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I wonder what the practice is these days: after a job interview is the person who is looking for a job expected to confirm to the position ("I would like to be part of your team") and then the employer, or does it also work the other way around? Such that the employer/company first says "Yes, we would like to hire you based on our interview." and then only you accept the offer.

I think this can be important when having to decide between two positions. What's the best strategy to ask the employer to commit first? Is it considered unethical?

Let me add that this question is within the context of industrial employment.

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    Usually the employer confirms they want to hire you, makes an offer, (you negotiate), then you decide and inform them if you accept their offer or not. This question might be interesting for you: workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/1810/… – superM Mar 5 '14 at 13:54
  • This leads to two questions: - to make it explicit, it's ok to ask the employer to contact me? - Is it ok state an initial salary expectation but if it seems too high, offer a lower salary? – TMOTTM Mar 5 '14 at 13:56
  • I suggest you search for similar questions on this site. I remember for sure that your second question has been answered, but can't remember the title. Regarding the first question, I believe it's been asked in the form whether it's ok to ask employers to contact back to inform that they don't want to hire the person. – superM Mar 5 '14 at 14:04
  • @OP, where are you from? – Kvothe Mar 5 '14 at 14:08
  • @superM I didn't see any related title show up after entering my question, but I'll be keeping looking. Most of the questions deal with reverting an offer that was accepted, which is not what I mean. What you say was discussed in the forum is not what I mean. – TMOTTM Mar 5 '14 at 14:12
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The usual procedure in professional US companies is that the company interviews you, issues an offer, and you accept or decline (or negotiate).

This can be finessed/muddied a little bit in the interview process - I've asked candidates "Does this job seem like something you're interested in?" or the like to gauge interest - both as a weed-out (I don't plan to issue an offer to someone who replies "Well, it's a living I guess," I'm looking for a bit more enthusiasm) but also as a data point into how hard to pursue them, the other candidates that might be in play, etc. If they say "totally not" I'll save the work of extending an offer. That's a nonbinding part of the process though, it's not asking you to accept before there's an offer.

I had that happen to me once - a consulting firm flew me out to Chicago for an interview for a six-figure job with an insurance company. Details on what the job were exactly were a little sketchy. I flew out anyway and they insisted I sign an employment contract before the interview and before finding out exactly what the job would entail. I wouldn't budge and they wouldn't budge and I went home. Everyone I consulted with about that later confirmed that was sleazy and unusual on their part and I did the right and prudent thing. Different countries may differ but in the US you should never feel like you need to "accept first" before an offer.

There's also the dance of "salary expectation." Just to be transparent from the hirer point of view, you want to know if this person's going to come in at the amount you usually pay (either by formal salary range or just by general tradition) for that position. Starting points too wide to negotiate waste everyone's time. Though it's OK to rebuff questions on that with a "Whatever you think I'm worth," that's a minor complication not a big "do not hire" brick (to me at least).

In your case, if you are interested, you should get back to them and say "Yes, I am interested in the position and would love to have an offer extended." Unless they make you sign a contract at that point, in which case you should bail, they will then make you an offer and you can decide whether to take it or not.

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  • Appreciate your feedback, in EU I was usually asked to return first if I'm still interested, to me that sounds as if they wanted me to commit first. Salary: in all honesty, salary is not such a critical factor for me, I would not decline a job offer just because they don't arrive at my salary expectations. But I also dont want my salary demand to be way lower than what they would have been willing to offer in the first place before knowing what I was going to ask for. In any case, I guess it's never possible to increase an initial salary demand, right? – TMOTTM Mar 5 '14 at 14:21
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    "Return" is different from "commit." They're interested enough to ask you to come back and not say "see you later." Go back and talk to them if you're interested, just don't sign anything accepting till they offer. Correct on the salary expectations, it's hard to revise your initial ask, but that's probably a topic that'll be addressed in more detail in workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/20052/… – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Mar 5 '14 at 14:25
  • @TMOTTM: Yes, in general you can't raise the salary you said you'd accept. Remember, though, that your total compensation is not just salary, so you have some room to maneuver if the discussion has been about salary. – Wayne Mar 5 '14 at 14:25
  • How could one formulate this? "Sure, I'll let you know by the end of the week if, based on our discussion, I'm still interested in the position and then I would be very happy if you could let me know if I am still considered for the position."? Is that a fair way to put it? – TMOTTM Mar 5 '14 at 15:01
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    I'm not sure why this is getting so complicated. If you're interested, say "Yes, I am interested in the position and would love to have an offer extended." – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Mar 5 '14 at 15:04

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