All Princeton Internships in Civic Service (PICS) interviewing and candidate selection takes place under the auspices of the Office of Career Services and must be conducted within a framework of professionally accepted recruiting, interviewing and selection techniques and guidelines. This includes the recruiting and offer policies set forth by the Office of Career Services, the Nondiscrimination Statement of Princeton University, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Principles for Professional Practice (see full description below) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s guidelines on prohibited practices.
Princeton University is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusivity in all hiring and employment practices. Interviewers should consider themselves ambassadors of their organization, PICS, and the University. As such, interviewers must abide by Princeton University guidelines. Interviewers should also display cultural sensitivity to the broad range of backgrounds and personalities of our applicants. To ensure consistency in our interviewing standards, we have compiled a list of best interviewing practices below, which all PICS interviewers must agree to in order to participate in the student interview process.
Best Practices for Conducting a Student Interview
- All interviewers must read and abide by the NACE Principles for Employment Professionals (see below) and review these additional guidelines regarding specific interview questions and preparation.
- Interviewers should prepare questions in advance that will determine the candidate’s ability to perform essential job functions as defined in the job description. Questions should focus on proficiencies, time commitment and qualifications needed to be successful in the position.
- Interviewers should avoid asking candidates questions that are invasive and unrelated to performing the job. Interviewers must also be mindful of discriminatory language and/or behaviors and should display cultural sensitivity.
- Questions regarding political views or religious beliefs are inappropriate. If a candidate addresses these topics, the conversation should be approached in a professional manner, with tolerance and respect for views other than your own.
- Interviews are a two-way exchange of information; candidates should have an opportunity to ask questions.
- Ask open-ended questions so that candidates have the opportunity to provide detailed responses.
- Please refrain from taking telephone calls, texting or reading emails during an interview.
- Negative comments about other organizations or other applicants should be avoided.
- Candidates may be looking for positive or negative reactions during the interview. Try to remain neutral in your expressions toward any information a candidate provides or a weakness they may reveal.
- Please end each interview by asking the student if there is anything else they would like to discuss.
Please note that all in-person interviews must be held in the Office of Career Services recruiting suites, with no exceptions. Other interviews may be held via Skype or by phone. Interviewers should select a professional location/environment for Skype interviews.
National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Principles for Employment Professionals
- Employment professionals will refrain from any practice that improperly influences and affects acceptances. Such practices may include undue time pressure for acceptance of offers and encouragement of revocation of another offer. Employment professionals will strive to communicate decisions to candidates within the agreed-upon time frame.
- Employment professionals will have knowledge of the recruitment and career development field as well as the industry and the employing organization that they represent, and work within a framework of professionally accepted recruiting, interviewing, and selection techniques.
- Neither employment professionals nor their organizations will expect, or seek to extract, special favors or treatment which would influence the recruitment process as a result of support, or the level of support, to the educational institution or career services office in the form of contributed services, gifts, or other financial support.
- Serving alcohol should not be part of the recruitment process on or off campus. This includes receptions, dinners, company tours, etc.
- Employment professionals will maintain equal employment opportunity (EEO) compliance and follow affirmative action principles in recruiting activities in a manner that includes the following:
- 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 work force;
- Informing campus constituencies of special activities that have been developed to achieve the employer's affirmative action goals;
- Investigating complaints forwarded by the career services office regarding EEO noncompliance and seeking resolution of such complaints.
- 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.
- Employment professionals will cooperate with the policies and procedures of the career services office, including certification of EEO compliance as well as compliance with all federal and state employment regulations.
- Employment professionals will honor scheduling arrangements and recruitment commitments.
- Employment professionals recruiting for international operations will do so according to EEO and U.S. labor law standards. Employment professionals will advise the career services office and students of the realities of working in the foreign country and of any cultural or employment law differences.
- Employment professionals will educate and encourage acceptance of these principles throughout their employing institution and by third parties representing their employing organization on campus, and will respond to reports of noncompliance.
For the full list of NACE Principles, see: http://www.naceweb.org/knowledge/principles/principles_for_professional_practice.aspx?referal=knowledgecenter&menuID=203#employment
1. Diversity Officer Magazine: “The Top Ten Culturally Competent Interviewing Strategies”
2. National Education Association: “Why Cultural Competence”
3. Society for Human Resources Management: “Interviewing Candidates for Employment”
4. Rapid Learning Institute: “How to Avoid Hiring Lawsuits” (Video)
5. Monster: “Keep the Interview Legal”
6. Project Implicit Bias: Project Implicit is a nonprofit organization and international collaboration between researchers who are interested in implicit social cognition - thoughts and feelings outside of conscious awareness and control. The site offers several free tests designed to increase self-awareness of unknown or hidden biases. https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html