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I am currently on an unpaid internship at quite a well known company (company A). When I started the internship I was told that I would probably end up getting a job at the end of my internship and that it would last anywhere between 3-6 months. I have been here now for 3 months and I recently had a meeting with my boss, regarding how I'm progressing during my internship and whether he would consider taking me on as a paid full time job. He said that he didn't want to think about taking me on as an employee until at least 4 months, but it could possibly be 6 months.

I was then contacted regarding a job I applied to before I started this internship. They offered me a paid job, however the company (company B) isn't as well known at all and its quite a bit further away than my current internship.

I am unsure whether to take the paid job from company B as I currently am living on savings and borrowed money from family. Preferably I'd want to stay at the company A as it a really well known company, its close to where I live, I know how the company works and all the people here.

My question is, do you think it would be okay to ask my boss or HR for a job guarantee at the end of my internship? I'm willing to complete my 6 month internship however I don't want to decline a paid offer at company B to then not get a job at company A after being there for 6 months. And if its acceptable to ask for a guarantee, how would I word it? I feel like in order to decline this offer, I simply need a guarantee of job security at company A after my internship is completed.

  • There are some related questions, but they mostly deal with asking initially, which you've already done. – Dukeling Sep 26 '17 at 10:47
  • During the meeting with your boss - was this all he said or was there more, did he tell you if you were on track, what improvements he expects etc.? – Sebastian Proske Sep 26 '17 at 10:48
  • If the alternative is leaving, you don't lose anything from asking. – Dukeling Sep 26 '17 at 10:52
  • As an FYI regarding internships, you may be interested in your rights (gov.uk) – WorkerWithoutACause Sep 26 '17 at 10:57
  • To be honest, it sounds like just the kind of thing a company that has unpaid internships would say to string the unpaid interns into providing more and better free work since they're already screwing you by not paying you. – DLS3141 Sep 26 '17 at 15:51
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Please be advised that if your current employer (A) promises to offer you a paid job, then this needs to be in writing. You may want to show that offer to a lawyer in your jurisdiction if you are unsure as to what it may promise.

In your case, I would schedule a face-to-face meeting with your boss at A to discuss the shift to paid employment. Then you can make a choice from there. Be direct, as you now have the opportunity to walk away and accept a firm offer with company B. That gives more leverage to you than having no offer at all.


As an aside, from gov.uk:

An intern is classed as a worker and is due the National Minimum Wage if they’re promised a contract of future work.

So if A does make a promise of future work, make sure you get the pay for the remainder of your intern that you deserve. Again, if you are unsure on anything legalese, please contact a lawyer or the Citizen's Advice Bureau.

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It's worth bearing in mind that a "guarantee" of a job isn't anything of the sort - an unscrupulous employer could say that they "guarantee" you a job once your internship ends and then immediately serve you a week's notice. Of course the same is true at company B so you either way you are carrying some risk.

There's nothing wrong with asking though and you just have to make your own judgement on whether you feel they are trustworthy. Asking in your situation is complicated a little bit by the fact that you have already raised the question (and been rebuffed) but given the situation has changed for you since you last had the talk with your boss it's legitimate to raise it again and really unemotional honesty is your best approach here.

Something like:

Hi [Boss], I know we've talked about this before and I don't want to sound like I'm pressuring you but since we last discussed it I've been contacted by another company that I had discussions with before I started here and they have offered me a job. Obviously I would much prefer to be working here but ultimately I do need a paying job and I can't afford to turn this offer down unless I know there is actually a job here for me to work in.

  • Good answer. If they value the contribution enough to want to keep the intern as a paid employee, eventually, they aren't going to lose that potential valuable contribution over trying to squeeze an extra month or two of free work. Paid employees make money for their companies many times their compensation. – PoloHoleSet Sep 26 '17 at 14:34
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My question is, do you think it would be okay to ask my boss or HR for a job guarantee at the end of my internship? I'm willing to complete my 6 month internship however I don't want to decline a paid offer at company B to then not get a job at company A after being there for 6 months. And if its acceptable to ask for a guarantee, how would I word it? I feel like in order to decline this offer, I simply need a guarantee of job security at company A after my internship is completed.

Yes, you can ask for a job guarantee. However, employers generally aren't willing to "guarantee" anything for interns, so it seems unlikely that you'll get what you are after.

If you decide to go that route, your best bet would be to talk about it openly to your boss. Explain your dilemma. Explain that you'd prefer to stay at your current company, but are worried about getting an offer at the end of your internship. There's no need to discuss the specifics of the offer you have in hand, but letting your boss know that one exists might prompt him to offer some suggestions.

I've been the manager of paid co-op students in the past. Often I would advise the interns that I could not guarantee a position for them once they graduated as there wasn't yet room in the budget. Perhaps your manager will be open with you regarding future employability.

As difficult as it may be, you are likely faced with a difficult decision with incomplete information. Accept a solid offer of a paid job at a company that isn't as well known and is farther away, or stay with an unpaid internship for a few more months in hopes of landing a job with your current employer.

I'm also assuming that while you know the compensation package being offered by the new company, you don't even know what you would be offered by your current employer, should they make you an offer at the end of your internship.

For me, it would boil down to my confidence in my abilities and my confidence that my current employer will recognize those abilities with a good job offer.

Also remember that if you were able to land an offer from this new company now, you'll very likely be able to land a similar offer from yet another company in a few months, should this internship not turn into a job.

This is something only you can decide. Consider what you know about yourself and your company, your financial situation, and the tradeoffs between the two employers.

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This answer assumes you are being unpaid during your internship, you imply this in your question but are not explicit about it.

Company A is exploiting you. There is a culture that seems to have grown that people can be asked to work for nothing to gain skills and the possibility of future work. You are providing value to the company and not being compensated. I have no idea how or even if this is legal but it is exploitation all the same.

So given this, I would suggest you forget about how well known company A is. They do not sound like a reputable employer. They are using their 'fame' as a means to exploit workers.

Company B have shown they value you and your skill set and are not seeking to exploit you. They seem deserving of your time and efforts.

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