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Asked by Denise on May 11, 2016

I went in to what I believed to be an interview for an internship yesterday, only to be greeted as though I was already part of the team. I did not speak much during this "meeting", as there were multiple people in the room speaking about event details I had no knowledge of. Yet today I received an email thanking me for my time and giving me information on my assigned tasks. There was no mention of pay whatsoever. The email did mention that my cell phone usage related to the job would be compensated. I want to ask/negotiate some other form of pay or compensation in my reply email but I am not sure how to do so. Any advice?

Answered by Mike, Hiring Expert at Avery Dennison Corporation, on May 13, 2016

Hi!  

I have to say, that is a very odd situation.  I know that I have seen or heard my share of odd hiring practices, but  this is up there.  I would back pedal a bit and reach out to your main point of contact at the company to ask some of the questions you are alluding to: what are the details of the internship, will I be compensated, what are the expectations, etc?  If you can't get a straight answer or are still feeling unsure, ask for the HR department assigned to that team and try doing some digging there.  Often times, you might find an HR rep that is partnered with that team that could help gather that information for you.  

But, if you still can't seem to get a good understanding of what is going on, I would consider exploring other opportunities.  If the team you are interviewing with can't follow up or explain some basics of the role, it's probably a good indicator of the quality of work you would be dealing with there.  

In summary, try to get someone on the phone and ask those questions directly.  If you can't seem to get a good response, tread carefully, or (better yet), find a new opportunity.

Good luck! 

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Answered by Lori, Hiring Expert at Cigna, on May 19, 2016

Congratulations, I guess? It seems like there was some breakdown in communication in the hiring process. Did you have someone that originally set up the interview? I would recommend contacting them to share how the meeting went and about the email you received. I would let this person know that you are flattered that they are interested in moving forward with your candidacy, but that you would be remiss if you didn't get answers to some key questions that you have. I would then ask those questions from expectations of hours, duration of internship, pay, and anything else you want to know. Once you have those answers, you will be able to decide if this is a role you want to accept. If not, you can give a call back and/or send an email that you appreciate the time they invested in you, but you have decided to accept another role that best matches your education and experience with your professional goals.Good luck!

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Answered by Sebastian, Hiring Expert at Grace, on May 20, 2016

That's an interesting but at the same time quite uncomfortable situation. Hiring processes can certainly vary based on company size, HR model an internal policies/procedures. However, the process should be transparent and allow you to get a good understand of what your assignment is going to look like. It's hard to guess without knowing anything about the company or their hiring process, but to me this looks like if there was a disconnect between the Hiring Manager and HR.

I would recommend that you reach out to your initial contact person. Ideally a recruiter or HR representative who would actually be aware of the hiring practices. Also, please keep in mind that it is totally fair and acceptable to ask those questions. "Who will be my main point of contact?"; "What is the pay going to look like?" etc. Even though they reached out to you via E-Mail with some kind of a confirmation, I would encourage you to call them directly. Again, each company handles their processes differently, but you might even have to complete some pre-employment tasks such as physical, background check or forms before you can officially start. I don't know if that is the case with the company you had an interview with, but it is not unlikely that some process steps are missing/incomplete.

Good luck and hopefully everything will work out with your desired internship position.  

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