Best Practices

Offer to Acceptance: How Much Time Do You Give Interns?

December 12, 2018 | By NACE Staff

Best Practices
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TAGS: best practices, Internships, nace insights,

Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

How long do employers give interns to decide whether to accept an offer of a full-time position? A recent conversation among employers in the NACE Community shows that many employers want to give soon-to-be graduates plenty of time to make their decision.

One recruiter noted that most career services websites have guidelines for offers and acceptances for students at their schools; she reminds potential hires of their school’s guidelines. The recruiter adds that students are welcome to accept the offer earlier than the guidelines specify, if they wish.

Another recruiter remarked that the decision timeline is strictly enforced at some schools, and employers violating the guidelines may not be allowed to recruit on campus.

The shortest amount of time allowed between offer and acceptance mentioned was seven days, although that employer is willing to consider an extension to the deadline to allow students to attend their campus career fair. While the recruiting manager doesn’t mind students wanting to see what other opportunities might be available, he won’t allow career fair offers to be used as a negotiating tool. He’s willing to extend the acceptance time, but will not negotiate his original offer.

Other employers mentioned October 1, Thanksgiving, November 1, and the end of November as possible deadlines for job decisions.

“We want them to have plenty of time to make the decision,” said one campus recruiter, but “we need time, if we get declines, to fill those roles.”

Another said, “We encourage them to meet with academic counselors, professors, family, [and others] to discuss the opportunity.”

“We typically extend all offers the second week in September,” still another recruiter said. “I check in via phone call [around the end of October] to see how the semester is going and if they have any questions on our offer. Most of them accept the offer during that phone call.”

How much time do you give interns or any potential hire to accept your offer? See “Setting Reasonable Deadlines for Job Offers,” developed by the NACE Principles for Ethical Professional Practice Committee, for guidance. Weigh in with your thoughts in the NACE Community.