The OCS Recruiting Program is not meant to be the single source of all employment opportunities. The Recruiting Program is one tool among many that students should utilize in their search for jobs and internships. See the Job & Internship Search and Explore Careers pages for more information about additional tools and resources. 

  • Students and alumni eligible for the OCS Recruiting Program are only able to apply to campus interview positions once they have completed the OCS Recruiting Program sign-up process.
  • You have a responsibility to attend every interview you listed on your Crimson Careers account. Examine your schedule for conflicting interviews and check your @college, @fas or @post email account for any updates or changes. 

Interview Details & Schedules

The date, time, duration, and location of your interview(s) can be viewed from your Crimson Careers account.

Typical Interviews

  • take place between 9:00am and 5:00pm ET but may vary based on employer and student locations.
  • last 30 to 60 minutes
  • may be scheduled through Crimson Careers or directly with the employer
  • will take place virtually through employer virtual platforms or OCS virtual rooms in 2020 - 2021

However, there are exceptions to all of these criteria, so students should be checking their @college, @fas, or @post email frequently if going through the OCS Recruiting Program process.

Preselect Interview Schedules

The vast majority of employers choose to “preselect” candidates. This means that they review (“prescreen”) applicant materials in advance, and only select a limited number of candidates for interviews. Employers using this method begin making decisions about candidates approximately five days after the application deadline. The decision time will vary from employer to employer, but we request that they make a decision no later than one week prior to the interview date. When a decision has been made about your candidacy, you will be emailed by the employer, and your application status on Crimson Careers will change from “Pending” to “Invited,” “Not Invited,” or “Alternate.” If you have not heard by the interview date, you should consider your application declined.

Open Interview Schedules

A few employers, most often nonprofit organizations, choose to have one or more interview schedules “open.” This means that the employer does not wish to prescreen the candidate, and interested students may sign-up for interviews on a first-come, first-served basis. The process to apply to open positions is the same as for any other position. The difference is that if there are openings on the employer’s schedule, the system will automatically select you as accepted for an interview and you will be able to sign-up immediately. The deadline for applying to open schedules is two days prior to the interview date.

Screenshot of Crimson Careers interview with "Open" type selected


Check Application Status

Check Status in Crimson Careers

The “Interviews” tab is where you'll find your applications and interviews pertaining to the OCS Recruiting Program. There are two sub-tabs under the INTERVIEWS Tab:

The OCS RECRUITING PROGRAM APPLICATIONS sub-tab allows you to manage your applications to OCS Recruiting Program positions. Each application will have a “Pending” status until the employer submits a decision. 

The possible interview statuses are listed below.

View Applications

Pending: The employer has not yet made a decision about your candidacy.

Invited: If you are invited to an interview with an employer, an email will be sent to you reminding you to sign up for an interview on the “Interview Sign-up Start Date” and time. (TIP: Make sure your email address is up-to-date so that you can receive emails from the system.) You will also see an alert on your Crimson Careers homepage. 

Alternate: If you are accepted as an Alternate on Crimson Careers, you will be able to sign up for any remaining interview spots beginning on the “Alternate Sign-up Start Date” and time, typically at 12am ET, 3 days prior to the employer’s on-campus visit date. Alternates may sign up on a first-come, first-served basis, so be sure to check your email and on your Crimson Careers account to avoid missing an opportunity.

Not Invited: You have been declined for an interview. You may want to send the employer contact one final follow-up email or phone call to reiterate your interest and qualifications, but this should be done sparingly and with sensitivity. 

Sign up for an Interview

When you receive an invitation email, you should navigate to the “RECRUITING PROGRAM APPLICATIONS” sub-tab and the status of that application will be changed to “Invited” or “Alternate.” You will only be able to sign up for an interview time starting at 12:00am ET on the "Interview Sign-up Start Date."

image of schedule_interview

  • Click the “Schedule Interview” link under the relevant OCS Recruiting Program application. This link will only appear after the “Interview Sign-up Start Date” has arrived.
  • If multiple days are available, you will be able to use the "Available Dates" drop-down menu to select the day that works best for you.
  • Select the radio button next to an available time slot and click SUBMIT.
  • Email confirmation will be sent to you with date, time and location of interview.
  • TIP: Please think carefully about the slot that you pick.  If you have multiple interviews in one day, do not schedule interviews back-to-back because interviews can run long or late. 

When to Sign up for OCS Recruiting Interviews

Employers are asked to make their interview decisions by the Tuesday following their application deadline; however, there are often exceptions to this timeline. When an employer submits their decisions in Crimson Careers, students are notified of their interview status via email. However, students are not permitted to sign up for their interview time until the "Sign-up Start Date," which is usually 12:00am ET the day after the employer has made selections.

Whenever the employer decision deadline is changed, the OCS Recruiting Program team typically updates the student "Sign-up Start Date" to reflect this. This allows all students to sign up at the same time and have the same fair chance at his/her preferred interview time despite when precisely the employer changes their decision in Crimson Careers.

The location for all the dates relevant to a particular opportunity is in the positions description on Crimson Careers. Please see the example below:

Crimson Careers Screenshot

Change/Cancel a Scheduled Interview

To view your scheduled OCS Recruiting Program interviews, navigate to the "Interviews" tab in Crimson Careers and review the "Scheduled Interviews" sub-tab.

To reschedule an interview, click on the Reschedule icon in the “SCHEDULED OCS RECRUITING PROGRAM INTERVIEWS” sub-tab and it will show you the remaining interview slots that are available. Interview slots are available on a first come, first-served basis.

  • If there are no remaining interview slots available and you would like to see if there is anyone willing to switch time slots with you, please contact the OCS Recruiting Program Team at ocsrec[at] for the contact information of other students on your interview schedule.
  • If there are no times that work with your schedule: You may need to contact the employer and/or recruiter using the contact information on Crimson Careers to ask for their advice. Understand that you will most likely need to share information about your time conflict. Employers have spent a great deal of time and money scheduling their interviews with Harvard students and are under no obligation to reschedule a first-round interview. Second-round interviews are not a legitimate reason to reschedule the first-round interview (See "Second-Round Interview Policy," below). Please contact the OCS Recruiting Program Office at if you have any more detailed questions. 

To cancel an interview through Crimson Careers, students can navigate to the same "Scheduled OCS Recruiting Interviews" tab and select the "Cancel" link as long as it is prior to the "Cancellations End Date" listed in the position description (8:59am ET two calendar days before the interview date). It is expected that any cancellations after that date are due to illness or emergency only, and must be cancelled by contacting the Recruiting Program team at ocsrec[at] Please carefully note our "Late Cancellation" and "No Show Policies," below.

Withdraw/Change Applications

Interview Locations [Google Map]

OCS Recruiting Program interviews in fall 2020 will be taking place virtually. Many employers will conduct interviews via their own platform, such as Zoom or Skype, or through OCS’s virtual platform. Be sure to check Crimson Careers to confirm how your interview will be taking place.

Interview Policies & FAQs

Cancellation Policy

Please check your schedule carefully to avoid conflicts. Students may freely change an interview time or cancel an interview using Crimson Careers as long as it is before 9:00am ET two calendar days in advance of the interview date. This allows time for an alternate to sign up in that interview slot and prepare for that interview.

Students may not cancel an interview with less than two calendar days notice. Cancelling an interview with short notice:

  • deprives a fellow student the opportunity to interview with that employer
  • wastes the time of the employer who has allocated their time to conduct interviews
  • reflects poorly on Harvard on the whole and can damage the long-term relationship between Harvard and that employer

We understand that emergencies arise. If there is an emergency or you are severely ill, and it is after 9:00am ET two calendar days before your interview, you must contact the OCS Recruiting Program Office at as soon as possible. This way, we can attempt to find an alternate to fill your interview slot.

Students cannot cancel a first-round interview for a second- or final-round interview. See the "Second-Round Interview Policy" for more details.

Cancellation Policy


You may freely cancel an interview through Crimson Careers...

...if the interview is more than 2 calendar days away

You must contact the OCS Recruiting Program Office immediately...

 ...if you need to cancel within 2 calendar days of your interview (only permitted in cases of emergency or severe illness)

No Show Policy

Not showing up for an interview is extremely disrespectful of an employer’s time, denies other Harvard candidates the opportunity to interview, and jeopardizes Harvard’s positive relationship with employers. We take this offense very seriously, and will put a hold on your Crimson Careers account and prohibit you from applying to or signing up for any further interviews until you meet with the Director of the OCS Recruiting Program. A letter of explanation and apology to the recruiter involved must be written before reinstatement in the program. Failure to comply with the No Show Policy may result in your removal from the OCS Recruiting Program. In case of an emergency, explain your situation to someone in the Recruiting Office as soon as possible (

Second Round Policy

Employers and students must both follow the timeline listed below when arranging second-round interviews because students are not permitted to cancel a first-round interview for a second-round interview. Employers are not obligated to reschedule first-round interview dates. These policies are in place to ensure that student do not have to cancel first-round interviews for second-round interviews. 

Second-Round Interview Policies 

  • Students cannot cancel a first-round interview for a second-round interview with another employer. Employers have planned months in advance to hold first-round interviews on a particular day. Thus, they have also agreed to our policies stating that they must give students flexibility with scheduling second-round interviews, especially if they conflict with another first-round. If you have an issue or a concern with an employer, please contact the Recruiting Office at  ocsrec@fas.harvard as soon as possible so we can help.


Q. Why am I still listed as "Pending" next to my OCS Recruiting Program application in Crimson Careers

There are a few possible reasons for this:

  1. The employer has not yet made any interview decisions in Crimson Careers.
    Employers are instructed to follow a particular timeline for entering their interview decisions. To determine an employer's deadline, log in to Crimson Careers and navigate to Interviews > OCS Recruiting Program Applications to see your Recruiting Program applications. Next to your "Pending" status you will see a field titled "Signups Start." The employer decision deadline is usually 11:59pm one calendar day prior to the signups start date (i.e., if the Signups Start = "Sept 24, 2020," then the employer must make decisions by 11:59pm, Sept 23, 2020).
  2. The employer has missed their decision deadline.
    Just like students, employers sometimes struggle to complete their tasks on time. Whenever possible, we adjust the "Signups Start" date to indicate the employer deadline change, but depending on the timing of communication, this is not always the case.
  3. The employer has not yet made a decision about your candidacy.
    Employers sometimes take longer to make a decision about a particular student. In these cases, the student sometimes ends up as an "alternate," but for whatever reason, the employer is still evaluating you. Similarly, when entering their decisions in Crimson Careers, employers usually enter first their "invited" candidates, then their "alternate" candidates, and finally their "not invited" candidates. Thus, there is sometimes a delay before students learn that they are an alternate or not invited.
  4. The employer has failed to indicate that students are "not invited."
    Despite our almost constant prompting, some employers neglect this step in the process. If the "Signup Start" date has passed and it is less than one week before the interview date, it is fair to assume that you are not invited. However, we do as much as we can to ensure that employers indicate their decision for all applicants.

Q. I have been "invited" to interview, but I cannot sign-up for an interview time. Why is that?
There are a few possible reasons for this:

  1. The "Signups Start" date has not begun.
    To determine the signups start date, login to Crimson Careers and navigate Interviews > OCS Recruiting Program Applications to see your Recruiting Program applications. Next to your "Invited" status you will see a field titled "Signups Start." Regardless of when an employer makes a decision prior to this date, students still cannot signup for an interview time until 12:00am on the signup start date. For example, if the Signups Start = "Sept 24, 2020," then invited students can start signing up for interview times at 12:00am on Sept 24, 2020 (i.e. midnight Sept 23/Sept 24).
  2. The "Signups End" date has passed.
    To determine the signups end date, login to Crimson Careers and navigate Interviews > OCS Recruiting Program Applications to see your Recruiting Program applications. Next to your "Invited" status you will see a field titled "Signups End." Typically, signups end at 11:59pm two calendar days prior to the interview date (i.e., if the Interview Date = "Oct 1, 2020," the signups end at 11:59pm on Sep 29, 2020). The OCS Recruiting Program Team suggests that students signup for an interview time as soon as possible to avoid running up against the signups end date. Email ocsrec [at] to see if there are any interview times available, but please note there may not be.
  3. The "Alternate Signup" period has begun.
    Alternates can begin to signup for available interview times at 12:00am three calendar days prior to the interview date (i.e., if the Interview Date = "Oct 1, 2020," the alternates' signup start is at 12:00am on Sept 28, 2020 - which is midnight Sept 27/Sept 28). Thus, if you attempt to signup for an interview time after the alternate signup has begun, you may find that no times are available. The OCS Recruiting Program Team suggests that students signup for an interview time as soon as possible to avoid running up against the alternate signup period. Email ocsrec [at] to see if there are any interview times available, but please note there may not be.
  4. The employer has oversubscribed their interview schedule.
    On a very rare occasion, an employer may accidentally select more candidates to interview than they have allotted time. Thus, if you are the last to signup for an interview time, you may find that no times are available. If you feel like this is the case given the various signup timelines indicated above, email ocsrec [at] as soon as possible. We will work with the employer to ensure you have an interview. 

Q. How do I change my interview time?

  • If there are open times still available, students are able to reschedule interview times through Crimson Careers up until the schedule “freezes” at 9:00am one day before the interview date. Navigate to the “interviews” tab in Crimson Careers, then the “scheduled interviews” sub-tab, then click the “Reschedule” button on the right-hand side of your interview list to review and select from remaining times. If all of the interview times are taken, contact the OCS Recruiting Program Office at ocsrec[at] and we will email you a list of students on your interview schedule. You can contact those students to see if someone is willing to “swap” times with you. To finalize the swap, you and the other student must BOTH email the Campus Interview Program Office, and we will then make the change on Crimson Careers.