Last summer I had an internship at a local tech company doing software development. I felt like I did a pretty good job and was consistently told by my boss and team that they enjoyed my being there and were very happy with the work I was doing. My boss's supervisor even went so far as to give me a fairly sizable bonus near the end of the internship as a thank you. At the end of the internship I was told by my boss and his supervisor that I was more than welcome to return to intern again next summer and to let them know as the summertime got closer.

This year I looked at some other companies internship programs but nothing ended up really fitting so I decided to take my boss up on his offer and return to intern again. At first I emailed my HR rep, explained the offer that was given to me and asked how to proceed/when things needed to be done by. The email was read about a day after I sent it (I have a mail tracking program) but I never received a response. I waited about two weeks and finally decided to email my former boss about it directly. The email was read 20 minutes after I sent it but once again I received no response.

It's been 4 days since my last email and I'm confused as to how to move forward with this. Do I email my former boss and/or HR rep again politely reminding them of my previous email and asking for a response, or do I wait? It's getting pretty close to the time where I received my offer as a first time hire and I'd rather not lose my spot because they have already hired new interns.

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    try picking up the phone....
    – Neo
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 18:12
  • What month did hiring occur in for your first placement with them? There may not be much urgency on their part if they feel they have lots of time to work out summer placements.
    – Myles
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 20:48
  • I received my offer last year around January 8th and accepted it around January 20th. A few of my friends have also interned there and were contacted around the same time +/- about 2 weeks. Given that I feel its reasonable to expect them to be in "hiring mode".
    – Ryan
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 20:53
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    How are you "tracking" the emails? Do you actually send HTML mails with tracking images? Might be the reason they don't answer. Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 21:06
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    @JimMeyer I ended up calling the HR office a couple times and finally managed to get someone on the phone. They more or less told me that they had already hired interns for the summer and that the position I had previously held was cut so I would not be offered a job. Luckily my old bosses manager somehow heard about my rejection and ended up contacting me a couple weeks later to offer me a spot. I accepted and will be returning to intern there again.
    – Ryan
    Commented Feb 26, 2018 at 8:36

3 Answers 3


Any time you're seeking a job, you should have a stack-ranked list of your opportunities, and you should be pursuing the top three in parallel. Your top goal is to have an internship that you'll learn from this summer, so don't let one opportunity hang you up in reaching that goal. If you let them make you wait, you may miss getting any opportunity. This advice applies to any job-hunting moment in your career, not just in internships.

I'd recommend that you set a date on which you're going to choose where to intern, then share that with both the HR person and your former boss in the same email. If you're pursuing multiple positions, you have the opportunity to give them a genuine deadline, and perhaps to give them motivation via the competition. Your next note might best be something like, "I'm finalizing my choice for this summer's internship at the end of the month. I really enjoyed working with you last year; if you enjoyed it as well, I would appreciate the opportunity to talk about doing it again this year." If you send a deadline, you've got to stick to it and be okay if they miss; otherwise, your deadline was really an attempt to manipulate them for your convenience, and it will hurt your credibility when they realize that.

If you take one thing away from this experience, consider that you can always respond to an email with a brief note to manage expectations for a real reply. What's driving you crazy right now is that you don't know what's going on which makes it hard for you to make choices. You've given yourself an expectation that they're still going to be excited about having you back, and they're defying your expectation by not replying. This doesn't mean they're not interested — they could be scrambling to find you a spot before replying, or in the middle of a critical situation that's got all of their attention right now.

These are not good reasons for them to be silent; they should drop you a short note to align expectations. Something like, "Hi! We're buried under something else at the moment but really want to talk to you. Can we catch up in a few weeks?" or, "Hi. Unfortunately, we've filled the program for this year. We're really sorry." (with or without an invitation to ask again next year). This is a hard skill that's underappreciated but hugely valued when working in teams. I wish I could say I'm really good at it — I'm not! — but I strongly value it when others are.

By the way, I don't necessarily agree with the "pick up a phone" recommendations. It's often a bit weird to get a call following up on an email, and if there's a reason they're not responding, you've just made it awkward. However, if you've kept in contact throughout the year and the call wouldn't be odd, go for it.


Do I email my boss/HR rep again politely reminding them of my previous email and asking for a response or do I wait?

Usually it is recommended that you wait at least a week before writing back. However, seems that you have waited enough already.

As suggested in comments it would be better if you give them a call. You surely have some number or contact to call, and this way you will have a more decent and effective communication to clear things out.

If they continue to ignore your emails, or evasively respond to your telephone conversations I suggest you don't insist much, and start looking for jobs elsewhere so you have a backup and also so you don't waste precious time trying to get an answer from someone that may not be interested in offering a job anymore.


If you have lost your spot then you have lost your spot.

Your boss may have wanted you back but there must be an open position to put you in.

If all positions were full then it would have been polite of HR to tell you that but that does not always happen.

You shopped around and put yourself at risk. You have communicated to them that they were likely not your first choice.

Things may have changed since you boss said "summertime got closer".

I would wait a week and send an email to both.

  • Not down voting or disputing what you wrote as I agree with it, but I don't see where you answered the question here. Do I email my boss/HR rep again politely reminding them of my previous email and asking for a response or do I wait?
    – Neo
    Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 15:46

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