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My friend interviewed with a big multi-national corporation for a Software Engineer position two weeks ago. The day after the interview he received a call from the recruiter saying that they are extending an offer to him and asked him about his expectations, etc. He mentioned that the offer letter would be delivered to him by the end of the week. However, now it has been two weeks but he hasn't received it yet. When he contacted the recruiter, he was told that the letter is being generated and that he will receive it soon.

My friend was actually supposed to start working after these two weeks, but he still does not have the offer letter. Could this mean that he has been put 'on hold' while the team is looking for a new member? Do recruiters and companies do this sort of thing - saying that you have been selected but then putting on hold?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Dukeling, OldPadawan, Rory Alsop, L.Dutch, gnat Jul 15 '18 at 21:40

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    As many recruiters and family recently advised me during my own recent job search, take this into consideration, especially if he keeps getting delayed. Even if it was all an accident, does your friend want to work for a company that struggles to keep deadlines repeatedly? And both big and small companies can have this problem, although frequently for different reasons. It may be a sign. Right now is a great time to be looking for a job, so might be able to afford to be selective. – Keozon Jul 13 '18 at 22:19
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Do recruiters and companies do like this - saying that you have been selected but then putting on hold?

Sadly yes, this is something that happens. Nothing is set in stone until you get an offer in writing. I can only speculate as to whether or not they're still planning to make you an offer; however, in the meantime, you can and probably should continue to quietly pursue other opportunities. A lot of separate forces have to come together to approve a new hire, especially at large companies, and unexpected setbacks can occur at any point.

I don't mean to be discouraging--there's a good chance they're still planning to hire you and just need time to work out the logistics. Just don't put all your eggs in one basket.

  • I'll ask him to still continue interviewing. Thanks. – J. Doe Jul 13 '18 at 3:53
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    "It takes 10 minutes to draft a letter and you've been waiting for two weeks, so the recruiter is obviously lying." This is not true at all. There is a large difference between a verbal offer and a formal written offer which must be approved by any number of people. Sometimes the formal process just takes time. I believe there was at least a month between my verbal and written offers at my current job. – David K Jul 13 '18 at 16:17
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    I have to agree with David here, it really depends on how well prepared the company is to begin with, and how the infrastructure is set up. Sure, small companies (i.e. start-ups) tend to be very fast with those things, bigger companies however (that would hire recruiters) may take a while to get things prepared. – Seth Jul 13 '18 at 16:29
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    Pick up the phone, call the person who interviewed you and ask what the status is. – Peter Jul 13 '18 at 16:54
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    @DavidK I've worked for both big and small companies and have always gotten a contract within a few days of getting the verbal offer but your experience is a valuable contribution. I'll revise the answer but I don't think it changes the main takeaway that the offer isn't final until all the formal processes have been resolved. – AffableAmbler Jul 13 '18 at 18:06
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The number one rule here is to follow up a verbal agreement with an email transcribing what you've understood from the call/meeting, acting as a starting point for the paper trail. And call again when you feel it's appropriate.

In this case, as the timeline was set for 2 weeks, I'd have sent them a generic reminder after about a week, then one in the middle of the following week, asking for an update about the written agreement, and become more pressing as time went by, until I had a satisfying answer.

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As others have said, the offer is not an offer until it is in writing. Therefore, even though "your friend" ( ;-) ) has an "offer", he does not actually have an offer. As such, he should still be interviewing, and if he gets another offer with another company in the meantime, he should take it and throw this other company to the curb.

As for the timeline, he should make it clear to the company that he will not start working for them until the offer letter is delivered, signed, and returned. Start dates are always negotiable, and no respectable company will expect someone to work for them without an official contract of employment. Depending on his feeling about how much the company likes him, he may want to consider telling the company outright: "You may say you have an offer coming, but to me an offer is not an offer until it's in writing, so in the meantime I will continue interviewing elsewhere, and I may take a different offer if one is presented". If the company in question really wants your friend, then this will kick their butt in gear to get the offer letter out ASAP; contrarily though it might make them question their offer if it comes off too aggressive and he's not a rock star. I actually did this myself when I was interviewing for my current company when they did something similar to me, and I had the offer letter in hand the afternoon of the next day, although YMMV.

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