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So, recently, I got an offer from a company. The offer sounded great. The package was good benefits were great, insurance, bachelor savings and all. But, all of this was done through a phone call. I asked for details of the offer, to which the HR replied that she would send the necessary details on email , while the rest of the details, including the salary structure will be given, on the day of joining. Here is a copy of the mail that I received from them (company name is removed for secrecy).

Dear Mr. <Me>,

Greetings!

Congratulations on your offer from <Company Name>

We are delighted to offer you the position of <Jr. Position> with an anticipated start date of <Date of joining>.

As discussed during your interview, we are pleased to provide you with a detailed offer letter on the date of joining as per our last salary discussion.

Apart from salary, you are also entitled to have Health Insurance coverage for the immediate family as well as for the extended family. You can utilize the benefits of Bachelor Savings Scheme, Child Born Savings Scheme, Child Education Savings scheme.

If you choose to accept this offer, please revert back your acceptance through this email to me at <HR's Email> by <the same date as I received this mail>.

On acceptance of the offer, below documents (soft copy) to be produced on or before the day of joining:

  • Passport Copy;
  • Educational certificates & marksheets (Key degree /diploma);
  • Recent Photograph – Soft Copy;
  • Temporary and Permanent Address Proof;
  • Experience/service letter from all the past companies
  • Current complete postal address

In the meantime, do not hesitate to reach out to me, either through email or by calling me directly at <HR's Mobile Number>, if you have any questions or concerns.

We look forward to having you in the team.

With Regards

<Name>

Human Resource

<Company details and address>

When I ask for details of joining, like if there would be any bond, and, the details of notice period, and other pre-requisites before the joining date, she said that there would be no bond, but the other details can only be shared on the date of joining, not a day before.

Also, the exact amount of salary and all deductions were informed to me by the phone call. Upon asking for an offical mail, regarding the amount of salary and breakdown, they said that those details too, will be shared while joining the company.

I was expecting a PDF detailing the pre-requisites and the salary breakdown, with the exact amount of salary, the responsibilities and all.

I just have 1 year of experience, and this is my first interview with a company. Should I consider joining ?

P.S - The salary hike is 35%, and insurance is extra

Update :- I got a call from them today (3 days after posting this question), where they wanted me to update them on every alternate weekend, after I had handed over my resignation in my current company. They wanted updates like, if I was assigned with a new team. I didn't completely understand what was going on.

Should I ask them for a written offer letter, otherwise, I wont join, or just say no to them ?

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  • 29
    Run. Fast. There is no job, or if there is a job, there is no salary and there are no benefits.
    – jcaron
    Dec 15, 2021 at 17:59
  • 13
    It could be a scam, possibly aimed at identity theft or similar fraud. You should take steps to see if this is a genuine company and they are genuinely in contact with you. It's legitimate to raise concerns with them.
    – Stuart F
    Dec 15, 2021 at 21:28
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    If this indeed was some kind of scam, why would they be so secretive about details in writing? A scammer would most likely be more than happy to fabricate practically whatever documentation you could ever think of, would they not? I'm not familiar with indian employers, but this smells more of a "waffling around details so they can retreat on them later" kind of deal to me, more than it is a scam. Dec 16, 2021 at 8:34
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    Run a mile, no reputable company would refuse to give you a formal offer letter with all of the details on it Dec 16, 2021 at 10:01
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    It sounds like the company is kinda making you an offer, but they are refusing to make that offer in writing, meaning they are refusing to formally make the offer, meaning they are refusing to commit themselves to that offer. By symmetry, you should not commit yourself to accept the offer either.
    – Stef
    Dec 16, 2021 at 15:19

12 Answers 12

99

The fact that they have agreed on certain terms (as per verbal communication/ discussion), but are not willing to provide them in form of a contract, is a red flag enough for me. I do not wish to commit anything, unless I have an agreement signed and sealed (by both parties).

Unless there's a summarized offer letter provided to you (which mentions at least the summary of the conditions and remuneration) I do not see how this email adds any value to the contract and negotiation. If I were you, I'd not be handing out my notice solely based out of this email - it's just too vague in it's current form.


To answer regarding your update:

Update :- I got a call from them today (3 days after posting this question), where they wanted me to update them on every alternate weekend, after I had handed over my resignation in my current company. They wanted updates like, if I was assigned with a new team. I didn't completely understand what was going on.

Unless you have clarity on your earlier doubts, there's no point in having any further communication on any new requirement(s) - it's going to end up wasting time for both of you.

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    One thing I am afraid of, is, what if they call me and offer Rs 3LPA, but while on joining , for some reason, they decide that 3LPA was too much and they wanna reduce it !!
    – Asish
    Dec 15, 2021 at 8:15
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    @Asish that's the kind of thing employees usually get in writing before accepting an offer.
    – OmarL
    Dec 15, 2021 at 9:03
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    @Asish very valid concern. Dec 15, 2021 at 9:04
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    @Asish that's probably going to happen, at least based on other questions here. If you're lucky it's only about the money, but most likely additional terms will be "forgotten", "misunderstood" or simply ignored.
    – Polygorial
    Dec 15, 2021 at 19:14
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    For us foreigners: does “Rs 3LPA” mean three lakh (3,00,000) rupees per annum, or something else? Dec 17, 2021 at 3:09
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I asked for details of the offer, to which the HR replied that she would send the necessary details on email , while the rest of the details, including the salary structure will be given, on the day of joining.

I would indicate that I am excited about the possibility, but that I could not accept an offer without first having the rest of the details in writing.

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    Agreed, yes - this is probably the best way to proceed.
    – Omegacron
    Dec 18, 2021 at 2:41
39

You're being deceived here. Without material terms as to what you're going to be compensated, this is not an offer with any likely legal standing. (I am not an attorney.) I've had a whole lot of jobs. No one does this.

They are counting on your inexperience.

You don't shop on Amazon and they reveal the price after you click "pay". Right?

You couldn't ask a contractor to perform work on your home and you refuse to reveal what the payment terms are until a time of only your choosing. Right?

There are ridiculously few situations I can think of where the price of goods or services is revealed to you after-the-fact.

I'm seeing your 'India' tag. OK, so does this company expect you to decline all other offers, take a chance on all these unknowns, and then learn that you're going to be earning 23 rupees INR (0.30 USD) an hour? In all likelihood, they'll scam you into working for free until you figure things out, and know that it'd be almost useless for you to try to retaliate, even in a civil fashion.

Let this "opportunity" go.

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    I absolutely agree with "this is not an offer" in the colloquial sense, but can you offer anything to support your assertion that it's not an offer in the legal sense?
    – David Z
    Dec 15, 2021 at 20:56
  • In the legal sense (again, I am not an attorney) there needs to be an offer, acceptance, and consideration (specifically, concrete terms on what is being exchanged). This lacks the latter. yourbusiness.azcentral.com/3-elements-valid-offer-7194.html
    – Xavier J
    Dec 16, 2021 at 7:29
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    @Xavier this is incredibly jurisdiction dependent and I'd recommend you don't give out advice like this. In my country a verbal contract is legally binding, and that goes for employment contracts too. Of course the rub is that verbal contracts are difficult to enforce, so you should get everything in writing, but saying a verbal offer is not an offer is legally just straight up wrong in many jurisdictions.
    – Cubic
    Dec 16, 2021 at 10:15
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    @Cubic It's not a contract without the consideration, even if verbal.
    – Xavier J
    Dec 16, 2021 at 14:28
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    @Xavier "the exact amount of salary and all deductions were informed to me by the phone call"
    – Voo
    Dec 16, 2021 at 16:58
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This honestly feels like at best big red flag, at worst a scam.

Stripped to basics, they are dangling a bunch of enticing-sounding carrots in front of you. Health cover, 35% salary growth, perhaps other things. But then they refuse to confirm in writing as a reputable employer would, any of the actual terms of employment they are offering.

"We can't reveal before joining date" is plain BS, sorry. And I ask myself why they would do that.

To get them, you also have to provide a load of personal documents. Hmm. Yes that's reasonable in a usual negotiation for work. But again, it feels off colour. Suspicious. You don't ask for things like past employer letters ("from all past employers") after making an offer. That's something that an employer would usually look at in the process of deciding whether to employ.

The documents request is the same point made by @ItWasLikeThatWhenIGotHere, and I agree totally, are you even sure who the true employer is? You spoke by phone, you got emails, do you actually know that you spoke to a real business, or to the business you thought you spoke to? This is also how scam employment is set up.

At best not professional. At worst trying to get a lot from you and give you little, or a scam job. Either way, huge red flag or scam.

As other answers suggest, I'd reply simply that you look forward to working with them. However you need confirmation of their understanding of the terms and conditions, salary structure, role and responsibilities, contract of employment (to review detailed terms), etc, prior to the joining meeting.

If they say its secret or will be told at first meeting, my immediate impression is, they will trust you to be employed, and offer a job, but they don't trust enough to tell you what they propose to pay, or what you'll do, or work conditions? Sorry, that's bullshit.

That's not "secret". That's either bait and switch, or they are trying to put pressure on you, remove "thinking time" or time to discuss (as in most scams), get you committed and in their presence so you are less able to argue....

Whichever it is, "no". That's games. If they won't, or you can't check them out, then don't take it.

(And, if you do take it, and they try to change anything or say it was a mistake, or a misunderstanding or HR error, walk away very fast the very first time, because it won't be any of those. It'll be games. And they will be betting that you'll give in, once started. Be prepared for, and even expecting, that.)

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I would consider first whether you're sure you would be joining (Joe's comment is important). What I'm seeing here is an immediate request for personal information. This makes me suspicious.

Before replying I would forget all contact details you've had over the phone or by e-mail, and get in touch with the registered office. If you had a physical interview, it's worth considering whether that was at the registered office, or somewhere else.

I'm sure it's not true that everything that looks like a job offer is a data harvesting scam, but they definitely happen and I've not seen anything here that would allow me to be certain that this wasn't one.

If you can establish that you've really been talking to the company, a reply like "Accepted subject to contract" would not be unreasonable.

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As discussed during your interview, we are pleased to provide you with a detailed offer letter on the date of joining as per our last salary discussion.

I think that this refers to the discussion you had over call.

Clearly, this company, whatsoever, is totally cunning. You may be getting good benefits and all, but that depends on pure luck. You must never rely on chance or luck on a career prospective.

The final decision would be yours, but if I were to say, I would run in the opposite direction. Since, you are just starting your career, I would say, upskill and continue applying for jobs and interviewing. Look for red flags before giving your "Yes"

5

One way of handling the situation is that you in your answer mail write the agreement as per the telephone conversation. A verbal agreement is as valid and bindning as a written, but the problem is to prove it. Unless you have a recording of the conversation the best you can do is to write down what you already have agreed on.

But, as other has said, this has all the smells of something very fishy. I have never heard of any respectable company behaving like this.

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  • This was exactly I wanted to answer. It may smell fishy, but that will clarify the situtation. Dec 15, 2021 at 20:35
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No. You don't really have an offer in hand - what are you going to accept?

Yes from a legal perspective a verbal offer should stand, but that is practically impossible to enforce by any economic way. Heck, even a firm offer on a stamp paper can be revoked, if the company is willing to take the reputation hit. Suing the company will cost more than any award.

Speaking from an Indian perspective - you must only put in your papers after you have received the entire offer document and have accepted it via sending a signed scanned copy or digitally accepting it on the new employers' system. You are correct to expect that an offer includes all financial and non-financial details in writing, along with a joining date.

Once you accept the offer, you can send in your resignation e-mail (or do whatever it takes to resign in your HRMS) at your current workplace, and then you begin serving your notice period which is usually of two to three months. Do not start resignation formalities before you receive the formal offer.

To give you a few reasons why; the detailed offer document might state something that you are opposed to - a large variable component in your CTC reducing the monthly take-home pay, or a restrictive non-compete clause where you cannot join a company in the same industry up to three years after leaving this one. (I have seen both clauses and more, seems like HR will try to slip in anything into the contract these days and hope young applicants will accept).

Lastly, anything promised but not put into writing into the contract cannot be enforced. For example if HR promises you a 20% bonus after one year but your offer says "from 0% - 20% variable pay", then whatever your offer document says is correct. The employment contract will also typically contain a clause to this effect that all previous promises are superceded by the contract.

Regardless of whatever anyone tells you, nothing is "standard" or "company policy" and everything in a contract can be negotiated, provided you are in a position to negotiate or walk away. But if you already quit your previous job and are on the joining date, there's nothing you can negotiate because you won't have a plan B. So first get everything in writing and then proceed to accept or reject the offer.

I would not venture to form an opinion on if this is a scam, because there are many young companies in Bengaluru without established processes so it could just be the company's inexperience. Could be the HR is trying to take advantage of inexperienced juniors. Or more likely, the HR is trying to prevent potential employees from taking the offer and "shopping around" with it for a better offer. But if so, that's not correct on their part.

I think your next step should be to say that you need the entire and complete offer, as you are not comfortable resigning from your current position without knowing the entire details of the new offer.

3

Taking a slightly different approach. If you really do want to accept the job, considering maybe that it's just the HR person being inept. Make it easy for them to do what you need them to do for you to be able to accept

i.e. an email along the lines of:

Can you please confirm, as per our telephone conversation that:

Salary will be X, Start day will be Y, Place of Work will be Z. etc. etc. (basically, everything you would expect to see in an formal offer letter)

If they are not willing to respond to that email with an unequivocal 'Yes' then see the other answers about this being a scam! (I'm not saying it's not a scam even if they do say 'Yes', but their response would be useful information to help base your decision on.)

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Here is something very interesting: Google found me an article How to Write the Perfect Job Offer Letter Email which shows a distinct familial resemblance to your job offer. I have hired a number of people over a 40 year career, and been hired (and fired) a few times, and both letters look strange. I would never use this form of letter for hiring. I think the offer is bogus. (But my experience is in Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, and South Pacific, not India).

[BTW if I think a document might be a scam, I usually Goggle chunks of text from it. Since very few scams are original, I've often found confirmation.]

Let's see whether I understand the process. You mention an interview. Was it at the company's offices? (I'm not asking your for answers, BTW, I often answer a question with other questions intended to provoke thinking). Who interviewed you? HR? A line manager? Was it a technical interview, i.e. was there an attempt to ascertain that you had the necessary skills? Did it feel right to you? (My own experience is that if it doesn't feel right, it will turn out not to be right).

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Report this to the police.

This is a scam IMO.

Here's what they really want from you : you personal information. It's identity theft.

They asked you for :

On acceptance of the offer, below documents (soft copy) to be produced on or before the day of joining:

Passport Copy

Educational certificates & marksheets (Key degree /diploma)

Recent Photograph – Soft Copy

Temporary and Permanent Address Proof

Experience/service letter from all the past companies

Current complete postal address

This is purely you being asked to send your entire identity to an email address.

Don't think that the email address looking legitimate makes this legitimate. It is most likely a scam and there are multiple ways to fake an email address.

When I ask for details of joining, like if there would be any bond, and, the details of notice period, and other pre-requisites before the joining date, she said that there would be no bond, but the other details cannot be shared only on the date of joining, not a day before.

Legitimate businesses do not operate like this. You've got nothing before your "join" and to "join" requires first sending them ALL your personal data.

This is a matter to show a police officer. Probably the police can do nothing, but they do share this information internationally and internationally police cooperate to find and prosecute scammers like this.

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Consider this offer to be a "bait-and-switch" until PROVEN otherwise.

As of yet, nothing was written nor signed, and so it is quite likely that any "specifics" will be "forgotten" between now and when you are handed any sort of "legally-binding" written contract...No harm no foul, right?

Wrong! (Unless you enjoy being severely underpaid!)

Making it so that you never see any contract until "your first day" ensures that you are technically/legally unemployed by the time you ever see any binding contract. As such, you will be in a very poor bargaining position when they ultimately decide to tell you "market-forces dictate that the previously-advertised position for $XX/yr now only pays $X/yr due to cutbacks"...

Good luck crawling back to your previous boss begging for your old job if that new lowball-offer wasn't "good-enough" though!

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