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I have an interview for a software development internship tomorrow, and I'm unsure about when to ask about 1. how much it will be paid, if at all, and 2. if there is pro rata paid time off for holiday. No info about benefits or compensation was given on the job posting or any other information I've seen about the role.

For background, I'm in the UK and the norm for tech internships seems to be paid at around 17k-22k pro rata. I also won't be able to take an unpaid internship at this company as I won't be able to live with my parents if I am to take it, as it is located across the country, so will have to pay for accommodation.

Additionally, I have family abroad who want me to visit for a specific week in the middle of the summer, in what would presumably be in the middle of the (3-month) internship. Another internship I previously applied for offered 25 days off pro-rata as part of the compensation, which would allow me 5 days off and so could go for a week (I unfortunately was not offered this position) - so not unheard of.

Given these facts, when should I ask how much the wage is (if there is one at all, I'm just assuming so far it is paid), and if they offer time off as part of the compensation? Would it be appropriate at the end of my interview tomorrow, or would waiting until they give me an offer be a better time to ask these questions?

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My understanding is that it would usually be illegal in the UK to have an unpaid internship of this nature, so I'd guess it's paid. That being said, I'd have clarified this up front - it's a perfectly reasonable question to ask before the interview, and saves potential time-wasting later.

Would it be appropriate at the end of my interview tomorrow, or would waiting until they give me an offer be a better time to ask these questions?

Some generally advise waiting until the offer letter comes through to start these discussions, but in this situation I'd definitely be asking about pay towards the back end of the interview, assuming they don't bring it up sooner. There's usually a time when they'll ask if you have any questions - I'd tactfully say something akin to:

I didn't notice any details of what compensation would be offered on the job description. Would you be able to give me an approximate figure?

The process for internships differ in that there's generally little to no room for negotiation in terms of salary - it's often done on a "take it or leave it" basis, so they should be able to give a pretty clear answer upfront.

On the other hand, if you wait until the offer letter comes through (which can sometimes be quite a while, assuming you're successful) then you have a massive question mark over whether this role is even potentially viable or not, which could inadvertently cause you to make the wrong decision down the line.

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You should get a chance to ask these questions at the end of the interview. It's pretty common for the interviewers last question to ask if you have any questions. Ideally you would ask about more than just compensation at this point, e.g. general questions about the position, company etc.

Depending on the interview style you may find an opportunity to bring it up earlier if it seems natural given the conversation.

In regards to salary; have a figure in mind as the interviewer may just flip the question back on you and ask want you want.

In regards to other elements of compensation there is a good chance that the company will have a standard package for things like holidays. I would mention any immediate holidays you want to take also, it's pretty common to do so and unlikely to be an issue.

Remember an interview is a chance for you to decide if the job is right for you, and you should use the opportunity to get answers you need to know.

If you applied via a recruitment agent you could also ask them these questions also, especially if they are third party.


In regards to internships in the UK, ignoring a few exceptions, interns are normally paid.

Check out Employment rights and pay for interns for further details.

If an intern is classed as a worker, then they’re normally due the National Minimum Wage.

When interns aren’t due the National Minimum Wage

  • Student internships
  • School work experience placements
  • Voluntary workers
  • Work shadowing

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