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I am currently looking for an internship, and I have already done research into a number of different companies I would be interested in working for. One of these companies has posted a position similar to what I am looking for and did not mention whether it was an immediate/urgent position to fill. There are, however, other companies without such job postings for which this question should apply.

Suppose you would like to start working now, but have a month-long obligation in a couple of months, and would not be able to start working steadily for at least a total of 3 months. Would it be best to try and secure a position now or wait until you are completely finished?

I see several options:

  1. Apply/Interview now but do not commit, let them continue interviewing until you are available or until they find someone they like better since they will be comparing you to everyone after your interview if not hired immediatelly. The job may not still be available.

  2. Apply/Interview now and commit, tell them you would like to begin training now, but will need a month to take care of prior obligations at a predetermined time. Some companies are respectful and accomadating of prior obligations being presented before being hired.

  3. Apply/Interview now and commit, but do not start until after the month-long obligation.

  4. Do not apply/interview until after the month-long obligation has ended and hope there is still something available somewhere.

I am not sure which of these options is most appropriate, reasonable and/or will have the likely best outcome in terms of success in securing the position, not burning bridges with the company, and not creating any other sort of friction should I deal with this company in some fashion in the future.

*PLEASE NOTE: This is for an internship, which may be looked at as more leniently than a full-time salaried position. If there are subtle differences between how this should be handled between the two, please note this in your answer.

  • Are you currently in college? – Bowen Apr 10 '15 at 20:35
  • It would be a college-level student internship. – user58446 Apr 10 '15 at 20:38
  • Does the college have possible placements that would start after the obligation? I can remember being in university where there could be ads for placements as a co-op student even though it may not start for a while which could be a few months in some cases and wonder if there is something similar here or not. – JB King Apr 10 '15 at 20:41
  • There is no affiliation between the comany and the school. The question also implies that it is unknown whether the position is urgent or not, or even if there is a posting since the application may be being solicited directly to the company. – user58446 Apr 10 '15 at 20:48
  • 3 months can be too long for some companies, but may be just fine for some others. As others have said in the answers, you have nothing to "lose" by applying now as long as you're upfront about when you can start. 3 months may give you a competitive disadvantage (some companies may prefer a quick start) but the time frame doesn't sound "unreasonable" on its face. E.g. imagine a company hires someone from abroad who has current commitments. 3 months for that person to move out, close contracts, etc, would not be unreasonable. – Brandin Apr 11 '15 at 10:21
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You should apply now and briefly mention the availability in your cover letter or something similar so it won't come as a surprise later. It might be quite frustrating for the employer to find it out only when discussing the offer! No need to worry about early training and etc right now, if they are ok with your availability then you'd work out the plan together.

You have nothing to gain by waiting, they might hire someone else meanwhile :)

  • ...but do I have anything to lose by applying now? – user58446 Apr 10 '15 at 22:43
  • @user58446 very unlikely. The only scenario I can imagine is that they set the bar high now, wouldn't accept you hoping to find someone to start immediately (although it's not clear if that's what they want). If they can't find a candidate 2 months later, your availability wouldn't be a problem anymore. Or, if that happens, they might remember you if you applied earlier and contact you. As you can see, there are a lot of ifs making it highly unlikely. – Gediminas Apr 11 '15 at 15:18
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This is completely dependent on the company. When I was a student, I've interviewed with companies several months before starting, for both internships and full time. They had no problem with that, but that was their prerogative.

You should just contact the company and be honest about when you can start. Don't even mention "training" or anything like that. If it's too far in the future the company will say so and tell you to interview later. If it's ok, then they'll interview you. Nobody on the internet can give you a definite answer.

  • But I thought I could find anything on the internet! – user58446 Apr 10 '15 at 21:46
  • Thank you for your answer, I'm not sure who got to it first. I will come back and +1 you when I get the reputation. – user58446 Apr 12 '15 at 0:40

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