How to ask about salary BEFORE interviewing and wasting time for college internship?

Hello...I recently got a part-time internship interview as a business analyst for January. The job post said it's a paid internship, but doesn't say how much. To pay my monthly tuition, I need at least $15/hour to make it worthwhile. I don't want to dress up and go to an interview only to find out it's $9/hour you know?

I understand that if it's a good resume boost, then the wage shouldn't matter, but in my case, I'm more concerned about paying off my expensive tuition and rent at the moment.

I'd like to respond to their email thanking them for considering me for an interview, but how do I also ask about the hourly wage without being rude?

Comments (11)

Dec 23, 2009 - 4:58pm

Have past students/alum done this internship before? You can reach out to them. Unless having one interview is too time consuming for you, it's generally better not to ask and just go to the interview and ask there in person and explain your situation at the end.

Dec 23, 2009 - 5:01pm

Normally I would just go to the interview anyways. But I've already left for home for winter break (they got back to me 3 days before Christmas - nice). I could take a Greyhound back to campus town for $50 and am willing to do it, but only if the internship is worth it, you know?

Dec 23, 2009 - 5:12pm

If that is the case and you can't find information from alums, glassdoor, or Vault, then just ask. If it's a big firm you can also just ask here on WSO and see if the many users here can tell you whether or not it was paid.

Other than that, I guess you can word a very polite email (hopefully to HR and not to the analysts/associates that will interview you) and explain your situation.

Dec 23, 2009 - 7:42pm

^ eh i would really avoid asking beforehand. i'd only ask if you're doing it for the money and you don't need the name on your resume at all really. if they're legit they might be offended if you aren't willing to sell your first born to work there. some places are like that mainly because there are people willing to do just that.

"Ride your bike. Drink good beer." - Fat Tire Amber Ale
Dec 23, 2009 - 8:13pm

Asking beforehand is huge risk, and might get you dinged no matter how well you do in the interview. I'd just bite the bullet, pay for the bus ticket, and go to the interview.

If you REALLY need to ask, I'd make something up so it seems slightly less offensive. Something like..."Based on my financial aid package, I need to earn a certain amount of money during the semester and am considering between a couple of work-study jobs that I would work in addition to this job. If you could give me some guidance on the hourly wage if I were to get an offer with your company, it would make it easier for me to figure out my work-study job and get my financial aid issues squared away."

Basically, some bullshit like that to make it seem like the situation is out of your hands. Again, I'd recommend not asking and just going to the interview.

Dec 23, 2009 - 8:50pm

CLGCTrader: That's very nice of you.

You guys have to understand not everyone can just shell out 50 bucks for an internship that he can't afford to work at. Go interview and get the job, also have you considered the many student loans online? You may not want to take out more debt but it is a great way to keep focus on academics and job search while at college. You have a whole life of working for a paycheck to pay it back and usually many of these loans don't require payment until 3-6 months after you graduate.

Dec 23, 2009 - 11:36pm

I would absolutely advise against asking the question, despite your situation. I am sitting here and fully understand where you're coming from, but a company that is willing to PAY you for a part-time internship will only see it as you being greedy, one way or another. If at all possible, I'd just try to bite the bullet and buy the bus ticket...

No way you can drive your car (or borrow a friend's car) to get to the interview?

Dec 24, 2009 - 10:20am

At the very worst it's a $50 practice interview that's way cheaper and (not surprisingly) more realistic than other interview prep options. Bite the bullet, get two less cases of beer, and take the interview. Do not ask the question.

- Child Please.
Dec 24, 2009 - 5:28pm

Don't ask. It will tank from there. See if you can move the interview back for when you're back in school. If you have the balls, I would say something like, "My family decided to visit my relatives in Ohio for the entire Winter Break, is there any way we can move the interview back one week?".

Or just buy the ticket and go interview. Make it clear you are asking because of your financial situation.

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