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Situation: There are a lot of online resources discussing the traditional job offer process, covering the resume, to the phone interview, to an on-site interview, to a job offer and negotiation process. However, for many people who are graduating college, this information may not be completely applicable as a result of prior internship experience with the company making the full-time job offer.

A key difference is these situations may lack more traditional interviews (because the entire internship is an interview), either with HR or with the hiring manager for your eventual full-time position.

Question:

What are key things a prospective job applicant should be aware of when receiving and negotiating regarding a fulltime offer with a potential employeer they have worked for as an intern previously?

Related to and derived from: Negotiation for Fulltime Conversion After Internship

  • 2
    Having the internship can be a big advantage. At my current company, at least, if there is an intern who we all agree is doing solid work there is no further interview process for them; they will simply be offered the opportunity to stay on as regular employee if that's what they desire. The only downside is that people going from intern -> employee are almost always offered salaries at the lowest possible end of the scale. – aroth Aug 20 '12 at 3:32
  • I understand how beneficial it can be to have an internship. I am interested in better understanding the key differences between the full-time offer process when you are a previous intern vs the full-time process when you have not had an internship with the company. – enderland Aug 20 '12 at 15:23
  • There are as many answers to this question as there are companies who hire interns, so I'll just mention my experience. In our company, if you are currently working as an intern then a manager would just hand you an offer letter, there would be no need for an interview. If you had previously interned with us, and latter come back and applied for a current opening, you'd get a condensed version of our regular interview, mainly so we could get antiquated. In either case your real 'interview' was your internship. – Jim In Texas Aug 20 '12 at 16:18
3

As an intern you were able to learn some of the business processes that your employer uses. In addition your employer has had an opportunity to evaluate you as an employee. If you are a great employee this can work in your favor. If you are an average or below average employee this can work against you. The reason for this is it is pretty rare for an employee to get better work habits over time, but unfortunately common that they get worse. For this I am talking about those things that managers look at besides you skills at the job. Getting in on time, working hard, willing to go beyond the call when needed, getting along with your peers, not taking long lunches or breaks, etc. The job skills can be taught, but those qualities are harder to learn, or develop in an employee only willing to do the minimum required.

If you have the makings of a great employee then you can command a higher salary. But to do so you have to be willing to say no to their first offer. This carries with it a risk that the company is not going to come back with a better offer. Sometimes you will be able to get that original offer but other times the company may just decline. Especially if they feel the offer was fair or generous in the first place.

The company knows the date that it needs to know if they are continuing on by. Many times they will wait until the last moment to make a better offer. This can be nerve racking and affect your work. So if you do turn them down the best thing you can do is to focus on making yourself look like the perfect model employee. This is more likely to encourage your manager to fight harder to keep you on.

As an outside hire you do not have the ability to show what you can do. As a result companies are willing to negotiate to keep the best interns after the internship is complete. Because your risk is so much lower compared to the unknown from the outside.

  • So you can use your previous experiences with the company as justification for negotiating better compensation if you have a proven track record of being an above average employee (and obviously should not attempt to negotiate if the opposite is true)? – enderland Aug 21 '12 at 12:46
  • @enderland - Exactly. Though you can always negotiate, you are always better off coming from a position of strength. Also remember that you are judging by your managers and HR criteria criteria not your own. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Aug 21 '12 at 13:39

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