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So I've been applying for internships and I've received an offer from company_x. They've basically said, "if you're happy with it, let me know and I’ll get the paperwork raised".

Thing is, I have a few last-round interviews with some other companies. I basically want to buy time so I can do those interviews and make the most informed decision. I haven't been given a deadline, but company_x said I'd have one week to accept the offer once the contract was written.

How do I approach this? As of now, I've asked them questions about perks/compensation and I'm waiting to hear back. I anticipate they'll reply back and ask if I'd like for them to start the paperwork. How do I respond to that?

Fwiw, company_x is the 3rd choice on my list, and I'm interviewing with my first and second choice next week.

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I have a friend that is a recruiter for a top tech firm and she has handled internships in the past. Company_X may have a firm deadline for how long they are allowed to wait for a particular candidate. If Company_X has a limit, nothing you say will change that (maybe if you're hospitalized or something, but honestly maybe not even then) for an intern position - they have to work their way down the list.

Based on some of the requests that I've heard her complain about potential internships candidates making, I don't think you'll knock yourself out of the running by requesting a couple more days.

I'd recommend first that you be specific about the extension you need, and second that you have an extension reason available if they ask.

For what it is worth, I would consider it in poor taste if your extension reason comes down to some form of "you're third on my list."

  • "For what it is worth, I would consider it in poor taste if your extension reason comes down to some form of "you're third on my list." Problem is, I don't think there's any real way to ask for an extension without causing a recruiter with two brain cells to not imply that very reason. – dwizum Nov 14 '18 at 22:51
  • @dwizum My position is that the polite thing to do is not say or directly imply it. Yes, they'll likely figure it out... but OP can maintain a polite front with an unrelated reason such as 'I need a little more time because I'm still figuring out my living arrangements' or whatever OP is comfortable with. Based on what my friend said, there are candidates who actually say something like "You're my third choice, so I need more time." When I asked if they were dropped, she said it is up to the recruiter. She didn't imply what she would do. – J. Chris Compton Nov 15 '18 at 14:08
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You should be using the pending offer to accelerate your first and second choice interviews.

"if you're happy with it, let me know and I’ll get the paperwork raised"

Sounds to me you can still negotiate the terms of the internship e.g. salary before the final offer is in hand. I would try to negotiate as a stall tactic and who knows you may end up with a better salary at company_x.

You could ask company_x to extend the decision deadline by a week to give you more time to consider the offer. But a company typically will not extend a decision deadline for internships, because they need to hire a large volume of interns and deadline extensions really slows down the hiring process for other more interested candidates.

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