Making Referrals

Faculty and staff may be asked by an employer to provide names of students who would be strong candidates for an employment opportunity. It may seem harmless to provide the names of the best students, but this involves several potential legal and ethical consequences. First, if a referral is made for a position that has not been publicized across campus through CyHire, a fair and equitable recruiting process is not being maintained. It is important to understand that there is a difference between providing the names of students who excelled in a job-related class and restricting awareness of an opportunity to just a few. Every qualified candidate interested in the opportunity should have an opportunity to apply; it is the employer’s responsibility to decide who would be the best fit for the position based on qualifications.

Also, by making a referral for or announcing a position that is not widely publicized on the ISU campus, a faculty member may be complicit in discrimination. For example, if an employment announcement is made only to a particular class and it is established that mostly males take the class, a discrimination complaint could be made because female candidates did not have an equal opportunity to hear about and apply for the position. Additionally, if a faculty or staff member regularly refers students for employment, they can be considered a placement agency and if a discrimination complaint is made, such as the one described above, they can be held directly responsible. If the position is posted in CyHire so that all qualified candidates have access to the information, then making individuals or groups aware of the job opportunity is viewed as further promotion and an EEO environment has been maintained.

Suggested Action:  If you receive a request for student referrals, ask the employer to first post the employment opportunity in CyHire. Ask them to contact Engineering Career Services if they need assistance, or pass the request on to ECS and we will contact the employer. With the position posted campus-wide in CyHire, you can notify students of the position and encourage them to apply.