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So a few months ago, I started the interview process at a software-based startup by applying for the role of an internship. Given that their other open positions were for senior roles, this was my best option. The product that they make and the domain they operate in are things that I'm immensely passionate about, and these guys are pretty much the market leaders when it comes to it.

The interview had about 4 rounds, including a week-long coding assignment, all of which I passed with flying colors, and I could clearly tell that they were very impressed with me. At the last moment, however, they send me an email saying they cannot take me for the internship as it's only for students enrolled in their country's (this was an overseas job) university.

Instead, they said that they would get back to me if they had any full time positions. When pushed further regarding how long they think it would be before they could say definitely, the reply was "within the year". This interaction (which happened two months ago) was the last one we had.

Now, I'm currently in a phase where I'm looking to change workplaces. However, I don't want to wait an year (at worst) counting on their vague promise of a full time offer. If I at least knew whether them offering the full time position was just a cover up strategy for not knowing the local laws behind hiring interns from other countries (and they don't really intend to offer me anything), or they really are serious and are waiting for a position to open up, it would make things a lot more clear for me.

Should I hold out for their offer or should I move on with my job search or is there a middle path where I could talk to them regarding this without sounding desperate or confrontational (since they could be telling the truth, in which case I don't want to come off as ungrateful)?

closed as off-topic by gnat, JohnHC, user34587, Jenny D, IDrinkandIKnowThings Feb 20 at 14:51

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

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    I wasn't the person who downvoted but maybe you should make it clear exactly what you're asking. Is the question 'Should I hold out when I have a vague verbal offer or continue my job search'? That might be answerable but the other questions i.e. Is this legal, what was going on in the head of the company probably aren't. – Dustybin80 Feb 20 at 8:26
  • Did you get an offer in writing? If not, don't count on them finding you a position. – JohnHC Feb 20 at 8:33
  • @Dustybin80 Edited. – msamogh Feb 20 at 8:37
  • A week long coding assignment for an internship sounds grossly unreasonable. Was it relevant to their domain? Are you sure they're not using people like you as effectively free labour? – Julia Hayward Feb 20 at 10:28
  • The fact is they did not "make an indefinite offer". It was just talk. Talk means nothing. By all means contact them now and aggressively explain that you want to work for them right now. Good luck! – Fattie Feb 20 at 11:58
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Should I hold out for their offer or should I move on with my job search or is there a middle path where I could talk to them regarding this without sounding desperate or confrontational (since they could be telling the truth, in which case I don't want to come off as ungrateful)?

Realistically the only appropriate course of action is to carry on with your job search as if this rather nebulous offer didn't exist.

That said given the fairly positive interactions you've had so far it wouldn't be a bad idea to get in touch with them in another 4 months or so (assuming you haven't already found another opportunity) and see if they have any more concrete plans, I just wouldn't count on anything or base any plans on them.

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I am working in a quite big multinational company, and this kind of answer is similar to the standard answer we give. It is very unlikely that they will contact you again, and they may have been surprised just because they expected a student and you were already a graduate, so obviously the results from the interviews were very different from what they expected.

You can definitely contact them since you are passionate about their field, but do not wait on their answer.

I would suggest to move on with your job search at the same time. The software development area has a lot of opportunities pretty much globally, and there is always new things to learn and to be passionate about.

Additionally, I am slightly surprised they made you go through the 4 rounds without noticing that you were not a student. This shows already that they are not very clear on their recruitment policy. We have a lot of non-students who apply for internships here thinking that it is an easier way to find a job, especially foreign people, but in the worst case, their application is stopped right at the first round (phone interview) if it has not been discarded by the HR department.

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    An excellent-ly informative real-world answer. – Fattie Feb 20 at 11:57
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If you have a personal contact in the company then you could reach out to thank them for their time and express how keen you are to work with them, just drop in that you'll need to continue with your current search in the meantime. If they're keen to work with you that might be enough to give them a nudge. You've got nothing to lose by coming across as polite and passionate to work with them.

However, they've given you nothing. You need to apply for other jobs and move on with your search. If they come back to you with an offer great! However, if not you haven't wasted your time waiting for something that might never come.

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