Asking about internship pay up front?

Hi all,

I was wondering how appropriate it is to ask up front, how much an internship pays before I actually go interview for the position?

Is it cheesy or should I wait after the portfolio review/interview? There is mention of a stipend, but no dollar amount in the advertisement.

Thanks everyone!

Ask yourself the question first “Am I doing this for the experience, or for the money” - poorly paid internships are crappy, but it’s worth questioning what your motivation is for a specific job before asking that question. Some internships also provide room and board which should be taken into account.

I would recommend saving that type of question for the end of the interview. Asking it before even interviewing is a bit preemptive and may turn some employers off. Others (especially if this is a corporate job) may not even know what the intern salary is because that’s all handled by an HR person, not the actual manager who is hiring.


Thanks for chiming. I actually was curious (and conflicted) because I wasn’t sure how I’d be able to make ends meet, if it didn’t pay well. But today I got hired working evenings in a restaurant, so in the chance I get this internship (or any other future opportunity), I can reserve the day light hours for a typical internship. If anything, the pay (at the internship) is not what I should be most worried about but the experience (and networking) I gain.


Personally, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask up front. Prevents you and them from wasting your time if you happen to be far apart on expectations. Experience is important, but you gotta pay the bills.


I’d recommend going and interviewing first. This will give you a chance to evaluate the people, process, and opportunity to grow as a designer. Your opinion of the internship may change. It’s also really important to get interview experience in your situation.

Definitely wait until the end of an interview to ask about pay. It really sets the wrong tone if you ask up front. I don’t have any leeway on pay. It’s one amount and regardless of how wonderful the applicant is, that’s all I can offer. So, I try to give the information on pay, living expenses, costs of international visas, etc. along with my offer so that the applicant can do a little research on whether or not they can make ends meet. I’m not offended if I’m turned down for that reason. However, if you ask up front, it seems like that is all you care about.