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I'm to meet with a company's HR representative to give me an offer for a job I applied. The HR person insisted on having this offer presented to me in a meeting.

I asked for an email with the offer and I was going to give them my decision once I thought about it. But no... they will present the offer in a meeting.

So now I'm going to yet another meeting.

What are the reasons to have the offer in a meeting and not sent over in an email? Is this just a way to twist your hand in accepting or are there pertinent reasons?

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I would point out that from their point of view that using a face-to-face to put a little pressure on the candidate to accept is a perfectly pertinent and legitmate reason to do this. I'm not saying that is why they did it, just that if it was, then that is a legitimate thing for a company to do. –  HLGEM Mar 14 at 21:23

4 Answers 4

They may wish to discuss the terms of the offer with you because some aspects of it are complex. They may be expecting to negotiate an offer with you, which is faster face to face than it is via email. It may also be that back when email was less common (or even didn't really exist outside of education and very large corps at all) someone wrote down in the HR manual that This Is How Things Were To Be Done and the reasons have been lost in the mists of time.

It sounds like you're rather resentful of this. I'm not sure why but it should be a good thing to talk over an offer with a potential new employer. It's a chance to make sure you're absolutely clear on the terms of the offer and that any queries or questions you have will be answered. "Arm twisting" also goes both ways, remember, though if you see the relationship in those terms before even signing up to it then you may wish to continue your search for employment elsewhere.

You don't have to accept terms you dislike simply because they're offered verbally. You don't have to accept anything until its agreed on and handed to you as a written contract. The last few job offers I had were handled by telephone. Not quite face to face but still very immediate, and this wasn't a problem. I made my points, they made theirs and then we met somewhere in the middle.

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And of course, you don't need to accept or refuse in the meeting. You can ask them to give you the offer in writing and tell them you will think about it and come back to them. So: go to the meeting and enjoy a cup of coffee on their dime! –  Stephan Kolassa Mar 14 at 21:15
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@StephanKolassa except that they will almost certainly not pay for your time. So it's "take time off work, travel to their workplace at your own expense, get a printout of the job offer, go home to think about it". –  Mσᶎ Mar 15 at 3:11
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No; Moz but was to lazy to attempt to type three high ASCII characters on a phone –  Ramhound Mar 16 at 8:28

There are several reason to talk face to face vs over email:

  1. Stock options may be involved, and that's really hard to judge over email. So the offer might really be about the current price of the stock, or things going on internally.

  2. It's easier to gauge how much they really have to pay you.

  3. They get an answer on by a known date. This may coincide with board meetings. When I had to do my last final offer, I still had to wait on a board meeting.

  4. They want you to say how much you want first "he who speaks first loses"

  5. They are afraid that you may use their offer with your current company to get a raise and not take their offer.

As far as twisting your hand, most likely not.

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Company managers are sometimes told not to write things down. If there's a permanent record of an offer, it may be more difficult to retract it - should they want to. I'm not sure what the law is where you are, but it seems sensible on their part not to put anything in writing until they have to. It's just a precaution on their part, maybe.

I would work out what is the minimum you would accept before you go into the meeting and then wait to see what they offer. If it's above: take it.

However, if you feel you are really talented and they really need you, you could counter their offer with a higher one. You need to be in a strong position to do this - and you'll need to justify it. I think the best justification is to convince them that they are offering below the market rate and their offer will not be able to retain your services in the long-term. Have your arguments ready before you go in - and be very professional and polite in the way you deliver them.

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If it's not in writing, it's not an offer. –  Blrfl Mar 15 at 13:06
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@comeAndGo: From the article: "The answer is yes -- as long as you can prove it in court." And I'll leave it at that. –  Blrfl Mar 17 at 4:09

If you really want the job go and have the interview. If just looking around what do you whinge? Some companies have 3 to 5 IRL job interviews. Different participants, different questions, different aspects. Not even a video call can replace an IRL interview, body language is very important and doesn't go through emails, phone calls and videos.

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