Getting an Internship Offer That You Don't Really Want

How to Handle an Offer When Waiting for Something Better to Come Along

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After weeks of searching and sending out resumes, for most people getting a call to interview is usually really great news. But what about those situations where you’re called for two or more interviews and one of the companies wants to hire you for a summer internship, and you would really prefer one of the other internships you interviewed for with another company?

On the outside looking in this may seem like a good problem to have, after all, after many weeks or months of searching for an internship, you’ve received an offer. It may not be a bad thing if the internship you’ve been offered is a good opportunity where you will be able to gain knowledge and skills in the field you are interested in pursuing in the future. On the other hand, if you applied to this company because you were playing a numbers game and applying to every internship out there, there may be other internships that would prove more valuable to achieving your career goals.

Things to Consider

Well, what do you think you should do if you find yourself in this situation? First off, I recommend that you further evaluate the internship position and company before making a decision. You may need to call the company and ask questions that will give you a better understanding of what the internship involves. Once the offer has been made, but you feel like you would still like to pursue other options, I suggest getting back to the company and letting them know that you are very interested in the position and you would like a little more time before accepting the offer.

Since most people do not accept an internship or job offer on the spot, the company will probably be more than willing to give you a couple of days to a week to make a final decision.

At this point, time is of the essence. Contacting the other employer where you believe you would rather work is the logical first step. You will want to let them know that you are still very interested in getting an internship with their company but you’ve received another offer and you’d much rather work for them. If they are interested in you as an intern, this may be enough to get another offer. There’s also a chance that they will tell you that they are still in the application process and can’t make a final decision until a future date.

It can be a very frustrating position to be in. You may be thinking about not accepting the position in the hopes that something else will come through or you may decide to take your chances and accept the position and make the best of the opportunity. What you don’t want to do is accept the position with the intent of withdrawing if something else comes along.

Employers usually spend a great deal of time in the hiring process. Not only will you be leaving the company in a lurch, but you are also keeping other candidates from getting an internship that may be a better fit for them with a company they hope to work for eventually. Accepting an internship or job with the intent of leaving if something else comes through is not considered to be a good way to handle this situation for someone looking to enter a new career field. Doing so can seriously affect the path you take in your career if it becomes known by people in the field that you are basically out for your interests and will resign on the spot to take another job should something better come along.

Change Happens

Of course in the real world, people change jobs all the time. I’m not talking about being in a position for several years and then looking for something that better meets your professional and personal career goals. Of course, you will want to move forward in your career, and sometimes that means leaving one company and going to another. What I am talking about is accepting one position with full knowledge that it’s not the right one and planning to leave at the first chance that something better comes along.

When we are talking about internships, the length of time is usually pretty short and hopping around over the course of a summer will not provide you with enough time to learn the job and make connections in the field. Internships are also a great way to get references for your future job search and leaving under such circumstances will probably prevent you from getting professionals who will vouch for your work ethic and experience on the job.