6

I had a final interview 4 weeks ago for a job that sounded promising. Less than 48 hours after the interview, the company's internal recruiter (my point-of-contact during this process) reached out to let me know that everyone's feedback was very positive & they are working on preparing an offer for me.

Since then, the recruiter keeps initiating communication and sending status updates every so often, with apologies for the delay (he didn't explicitly say the reason, but it sounds like end of quarter issues, red tape, etc). He's made it very clear that I'm still their choice candidate and they're not interviewing further people for the position.

It's a mid-level role in the USA for an extremely large corporation. I'm not expecting to get other offers in the meantime since I'm not really looking for a new job (this opportunity kind of just came my way and was too good to pass up on).

However, in my mind, a full month is a very long time... and I still haven't gotten an offer (not even a verbal offer). Is this unusual?

As I explained, I'm not in any rush, so I would be fine waiting for this offer to come through. My concern is whether or not this is a red flag, and how to find that info out.

1. Do I need to worry that this reveals any of the following issues:

  • Budget issues for this role (Meaning that my job would be highly at risk in case of financial challenges/recession/etc)
  • Inability of management to handle process changes in a timely fashion (If this is so, it would affect me negatively because of the type of role I would be taking on.)
  • Miscommunications or internal decisions that might affect what this role should actually do. (It's a new position within the company.)
  • They're just taking me on a wild goose chase (even if it's unintentional) and won't end up giving me an offer any time within the near future.
  • Bad upper management or just general issues about the company or role.

2. If any of those are valid concerns under the circumstances, what questions can I ask the recruiter to try to assess how much of an issue it is?

3. At what point should I stop thinking about this role and just assume that an offer won't be coming? In other words, what's a normal amount of time to wait?

Side note: I read the other questions regarding waiting for an offer (specifically this and this), and none of them discussed a situation where the company was consistently in contact with the candidate and a verbal offer had not yet been extended.

9

I would say a month is normal. If you are in contact with the recruiter, this is a good sign, because if they didn't want to hire you, it would be easier for them to tell you or ghost you, and not waste valuable hours on someone they don't want to hire.

The hold up could be due to a variety reasons. HR might be too busy to prepare the contracts. Managers might be busy and aren't processing the form. The list goes on. This isn't to say that HR or Management are bad, just that they might have a variety of other tasks that are far more pressing and taking up their time.

It is also possible that they have an approval structure that meets say Once a month. If your application happened to just miss this approval session, it may take them another month to meetup and approve the application, then you stack some other forms and requirements on top of that.

None of this speaks very badly about the company itself. Policies are usually setup to help managers better manage time, and having everyone busy means they had lots of work or are just slow workers. It can really swing any way, but you won't be able to tell. Big companies will often have more policies in place which might just take more time, compared to a small family run business.

So no Red Flags here. I would expect the offer to arrive in the next 2 weeks, but it could be another month, especially if its a newly defined role.

5
  1. At what point should I stop thinking about this role and just assume that an offer won't be coming? In other words, what's a normal amount of time to wait?

Immediately after you've finished the interview.

You list a whole bunch of guesses as to what this might mean about the internal properties of the company. None of that stuff is your problem, it's their problem. Your problem is that there is no offer. The reason does not matter because the reason does not change that the offer has not materialized.

Until it does, there is no sense trying to divine what having no offer means. You are just going to drive yourself crazy thinking about things that are not within your control. To avoid going crazy, you should assume the answer to "when will the offer arrive?" is "Never." You will then be pleasantly surprised if and when it does.

  • 1
    and OP should let them know that they will behave as if having no offer, i.e. looking elsewhere. That might even speed up "never" to finally happen. Or manifest itself more clearly. – Frank Hopkins Oct 18 at 16:06
4

This seems odd. They have a post to fill, perhaps due to someone leaving and this loses any opportunity for a "handover".

If you are currently employed and have to give notice then that will extend the possible start date as well.

How you handle this is down to you, you could be prepared to stay in your current role. Or you could say to the recruiter that you have other opportunities you are chasing down to see if that generates a reaction - then see what you think of the reaction.

  • 1
    As the recruiter stays in touch my guess is they really want to hire OP and have a pretty long approval process (which is not unusual for a large company). – Simon Oct 18 at 16:32
  • @Simon Well, I was interviewed on a Thursday and employed the Monday following... And that was a company that is Worldwide... So, there must be approval processes and approval processes - which is used must depend on how serious they are... – Solar Mike Oct 18 at 20:21
  • Of course it’s possible to make a hiring decision in a couple of days. I’m just saying that a longer process is not unusual and not necessarily a bad sign. – Simon Oct 19 at 5:32
  • @Simon put that as an answer and let's see... – Solar Mike Oct 19 at 5:42
0

All your concerns are valid. When you feel like there's something wrong, often there is, even if it's just that the company is so poorly managed they can't get anything done promptly.

Apparently big company HR departments do this to see what positions they can fill, at what salary, how fast, etc., even though they have no intention of hiring anyone right now. HR staffers are forced to lie to applicants.

Look on Ask the Headhunter's blog.

Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon situation. Joe and Ertai have the gist of this. I wouldn't confront them like Ertai suggested, but it's reasonable to ask the recruiter when you could expect a formal offer letter, especially if the recruiter has been calling instead of emailing.

Since you don't even have a verbal offer, what makes you think any offer is coming at all? You've said you want the position. They've said, wait.

You could try turning this around, and assume they'd given you an offer letter without a deadline, it's a month later, and you've said you're interested and definitely want the job, but still haven't given them a formal acceptance. As an employer, what would you think?

If you're interested in changing jobs, think about what you want, where, and network with other professionals in your field. You may get an offer from someone you meet and help with a problem they're having. Someone who really has a job open will want you to start as soon as they can manage it.

-2

To somewhat echo Joe's answer, an offer is not coming until it is in your hands. To repeat a common utterance on this Stack, HR is not your friend. In this case, what this means is that HR can and will lie to you to get you to do what they want. In this case, they are saying you should wait for them to give you an offer and that the offer is "coming", because they want to keep you available.

One reason they might want to keep you available is because they are actively interviewing other candidates to try to find one better than you, so they can come back to you in a month and say "oops, sorry, that position we said you're a great fit for, yeah actually we don't have the budget for that position and it's now closed. Sorry for wasting your time". And then if they can't find anyone better than you in the intervening month that they are actually continuing to interview other candidates, despite their claims to the contrary, then and only then will they finally pony up the offer. Which is to say, you are not their best choice; you are their only choice (for now, and once that situation changes, expect their tune to likewise change).

As for why they would continue talking to you instead of ghosting you or otherwise dropping you: they have a position they want to fill. You are competent to fill that position. In the company's worst case scenario, you are acceptable to them to fill the position. So they're hedging their bets: "If nobody else better shows up, at least we have this guy; the position is filled with the bare minimum guy, now we just have to see if there's someone better". So they win in any case, because they filled the position either with you or with someone else. You are the one who loses, when you spent 1 month not job hunting because you thought this company was a sure thing, and then they come back to you with some silly excuse, and now you're out of the market for a month you could have still been searching.

An offer letter from a good and reputable company should take no longer than 3-4 days after the claim that the offer letter is "coming". If it takes longer than that, you should continue interviewing with other companies, and feel free to take any offers that those companies field to you in the meantime while you are waiting for this other company to get off their high horse. An offer letter is not an offer letter until it's in hand, and until then all you have is air, and air doesn't pay the bills.

As for what you should do now: Continue interviewing. Find another company to get another offer from. Then, when you have another offer in hand, email back the recruiter from this company and give them an ultimatum: "I have another offer letter in hand right now. You have 24 hours to field yours or I'm off the market". You will be surprised with how fast they will suddenly be able to move and get the letter to you. In the meantime, I would heavily consider ghosting this company myself; I would send the recruiter an email that more or less goes as follows:

Hi, [recruiter's name]! I understand you're going through some things over there that's making it hard to process my offer letter. However, it's been a month, and I have bills I need to pay, so I need a job now. It is my belief that an offer is not an offer until the letter is in my hands, so unfortunately despite your assurances that the letter is coming, I am going to have to continue looking for opportunities elsewhere in the meantime. I am still interested in working with you, so when you have the letter ready, feel free to send it to me and I will consider it at that time, but in the meantime I have to be pragmatic about this and continue to look for other opportunities. In the intervening time, I may find myself taking one that is more forthcoming with the all-important letter. Thank you for your time.

After that, I would ghost them. They know where you stand and they know what to do; simply stop replying to their emails, and if they call you then your first question should be something along the lines of "is my offer letter ready yet?" and then hang up if the answer is anything other than "yes, you should be receiving it by end of business today".

  • 2
    As OP stated that the company is "extremely large", I guess they have a process in place which takes a lot of time. A month is still ok for a large company. I find your proposed answer condescending and rude. I would drop your application immediately. – Simon Oct 18 at 16:24
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    Lying to HR is not much better than HR lying to him. OP is not desperate for a job to pay his bills – cdkMoose Oct 18 at 16:28
  • @Simon I have worked for multiple large companies. In each case the distance between "we want to field you an offer" and having the offer in hand was no more than 1 week (5 business days). We are talking multinational companies with 5-digit employee counts. The company OP is referring to is unreasonable. – Ertai87 Oct 18 at 16:53
  • -1: This answer discusses a different situation than the one presented by the OP. It also advocates rude behavior that would likely get someone dropped from consideration for a job. – GreenMatt Oct 18 at 17:31
  • I think it is possible to confuse "direct" with "rude". – emory Oct 18 at 20:28

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