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I'm a software development intern going into my junior year. When I was going through the application process for the company I'm interning at, I had applied as a software development intern for a specific department. After 6 rounds of interviews I was extended a position, but not in the department that I originally applied for.

I was wondering how I can go about asking my boss why I was placed in this specific department rather than the one I applied for. I don't want to sound ungrateful for the opportunity to work at the company, but I would like to know what about my application/interviews may have inhibited me from being placed in the department I wanted. I usually go to get coffee with my mentor frequently and I've thought about asking him during these trips, but I don't want to make it awkward (we're actually the only 2 people really developing for this department).

The reason I'm wondering is because my role isn't really a software developer for major systems; it's more like a software developer for in-house data processing applications to present to a management team and make business decisions. Although I am highly appreciative of the opportunity to work at this company, I would honestly just like feedback on why I was placed here rather than with some of the other development interns who are in the major systems group.

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    Please to not remove relative information from a question that is over a year and a half old. Your edit cut out any reason as to why you thought you should be in a different department, which is very important to the question. Why do you feel the need to remove the information in the first place? – David K Apr 19 '17 at 16:22
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    Georgio, if you are concerned with your name being associated with this content you can have this question disconnected from your account (so people who find your profile, like coworkers, won't see it there), you can use the "contact us" link at the bottom of the page to request that. I've done it before when I realized that I shared something that was potentially damaging to my career. – Myles Apr 19 '17 at 19:02
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It would be appropriate to bring this up with your mentor during one of your coffee sessions. If you're worried that he or she will think you're ungrateful for bringing up the topic, start off by saying that. You can keep it casual; don't over think it.

"I was curious about the internship program and how the company determines who is on what team. I interviewed for [insert team name] and was wondering if there was a specific reason I was placed in this group instead of the other. I'm grateful for the opportunity to be at the company regardless. I was just hoping to understand the placement process a bit better."

I can't see how your mentor would take issue if you phrase your question like that. If you find yourself feeling nervous or uncomfortable bringing this up in person, try drafting an email - short and to the point.

  • Really good answer, make it objective rather than subjective :) – Jane S Jun 13 '15 at 7:28
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Yes ask. This might be an opportunity for you to learn something about how you interviewed. You might learn about a weakness, or you may actually learn you have a strength.

Remember they did decide to give you a position, even if the position isn't the one you wanted. They may have had too many people applying for the same position, or maybe this one opened up at the last minute. Either way they though you were too valuable to not find something for you.

So yes, ask. Find a quiet time to discuss it. Keep it calm and look for learning opportunities in the discussion. Remember one of your goals, assuming you aren't doing this just for college credit, is to try and build this internship into a better internship next year, or eventually a full-time job.

The info you get from this discussion may be very useful for getting the dream position next time.

  • +1 for noting it could be a strength that they noticed. It could definitely be a "Seems strong in X, might be just what we need for this in-house project." – Myles Jun 15 '15 at 19:53

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