a Career Center counselor or industry advisor.