Q. How can I tactfully tell an intern that we can’t offer him/her employment?

July 13, 2010 at 10:11 am Leave a comment

by the Intern Coach

A. That’s a tough question, especially if the student intern has performed his/her duties beyond expectation. First, take it as a compliment to the company and to your internship program that the student would like to become an employee. Then, consider the following ways to tell the student that you can’t offer employment: 

  • Begin by expressing your thanks to the student for an outstanding performance as an intern. Note specific accomplishments. You might take this opportunity to present a laudatory recommendation letter to the student or a certificate of appreciation from the company for a job well done.
  • Explain that the company is not hiring anyone at this time. If the company has had lay-offs in the recent past, you might mention that, too. However, stress that the company’s future looks bright. Ask the student intern to stay in touch with you and the company. Assure him/her that when an opening occurs, he/she will be considered for the position.
  • Offer to write a reference to another company to which the student might apply for employment. Or, if you know of any potential jobs in other companies, you might refer the student to the appropriate person, building the student’s networking opportunities. You could invite the student to go to a meeting or event with you, where he/she could network to connect with potential employers.
  • Suggest that your student continue to intern with the company in a virtual internship if you would like to keep the intern as a possible candidate for future openings. Or you may have some consulting projects for the student that would extend the relationship. However, if you feel that the intern is not a good fit for employment, you would only be creating false hope. It would be much better to cut off any further collaboration, citing the recession and weak economy as the villains.

Entry filed under: Intern to employee. Tags: , , , , .

Q. How can the staff express thanks to our hard-working interns? Q. When there are issues with an intern’s performance, how should I handle the intern’s request for a reference?

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This blog is dedicated to employers with a focus on how to hire and manage interns effectively. We will have a variety of experts who will share helpful ideas, tips and more. We invite you to comment, ask questions and share your experiences. You are also welcome to submit written contributions to this blog.

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