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-- I posted this earlier but somehow got deleted; posting again--

This is the timeline and other details:

The headhunter contacted me initially in May 2018. The job is in City-X and the parent company from City-Y is trying to setup a new branch in City-X for which they needed someone to head their whole operations in City-X. It is a managerial role & I need to lead a new branch in City-X, do local hiring, setup budgets etc, basically start everything from scratch. It is a fairly small but very rich company with the single CEO deciding everything. They already have business running in City-Y & wanted to expand in City-X.

I was contacted by headhunter, and he expressed interest in June to take it further. They held one round of interviews in City-X in June and then wanted to fly me to City-Y for interviews with parent company & other stakeholders, for which I needed a visa for City-Y. I waited as the company had just hired a new CTO and were busy with their new acquisitions and other important decisions being taken by the new CTO.

Finally, the company sent a formal endorsement letter needed for me to get a visa to visit City-Y for final round of interviews in August. Then they were supposed to arrange for flights and accommodation to fly me to City-Y which took another few weeks. Finally I flew in September to City-Y where I met all the stakeholders and it went exceptionally well. THE CEO personally introduced me to others saying I would start working there heading City-X operations. We discussed the salary and benefits and was told I would get the offer in 2 days, max a week. They said they wanted me to be there for 3-4 years (long term) and have heard good reviews about me.

2 days turned to 2 weeks. I contacted the headhunter and he said the CEO was busy with some budgeting & finances. Then 6 weeks passed and I emailed the CEO with no response. Finally October end the headhunter sent me a message apologising for extreme delays. He said the offer is on its way but the CEO is busy with getting licenses and setting up the offices in the new City-X.

A month passed and no offer letter. Mid November I emailed saying I its been too long without an offer and I can't wait any more. He again apologised profusely and said he understands my position. He said the company has received new huge ministry contracts and were extremely occupied working 18+ hours a day. Plus their HR quit and new HR is a junior person. He accepted that they have not been able to role out other offers to other folks too due to this. They are about to offer me but everyone is extremely busy. He agreed to set a deadline for offering me but I told him not to do so for fear of losing out. I am still waiting for the offer letter.

The CEO has accepted multiple times that the interest in me is extremely high. They were almost about to offer me but due to multiple interruptions they haven't been able to do so. I am giving them the benefit of the doubt since it is very small but rich company with single person (CEO) handling everything. Plus the company branch itself needs to be setup in City-X so everything is to be done from scratch, hence the delays. Plus they might have got occupied in other contracts they got. This is a very long term position and is not like there is already a company with a vacant position. Everything in City-X has to be done fresh & new.

As of today in December I am still waiting. A lot of times the headhunter does not respond to my messages or answer my calls, since he knows no decision has been made yet. Am I just being stalled & the offer will never come? Or does it look like they are genuinely busy and interested in me and I would get the offer finally? I have been repeatedly told that interest in me is extremely high but various inevitable delays are causing offer to not being rolled out.

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    How long are you willing to wait before giving up on them? They can make excuses all they want, and they could even be 100% legitimate (i.e. all the reasons and apologies they give are accurate), but in the end if you don't get a job offer, then it doesn't really matter how sincere they are. – Brandin Dec 10 '18 at 7:06
  • What is your current situation? Are you employed? can you afford to wait indefinitely? Are you actively looking elsewhere, or just holding out for this one job? – Mawg Dec 10 '18 at 7:17
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    @Mawg : I was employed, but resigned. Not employed right now. Multiple offers did not fall through, and this is the only offer I am hoping to get. I am looking for other jobs but this one is THE dream job for me. – Kumar Manish Dec 10 '18 at 7:23
  • @Brandin I can wait as long it takes for this job. I am ok with delay as long as I finally get it. They keep reminding that they do really want me but they are having unforeseeable delays. – Kumar Manish Dec 10 '18 at 7:25
  • @KumarManish "as long as I finally get it" -- No matter what they say, there is no guarantee that you will "finally get it." There's always the chance that they eventually say "sorry, we had a budget cut," or there's always the chance that they offer you something too low for you and will not budge in a negotiation. – Brandin Dec 10 '18 at 7:29
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Thanks for clarifying your situation in comments above.

I do understand "dream job", but I also understand "the rent is due".

My strong recommendation is to take the first job that you can find (unless you have rich and understanding parents or spouse).

There is no indication that the situation is going to improve. You could take a new job and the dream job might come back to you in two years time. Or never.

Since it is your dream job, you could ask them for a definite date and tell them that after that date you will no longer be available. Or, you could ask them to put you on payroll doing something else until they are ready to start operations in City Y.

Realistically, I think that their one man band style of operation means that the CEO will never have time to get round to you. Especially as you have shown him that you are willing to wait. He has pushed you to the back of his mind, to get on with the more pressing stuff. I know that you don't want to risk losing the job, but unless you force him to make a decision, he has no motivation to do so.

Good luck! And please do come back and tell us how it turns out.

  • Thank you for replying. What are the possible ways to force? Telling them that I have another offer and setting deadlines for them to send their offer letter? I fear this might backfire if I push them into a corner. Any other suggestions? They keep telling me that interest is high and they do want to hire me, but keep getting stalled for various reasons. Is 2-3 months a LOT or I can still expect something? – Kumar Manish Dec 10 '18 at 7:40
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    Yes, they have got additional new contracts, maybe they had to attend to those right away. The headhunter has told twice they are working 18+ hours a day and are extremely overloaded. Then the HR quit and new HR was a junior guy. I did tell the headhunter I would move on after 1 Dec but then asked him not to set the deadline for the CEO as it might backfire. Headhunter has promised to meet again with the CEO and try to push for my offer letter. – Kumar Manish Dec 10 '18 at 8:34
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    Problem is I get information from the headhunter only when I contact him. He rarely contacts me unless he has specific updates. Reason he gives is that since he does not get updates from the CEO he replies only when he is in a position to do so. – Kumar Manish Dec 10 '18 at 8:46
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    Which is quite correct. He has to pay rent too, and you and your dream company are not earning him any money. In any case, why would he call to say "no news"? Tell him to tell them that they are going to lose you. And ask him to look for other work in parallel with this. – Mawg Dec 10 '18 at 8:49
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    @KumarManish Not to be too pessimistic, but how do you think it will go once you're hired and you need feedback, it worse, approval, from the CEO for something you're trying to do? – Eric Dec 10 '18 at 12:21
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If you have no income then forget about this company, and work on finding a job. Don't change your contact information, you want them to be able to track you down if they are ready to make an offer.

Don't hold your breath. Don't set a deadline. Don't contact them to try and encourage them to make an offer. Just look for a job.

Nobody has any idea if they will ever make the offer, or if they will make an offer that you like. They could decide to make the new office bigger or smaller, or could even change cities.

If in the future they contact you to see if you are interested then say things that will encourage them to consider you as interested. If they do make an offer then evaluate it so you can accept, reject, or make a counter offer.

When you are looking for a job, always keep looking. Until you have returned a signed an offer with no conditions, you don't have the job. Every time you pause the process of looking to focus on one potential job, you have to expend energy to re-start the process if the dream job vanishes.

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As the other answers said: You have to assume that this will not work out and you should look actively elsewhere

In case they actually make an offer you need to ask yourself: Do you really want to work for a company that is so disorganized and so poor in following through on their deliverables and commitments? Let's say you want a budget approved or are ready to sign a lease for a new office space in City-X: are you willing to wait for weeks or months to get a decision or approval? What makes you think that the company operates more efficient in their day to day process as compared to their hiring process?

You can potentially force the issue. Send them a note saying that

  1. You understand that they are too busy to follow through and that we should put this on hold until such time as they are able to make an offer
  2. Should that time come and circumstance still allow, you would be happy to consider an offer
  3. Part of your consideration would be discussion of the day to day decision making since at the moment you don't feel you could work there effectively with such a lag decision making and follow through

There is 90% chance, that this will kill this offer but it's also possible that it stirs the pot enough for some action and you really don't have anything to lose at this point.

Some comfort: this is NOT your dream job. Your dream job would be at a company that's effective in decision making and hiring.

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