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Situation: I'm a Computer Science student interning at company A, and I'm also interviewing with company B (preferred) for a fulltime job. Both are big tech companies, but are not competitors because they target different types of customers. B already knows that I'm interning at A as the internship is listed on my resume. The interviews with B will be before the end of the internship and before A decides whether to offer me or not.

Question: Does it hurt my chances with B since B knows that I'm interning at A and (very likely) there's a possibility that A will offer me a fulltime job after the internship? How should I answer if HR/an interviewer asks me about that possibility?

This question isn't about the timing of the offers but the situation is that B knows exactly that I'm interning and possibly getting an offer with A while normally I can tell B that I'm interviewing with "some other companies". I'm just wondering if that makes any difference.

Thank you!

marked as duplicate by gnat, scaaahu, yochannah, mcknz, IDrinkandIKnowThings Jun 29 '15 at 15:55

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  • I cannot simply tell B that I'm also in the process with "other companies" - Why can't you tell them this? Are companies A and B the only places you're considering to work for? Are there no companies C, D or E? – Brandin Jun 29 '15 at 7:15
  • Of course you can tell B you're interviewing with other companies! After all, they're interviewing other potential employees. – TheMathemagician Jun 29 '15 at 13:38
  • Sorry I didn't make it very clear. Normally when you're interviewing with a company you don't have to tell them specifically which companies you are interviewing with. For me in this case they already know the exact company so I'm just wondering if that makes any difference. – sonph Jun 29 '15 at 18:37
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Does it hurt my chances with B since B knows that I'm interning at A and (very likely) there's a possibility that A will offer me a fulltime job after the internship?

Perhaps, but maybe not.

Companies don't want to go through a long, time-consuming interview and offer process with candidates who they believe aren't interested.

How should I answer if HR/an interviewer asks me about that possibility?

Whenever I've interviewed candidates who were in the middle of a current internship, I've always asked about it. I ask how it is going, what the intern likes and doesn't like about the internship, etc.

I always ask "What do you plan to do if you are offered a full-time position by the company where you are currently interned?"

Depending on the answer (both verbal and non-verbal clues) I try to determine if my company is a serious landing spot, or just a "safety" in case the internship company doesn't come through. If the latter, I might suggest that the candidate get back to me once their internship company decides one way or the other. If I need to fill the position quickly, I might expand my search for candidates.

You should consider this in your dealings with company B. If you are at the point of an offer, they will most likely want to feel sure that you won't accept and then change your mind if an offer from company A becomes reality.

If you would prefer to work for company A, your best bet is to be honest with company B and let them know. If you are an attractive enough candidate, and if the situation is right in company B, they may be willing to hold their decision until company A decides. Or they may not.

And if you think company A is on the verge of making you an offer as well, you may want to chat with them and let them know that time is of the essence.

Either way, you don't want to lie to company B, or accept their offer only to reneg later. That would be a terrible way to start your professional career, and could damage your reputation.

If you would prefer to work from company B, then simply make it clear that you are not seeking any offers from company A, and that no matter what A's counter-offer, you want to work for B.

You just need to convince the interviewers that you are sincere. If company A comes up, you must answer the questions directly. Otherwise, don't even bring up the possibility that company A might make you an offer.

Be ready to make a decision, without waiting for A. Go in knowing what want, and what you are willing to settle for. You don't want to play games here (like trying to play A off of B), or you risk raising doubt and losing an offer.

It's pretty powerful to be able to say "If we can get together on the details of the offer, I'm ready to say 'Yes' right now!"

  • Thanks for your answer! However to clarify my preferred company is B and not A. – sonph Jun 28 '15 at 20:33
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    @sonph Then make that very clear in your interview. Say that while you have appreciated the opportunity with A to do your internship, your preference is very much to work for B for [reason 1, reason 2]. – Jane S Jun 28 '15 at 21:09

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