The Recruiting Process

Whether you are new to the recruitment process or want to review, be prepared for your next steps in communicating with recruiters.

The Grainger College of Engineering has a strong reputation for producing engineering talent.

As a result, many employers recruit at Illinois. When employers come to campus they are looking to connect with students and identify the talent that matches their needs. The College works hard to maintain strong relationships with employers while still maintaining a fair and equitable recruiting environment. We expect that our students maintain professional and ethical behaviours as they participate in the recruitment process. Read on to learn about situations you may encounter and best practices for navigating the hiring process.

The College Recruiting Schedule

Employers recruit year-round, but there is a cycle to the college recruiting process. Most large employers put their college recruiting plans together during the summer break. When classes resume in the fall, employers will begin visiting campus to start networking with students, faculty, and staff. The Fall Engineering Career Fair is held near the beginning of September and is the official start of the recruiting season. The networking that is done at the fair will result in several thousand on-campus and off-campus interviews in the weeks following the fair. On-campus interviewing and nearly all of the recruiting activity for the semester ends the week prior to finals. The process begins again at the start of the spring semester with the Spring Engineering Career Fair.

Some companies try to fill as many positions as possible during the fall semester and then focus on a smaller number of harder to fill positions during the spring semester. In the fall, they will be working to fill full-time positions with both fall and spring semester graduates, and fall, spring and summer co-op and internship positions. In the spring, they are generally looking for spring graduates to fill full-time positions and students to fill summer and fall experiential education positions. Keep in mind that companies have hiring needs that arise at all times of the year. New jobs are posted in Handshake @ Illinois every week of the year, so it should be checked regularly.

Engineering Career Fair

Making the most of the Career Fairs begins with preparation, practice, and confidence. Visit our Career Fair page for tips on having a successful experience.


University of Illinois Fall 2021 Career Fair Schedule




Aug. 30

Industrial & Enterprise Systems Engineering Major Meet-up

Aug. 31

Agricultural & Biological Engineering and Civil & Environmental Engineering Majors Meet-up
Sep. 1 Materials Science & Engineering Major Meet-up
Sep. 2 Nuclear, Plasma, & Radiological Engineering and Physics Engineering Majors Meet-up
Sep. 2 Aerospace Engineering Major Meet-up
Sep. 3 Bioengineering Major Meet-up
Sep. 3 Mechanical Science & Engineering Major Meet-up
Sep. 8 The Grainger College of Engineering Fall 2021 Virtual Full Time Career Fair
Sep. 10 Gies Business Virtual Fair - Day 1
Sep. 15 The Grainger College of Engineering Fall 2021 Virtual Internship Career Fair
Sep. 16 Gies Business Virtual Fair - Day 2
Sep. 17 Gies Business Virtual Fair - Day 3
Sep. 24 Information Sciences (iSchool at Illinois) Virtual Career Fair


University of Illinois Recruiting Policies

Curious about the University's official recruitment policies and guidelines for recruiting? For more information regarding equal employment opportunity, sexual misconduct, third party recruiters, conditions of employment, guidelines for offers and acceptances, and more, visit the Hire Illini website.

Hire Illini Recruitment Policies


Reneging on offers, internships, and employment is a serious breach of the student use agreement; should this occur, please contact the appropriate career services office immediately. After meeting with the offending student, career services may decide on appropriate consequences up to the loss of job platform access for the student.

Reneging on an accepted offer (internship or full time) is not acceptable and may result in permanent loss of access to Handshake @ Illinois and other services provided by the University of Illinois Career Services offices, including Virtual Career Fairs. Users are to only pursue interviews for opportunities that are of genuine interest.

Learn more about the consequences of reneging

Recruitment Scenarios

Providing accurate and truthful information

If you’re reading a job posting and your GPA is below the required GPA, you may be tempted to make your GPA appear better than it is. But if you misrepresent your GPA and make it through the interviewing process, your offer could be rescinded by the company for not meeting their job requirements. Best practice is to accurately report your GPA on any job application materials.

Interviewing only with employers for whom you're interested in working

During high-time recruiting season it’s often likely that you can submit your résumé to multiple opportunities. Before applying, take a moment to read over the job description and make sure it’s a fit for what you’re looking for. We encourage you to explore and keep your options open! The interview is the time to learn more about what the position and team you’ll be working with. However, if you know the job isn’t the right fit, don’t waste your, or the employers, time by submitting an application or taking an interview for something you know you don’t want. Not only does it become time-wasted, you could be taking away an opportunity for someone who is truly interested. When looking for opportunities, cast your net wide and choose options that are the best fit for you.

Adherence to schedules for interview appointments

When scheduling an interview, make sure that you honor the commitment that you’ve made. You don’t want to make a bad impression or waste the employer's time by showing up late or not at all. If you wake up sick and you’re not able to attend the interview make sure to email the recruiter as soon as possible and also call Engineering Career Services at 217-333-1960, if the interview is on campus, so that we can help relay the message to the recruiter on your behalf. Please know that ECS does have a policy that your Handshake account will be blocked for any no-show interview.

Alcohol consumption in the recruitment process

Employers may host happy hours to provide a more social environment for meeting with potential candidates. Although free alcoholic beverages may be offered, you should remember that any recruiter event are professional in nature and consider possible consequences of consuming alcohol. Provided that students are of legal drinking age (21 in the U.S.), it is fine to consume alcohol at an event, but it is important for students to drink responsibly in a professional environment.

Requesting reimbursement for only reasonable and legitimate expenses incurred in the recruitment process

An out-of-state interview can be exciting—but costly. When you are interviewing for an out-of-town job, the company may offer to pay your travel expenses — but it's also possible that they will not. Not sure who pays? If you don't have any information to the contrary when you are asked to travel for an interview, it is acceptable to ask if the company will be covering the travel arrangements for you. You may ask, “I am excited about the opportunity to meet with you. What is your company’s policy on covering the travel expenses for the interview we have scheduled?”

The travel expenses that are covered depend on the company's policy. In some cases, all your expenses including airline flights, hotels, and meals are covered. Another common practice is for a company to pay for your lodging as long as you pay for your transportation.

For any reimbursable expenses — such as meals or your car service from the airport — keep your spending reasonable. This is not the time to splurge on meals. And, do not ask for reimbursement for alcoholic beverages or entertainment costs, such as hotel-room movies. Do not ask to extend your stay so you can spend time with friends. Keep it professional.

Notifying Acceptance

When receiving an offer for employment, it’s important to maintain professionalism whether or not you plan on accepting the offer. If you are undecided on the offer or are anticipating other offers, ask the employer for an extension or timeline. Generally speaking, try to do this 3-4 business days before the stated deadline. If you are not planning on accepting the offer for any reason, let the employer know right away. There are others out there who are waiting for that exact offer, and the company is depending on you to let them know in a timely fashion. If you find yourself in a unique situation or want help creating a strategy on how to respond to the employer about your offer, visit Engineering Career Services to develop a customized plan just for you.

Exiting the recruiting process after accepting an offer

It is common for candidates to be in the middle of a recruiting process or to be negotiating offers with multiple companies before deciding to accept an offer. One common question that candidates ask is “what do I do about the other offers and interviews now that I have made my final decision?” First, be certain to accept the offer in writing and receive confirmation from the company that is hiring you before exiting the recruiting process with other companies. However unlikely it may be, you want to be certain that the company you have chosen has not decided to rescind their offer for some reason before you officially accepted. Once you have accepted and confirmed the offer, it is important to exit the recruiting with all other companies quickly and professionally.

• If you already have other offers, it is important to email the other companies, thanking them for their time and letting them know that after much consideration, you have decided to accept another offer and are no longer available for their position.

• For companies that you have interviewed with, but not received an offer, it is equally important to email them and let them know that you are no longer available for the position. The earlier the recruiter knows you are unavailable, the more time and energy they can spend evaluating other candidates. Your prompt and professional communication will be appreciated by the recruiter.

• If you have an interview scheduled with any other company, it is important to let that company know that you have accepted an offer as soon as possible for the same reasons. It will be seen as professional courtesy by the recruiters.

• It is not necessary to contact every company to which you have applied. If you have applied to hundreds of positions, you may not even be certain who you haven’t heard back from. However, you should immediately respond to any requests for interviews or screenings with a professional reply letting them know you have accepted an offer and are no longer available.

Hire Illini

For more information about University Recruitment Principles and Guidelines, please refer to the Hire Illini page.