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I got a job at a company last week, they sent me an offer letter and I responded back to them with an acceptance mail the very next day. In the offer letter it was written that if you did not respond back with the signed offer letter within 3 days the offer may be withdrawn. Here's the thing, this is my first job change so I don't know how these things work.

I called up HR the very next day and told them I would be sending the signed offer letter next week as I had to mention the joining date in the offer letter and I thought I would have to resign first at my current job and get a relieving date from them before I can give a joining date to the new company. The HR person agreed.

I sent them the signed offer letter 5 business days after they extended the offer and HR has been unresponsive to phone calls and emails ever since (for a week).

I'm concerned whether they have blocked me because I've extended their deadline or they have given the job to somebody else or the job doesn't exist anymore. I have no clue what's going on and what I should do? I have already resigned from my current job and I'm worried.

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Masked Man Jun 14 '18 at 11:05
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Contact the hiring manager or whomever you interviewed with directly, explain that you have not been able to contact HR, have resigned your current position but haven't heard anything since returning the letter.

  • I don't know the hiring manager. They would be assigning teams after joining. – Justin Marsh Jun 7 '18 at 14:38
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    You had to interview with somebody. Contact them. – JazzmanJim Jun 7 '18 at 15:11
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The subtext of your question is, "Did I make a terrible mistake quitting my old job before I'm solid in the new one?" The answer is "Probably, yes." You're not alone in this. See the 'Ask the Headhunter' blog:

Lately I’m getting a surprising number of questions from readers about job offers that explode — after the candidate relies on them to make career and financial decisions. I think employers, HR departments, and staffing firms have crossed a critical line that’s telling us they’re either stupid and inept, or that they’re callous and lack integrity. When the employer “takes back” a job offer for any reason, the applicant usually cannot “take back” a resignation. In one case, a reader cancelled her lease, moved her family, and wound up homeless because a personnel jockey instructed her husband to quit his job and move to a new city — then the jockey reneged on the promise of the new job.

I’m collecting stories about exploding job offers because I’m worried this is a dangerous new trend. I think we should chronicle and discuss it, to help you avoid having job offers blow up in your face.

AACK. Call your contacts at the new company. You should definitely talk to HR and insist on a real answer. If you don't get one, the answer is "No, we didn't really offer you a job." The good news is, if that's the case, you didn't really want to work for an organization that would jerk you around like that. The bad news is, they DID jerk you around, and now you're in a bad spot. Better to discover this sooner than later.

I would tell your current employer that the other folks didn't give you a start date, and now you're not so sure you want to go, so you can continue working there indefinitely. The current employer probably won't agree.

Ask the Headhunter is a great resource for how to find a better job (I have no relationship w ATH, except commenting and asking questions there.)

You need to put your job search into high gear!

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Given that you don't know the hiring manager, I recommend continuing trying to contact someone in HR at the new company. You can try calling the main company line, explain your situation and ask to speak with someone more senior in HR. May sure you document everything in writing.

Worst case scenario, you can try to unresign from your current position. It's not uncommon and will be a little awkward, but at least you will stay employed.

  • I have no idea what is a good time for me to wait before doing that. It has been 4 days since they've stopped responding. Should I wait longer? – Justin Marsh Jun 7 '18 at 16:07
  • I would contact the main company line NOW saying you want to confirm all of your paperwork are in order being that this is very time sensitive. It's possible the person you were working with went on vacation, is sick, etc. I wouldn't start blaming that HR contact that hasn't gotten back to you, but I would be factual about when you contacted them. – jcmack Jun 7 '18 at 16:14
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Receiving a offer letter is just that... a letter with your name on it and some offer. Now you said you mailed it in and it is halfway across the country. Did you factor in mail time along with your delayed response of 5 days? I assume you're in the USA, and local mail takes a day, while out of state mail usually takes 2-4 days, and across the country mail takes about 4-5 days using the USPS. So if you told him give you 5 days, you'd have to mail it by day 1. If you mailed it day 5, then the delay would have really been up to 10 days. Another option is you can fax it in from a local fedex office.

In the future, do not resign from your position until you a) have a offer letter, b) you signed that offer letter, and c) the company accepted your signed offer letter and started you with some basic onboarding process (drug test time, HR material, code of conduct, etc). Usually the start date is 2 weeks out from the time of the offer letter acceptance so you can quit on good terms.

As of right now, if you're sure your letter arrived by now, I'd call them every few hours. Since you don't know the hiring manager - another lesson learned - I'd call and email everyday until you get a response. Another option - though a bit unorthodox - you can do is if you haven't heard for a few days, you can beg for your previous job back if you left on good terms.

  • By mail I meant email. I have a notice period of 2 months not 2 weeks, so I don't know if they think there is a lot of time to negotiate joining date. But being inexperienced I did make the mistake of resigning just as I got an offer letter from them. Now I don't know what is the status of the offer. – Justin Marsh Jun 7 '18 at 18:59
  • I don't know whether I'm reasonably worried or just paranoid. – Justin Marsh Jun 7 '18 at 19:01
  • No, I don't think you are paranoid. You emailed your acceptance in during the timeframe you both agreed with and now they aren't responding even with a acknowledgement. It's reasonable to attempt to contact them. – Dan Jun 8 '18 at 14:10
  • Don't jump to conclusion yet, but be ready to call your old job back to explain the deal fell through and you made a mistake. They might give you your old job back, but it's a good idea to do this sooner as they may fill your position. – Dan Jun 8 '18 at 14:10

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