How Long to Give Interns to Mull a Full-time Job Offer?

July 15, 2019 | By NACE Staff

A young woman reviews a job offer on her cell phone

TAGS: best practices, Internships,

Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

It’s halfway through summer: the time that employers and interns start thinking about whether an internship is going to turn into a full-time job offer.

Recently in the NACE Community, one recruiter noted that her organization extends full-time offers before the end of August. While she didn’t think it fair to demand an immediate answer, she wondered what an appropriate amount of time is to give a student to make a decision.

A respondent replied that most career services websites have guidelines addressing offer and acceptance dates for students at their schools, and she reminds potential hires of their school’s guidelines. Another recruiter remarked that the decision timeline is strictly enforced at some schools; employers violating the guidelines may not be allowed to recruit on campus.

NACE offers guidelines that recommend employers give students time to explore their employment decisions, allowing them time to attend career fairs and participate in on-campus interviews. Deadlines, the guidelines say, will vary given the student’s experience with the employer, offering timing, and proximity to the graduation date, among other factors.

Most employers in the discussion agreed that the timeline could be fluid, and most said they would be willing to consider extensions on deadlines. One organization says that making early offers—three weeks before the internship ends—demonstrates a desire to have interns become full-time employees.

A recruiter noted that because interns have had time to get to know the company, it requested a decision within seven days. He’s willing to consider an extension to the deadline so that interns may attend campus career fairs to see what other jobs are offered. However, he added that some students want to use career fair offers to renegotiate his offer—something he’s unwilling to do.

An organization that extends offers at the end of August and through early September gives interns until October 1 to decide. The recruiter notes that the company sets that deadline because it needs time to fill jobs that are declined.

Summer interns at another company are given until Thanksgiving to decide.

“We encourage them to meet with academic counselors, professors, family, [and others] to discuss the opportunity,” says the recruiter, noting that most students make up their minds by the end of September.

Another recruiter makes full-time offers to interns by Labor Day, giving December graduates until mid-November to decide and May graduates until the middle of January to accept or decline. This recruiter checks in with potential hires at the end of October to see if they have questions about the offer, and often gets acceptances during that phone call.

How much time will you give your interns to accept a full-time offer? Offer your thoughts in the NACE Community.