I know that this question has been asked a few times but my situation is a little unique as you will see.

Approximately two weeks ago on a Monday I received a verbal offer for a summer internship program. The person who called me and made the offer was the one who interviewed me, and they said that I should receive an employment contract emailed in that week. They also said to contact them if I had not received an employment contract by the Friday. Friday came around with no email so I sent the person who gave me an offer an email to let them know. They responded the following week and said that they would get onto HR and let me know once they've heard back - they also confirmed I received the email by calling me. It has now been 8 days since the last contact and I have not heard anything from HR or from the person who made me the verbal offer.

Because of this, I don't know the start date (all I know is it's sometime in November) or any other information about the job (apart from location).

Given this is for an internship, it's my first time in a professional role, so I'm a little hesitant to call and ask for updates lest I come across as needy or annoying. (but keep in mind I'm pretty excited to have received a verbal offer for an internship - they are quite competitive)

What should I do?

  • 1
    Why would it be unprofessional for you to try to find out your start date? Are you interning as a psychic? – Nelson Oct 4 '16 at 6:07
  • I am not interning as a psychic. Do you suggest contacting them now or waiting a little longer? What do you think I should say? – JuniorPerson Oct 4 '16 at 6:16

If you haven't heard anything in a week, it's time to call. Use the telephone this time, and follow up with an email.

Just phone the relevant person and indicate that you need contract, start date, and other information.

Waiting a week between communications is reasonable and won't come across as needy or annoying.

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Lack of simple and promised follow-up on a start date and getting the offer in writing are red flags. If you were pursuing any other opportunities, continue forward with those processes as aggressively as you would if you had no offer made, which, technically, you don't.

You are completely right to follow up with them, and it's alarming and unprofessional of them that you even have to. This is often an indication that something is changing with the situation, and they're not going to tell you that until it is definite. Have fall-back options so you're not starting from scratch if this falls through.

If someone else decides they want you on board and they give you an offer in writing, don't hesitate to accept if the opportunity is one that you want. You have been waiting on them, without communication. You certainly don't owe them anything in terms of extra communication if your situation changes. If they lose you, it's their own fault.

Now, what to say? LozInSpace has a pretty solid suggestion on how to word it so you're concerns are out there, but not in a pushy or confrontational fashion.

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Send another email or make another call. Something along the lines of

Hi Bob, It's been a while since we spoke and I was wondering if there's been any progress on my written offer as it's been over a week since we last spoke about it. I am very excited to be joining and at the same time I am worried that I might have missed some paperwork or something in writing that might jeopardise a smooth start.

Apologies if this is all in hand - it's my first job so I do not know if this is progressing as usual or there's something I need to do. I would greatly appreciate if you can help me out with an update or some reassurance and/or expectations that would put my mind at rest.

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