I interviewed at a startup & cleared all rounds. Then the HR called me & said that they are willing to match my expected compensation & asked me to visit their office to sign the appointment letter:
HR: I can prepare the appointment letter for you and you can come down to our office for signature.
I haven't resigned from my current company yet.
I tried asking for an offer letter:
Me: I cannot sign the appointment letter right away. Please send me an offer letter first. I'll sign the appointment letter when I join you in 3 months.
To which they replied:
HR: We don't have an official offer letter. We usually send Letter of Intent which is confirmation of your selection and I can send you [compensation] breakup over email.
HR: We don't send an offer letter over email. If you want to go through it we can plan for the signing of Appointment letter at our office.
I feel something's not right here. It seems like they're trying to somehow force me to join their company & stop me from trying out for other companies.
I wish to be able to:
- Use this company's offer as leverage to get better compensation in my current company.
- Interview for other companies during my notice period & use this company's offer in compensation negotiations there too.
- Not join this company if I get a better offer elsewhere.
So my questions are:
- Should I insist on offer letter (& forgo this opportunity if they refuse to provide one), or will I be able to do all of the above if I sign the appointment letter right away?
- Won't my current company & other companies ask to see this company's offer letter & the compensation breakup contained therein, before they can consider making me a better offer?
- Would other companies refrain from making me an offer if I tell them that I've signed this company's appointment letter?
BTW, the following is how things played out 4 years ago when I joined my current employer:
- Cleared interviews & received offer letter in email.
- Accepted offer by replying on the email.
- Signed both offer & appointment letter on the day of joining.
A couple of my colleagues are currently at step 2 above. They weren't asked to sign anything by their employers. One of them has accepted a better offer as well & plans to simply email the other company that she won't be joining them. I believe this is common practice in the Indian IT industry: candidates try to get multiple offer letters in hand, send email acceptance to all incoming offers, use competing offers to drive up their compensation, & eventually join just 1 company, informing the others over email, that they won't be joining them at all. Some employers even follow up with candidates, asking for a joining confirmation (after offer acceptance), but even if the candidate reconfirms their intention to join, they can back out of it later.
My primary concern is that if I sign the startup's appointment letter, will I get locked-in with them, unable to seek other opportunities, unable to use their offer as leverage in other compensation discussions I might have later on. I have a 3 months notice period, during which, I wish to apply to several companies & join just the best offering company eventually.