My situation is pretty unusual: I graduated about 1 year ago and since then I get called about 1 - 2 times per month by companies that get my phone number from the school from which I graduated. They 99% of the time want to have a job interview for a position as an intern, but they don't say it right away. I discover this only during the interview.

The problem is that I currently have a job so unless the offer is extremely stimulating (I hold the company in high esteem, interesting tasks...), I do not want an interview.

So my question is: how do I, in a polite way, communicate by phone that I won't consider a position as an intern?

Additional information

  • How do I know that they will offer a position as an intern and not something more? It is common to offer freshly graduated students an internship position in my country. Plus I have had about 10 interviews this way and all of them offered to start with an internship.
  • I could turn the offer down with a random excuse, but I prefer to be honest, and would also like to be sure that they are actually offering an internship, and not something else.
  • All these internship offers are paid.
  • 16
    How are these companies getting your contact information through your school? Is there a portal of some kind? If so, can you update your resume and preferences to either remove the profile or to indicate that you are currently employed and not seeking internships? If it's through some other means, is there a person that can help you? It seems like this is as much of a waste of time for companies as it is you, so I'm curious what information they have that indicates you may be suitable for an internship, since you don't typically get an internship after working full time. Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 13:13
  • 11
    @Thomas Owens I should probably notify the school that I have found a job and ask them to stop giving my number to companies. Never even thought of it actually
    – Axel2D
    Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 13:32
  • 1
    @GreenMatt undpaid internship, once you are out of school are almost always illegal in Italy. They are all paid.
    – Axel2D
    Commented Jul 25, 2018 at 7:30

8 Answers 8


When you've established who's calling, simply be upfront about it.

Sorry for interrupting, but is this about an intern position?

The actual wording doesn't really matter, but you're aiming to get to the core of the reason for the call fairly quickly so you don't waste any time.

And then deal with the response accordingly. Then you won't have to deal with meaningless chatter and you can get on with your day.

There's nothing wrong with asking clearly for what you want. You've obviously been through this conversation before, so you should know what questions to ask in order to make a decision about continuing the phone call or not. Get these questions in sooner rather than later.

Since you're in Italy, GDPR may serve to protect you, although it might take some effort to working out who/how to remove yourself from whatever directory these callers are using. You should certainly call the school in the first instance to understand how your personal details are used, and to update your contact preferences. But if you do this, consider that you may also be cutting off offers that you might find attractive in the future.

  • 21
    you could add "because I already have a paying job"
    – WendyG
    Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 13:24
  • 27
    And the caller won't consider it rude that you cut to the chase. He or she would prefer not spending time talking to someone who won't take the position they are offering.
    – DaveG
    Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 13:27
  • 3
    It might be just my personal preference about wording, but I would instead say Can I ask what will be my job title? It sounds way more confident.
    – user47813
    Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 15:58
  • 1
    @DaveG the problem with that argument is, all those offering an internship will not be offended because they know earlier that op isn't interested. But your argument says nothing about those that don't offer an internship. So basically, this way you don't offend the people you don't care about. Great ;)
    – DonQuiKong
    Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 18:02
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    Assuming that your education qualified you for a general type of job (engineer, programmer, lawyer, nurse, sports agent, or anything else), and assuming that the job you currently have is related to that field, I would add to the response "because I'm already employed as a <non-intern title reflecting your field> for the last year". With that information, you've updated your resume to include the year of experience, and pushed yourself above the intern group. You may lose the interview then for the job you won't want, but you may raise your value to them, and lead to a better job.
    – cmm
    Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 18:40

Although Snow's answer is good if you receive a call, the best thing to do is to try to prevent the calls.

If these employers are getting your contact information from your school, reach out to the school and try to figure out how to get them to either update the information to allow potential employers to see that you have graduated and are currently employed or to simply stop providing your contact information.

These companies getting your information, reviewing it, and reaching out to you for internships is not only wasting your time, but theirs as well. The right thing to do is to save everyone time by making sure they have the right information.

  • 9
    +1. I don't see a location given in the OP; however, if they are in Europe, the new GDPR regulation may come into play here. It might be worth looking into, if the school is reluctant/slow to comply with the data request.
    – Time4Tea
    Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 13:45
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    Added location. Thanks for mentioning GDPR, I will have a look (or at least I will try) at it.
    – Axel2D
    Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 13:52
  • 1
    The school could get a hefty fine for sharing your data with unrelated parties without explicit consent, if it's the school doing this. Next time you get a call ask them where they got your data from, and under GDPR you can request to be purged from their systems. Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 19:41

how do I, in a polite way, communicate by phone that I won't consider a position as an intern?

Your opening question should be something along these lines:

"Thanks for contacting me! I do want to mention up front that I already have a full time job and so I am absolutely not looking for an internship. Should we continue talking?"

Polite, but to the point.

  • Agree, being direct is best for all involved. It's probably worth adding "I already have a full-time job in my field" somewhere in there, so they know why you're not interested. Commented Jul 25, 2018 at 16:08

Just ask?

You: Is this an internship?
Them: Yes.
You: Ah, okay. I'm not looking for internships at the moment.
Them: Okay, well thanks for your time.
You: No problem bye.

Don't overcomplicate life.


If a recruiter gives me an unsolicited call about a job, I wouldn't ever agree to go to an interview, unless they first send me a job description, so I can see the full details of the job and make sure it is suitable and a good fit for me.

So, the first thing I would ask/demand, if a recruiter calls you, is for them to send you a job description. No job description = no interview, simple as that. Most of these people also have very thick skin - don't be afraid to be blunt, say "sorry, I'm not interested" and put the phone down. After all, they are cold calling you.

Otherwise, I would strongly consider what Thomas Owens says in his answer, about putting a stop to the calls at the source.

  • Job descriptions tend to paint a too rosy picture of the actual job. I would start with telling the recruiter what I don't do in a job (in this case: no internship). And I will reiterate that until I am sure the recruiter actually gets it. Then they can send me a job description. I like your point about not having to worry about recruiters having thin skin.
    – Bent
    Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 15:58

Create a LinkedIn profile!

Recruiters will usually check your online presence before calling you. If their search turns up a LinkedIn page with your current employment status, they probably won't want to waste their own time by calling you for a position you probably won't be open to.

(Of course, this is in addition to some of the other answers dealing with the call once it does arrive. However, preventing is better than curing, and this is an effective way to prevent the call all together, even if you can't prevent your contact details from being handed to the recruiters.)


I wouldn't necessarily rule out an "internship" if you're just worried about "volunteer" (unpaid) labor, because where I'm at, computer jobs have sometimes included paid internships.

Just ask them how much pay they are offering. If the number is acceptable, state that you may consider and are interested in hearing more details. If not, let them know you have some different standards in order to be interested.

(Also, follow the advice provided by other answers of checking with your school to see if you can modify a "profile" with them, to let them know of your minimal requirements (or complete lack of current interest))


The simplest approach to me would be to ask the salary range. If it’s low / in “internship” region, then I’d just politely say that’s less than what I’d be looking for in a new full-time role. If it is an internship then the recruiter will probably clarify (“Oh, actually this is an internship”) at which point you can say, “Thanks, but no thanks” after having made your position and intentions clear in a non-confrontational way.

  • Reason for down-vote…? Commented Jul 25, 2018 at 12:52
  • 2
    I didn't downvote but your answer basically suggests making guesses based on random pieces of data, when you could instead simply ask the question Commented Jul 25, 2018 at 13:12
  • One concern here would be the issue of a job giving good compensation for interns. If you were to accept a position that you thought was a well paying job but it turned out to be an internship which would eventually end with you being jobless as the internship finished, you would be in a very unpleasant situation
    – PunPun1000
    Commented Jul 25, 2018 at 17:24
  • This just complicates everything. Why even twist something so simple? Someone is calling you for an interview for an internship position; you don't want internships, and you want to be sure they're not calling for an internship position. The best thing to do her would be to simply ask them that and tell them you're not interested.
    – WorldGov
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 22:02

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