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I've been through a really long hiring process, almost 2 months. After 5 interviews with managers and directors, a psychotechnic evaluation and finally a health analysis, they called me, and told me that I got the job!

I'm really happy, but nervous at the same time, because they wanted me to start this following monday; I told them that I really needed a week to settle things in my current job. They were ok with this, and we set the starting day a week from now.

They also told me that the signing of the contract and the welcome to the company meeting will be on my first day.

I always thought that an offer was supposed to be given, stating the starting day, and that it was meant to be signed before the first day.

It's my first job at a big company so I wasn't fast enough to ask about it or inquire further, I was rushed because of the excitement, and couldn't think this through.

I want to add, though, that this is a multi-national company, and I don't think they are messy with this kind of things, but given the fact that I have to resign my current job without signing anything before, Im trusting completely that everything will go as planned.

What do you guys think about this?, Should I do something? Is this normal procedure?

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    I'm from Argentina, the company was founded in the UK, and I don't think this is common practice here either. :/ . In fact, during previous conversations with HR they told me that they always adviced to resign my current job only after I signed the contract, now that I'm recalling that previous conversation, I really don't know why they set things up this way, Im terribly nervous. – Libereco May 16 '15 at 21:11
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    Do you have an offer in writing (eg email) stating the terms and conditions? I have given notice based on this and signed the contracts on the first day. – Jane S May 16 '15 at 22:23
  • Only a mail Saying, "Your entry to the company has been confirmed, congratulations, we'll be contacting you soon". - I had a phone call later, and the starting day was decided. – Libereco May 16 '15 at 22:34
  • Also they told me that in the next days I should be receiving a "Welcome to the Company mail"; though I'm not sure what will that contain. – Libereco May 16 '15 at 22:34
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    Which country are you in UK or Argentina in the UK it normally offer letter and contract signed after starting work – Pepone May 17 '15 at 9:22
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I always thought that an offer was supposed to be given, stating the starting day, and that it was meant to be signed before the first day.

Turning the table, why would an employer not want have people sign before their first day? I can think of a few reasons off the top of my head:

  • Binds an employee to that day, rather than a loose day say three weeks out before the employee has thought about moving, finished their old job, etc. Thus, speeding up the hiring process.
  • The employer could have a lot of perspective employees breaking their signed offers off, and find this method to be more effective.
  • Prevents you from negotiating the offer.

The last part is the most important. It sounds like you have received a very informal offer. It is entirely possible that something happens between your current job and starting the next job that could become a real problem, but not likely. What this does do is put you into the position where the details you need to make a good decision are not provided when you have only one option left.

You might know there is a good salary and a few benefits, but how detailed are they? Have they sent you a detailed benefits package (who, what, where, etc)? Do they have a 401k? Does this 401k have a vesting period? These are things that are essential to me when considering an offer.

On the other hand, I have had one job offer like this and I had absolutely no problems with it. Looking back, it was my best option at the time (and my first job, so I had nothing to lose!).

note: I made a big assumption here that you have probably done a lot of verbal communication, and not a ton of written. I figure you have a lot of macro detail, but it is crucial to have micro detail.

  • Hey. Thanks for the answer. As I explained above its supposed to be my first job in my area of study. And was euforic when they called to tell me that I was in. Even though I asked them for a few more days to settle things at my current job. The contract dilemma did not appear in my mind till several hours after. Nonetheless I already submitted my resignation and Im just hoping for the best. – Libereco May 18 '15 at 17:38
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    You seem to be on top of things, so I am sure that it will all go okay :) @EzequielJablonski – Daniel Siebert May 18 '15 at 18:25
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You never stated where you're from, so we cannot say if this is the normal procedure where you live. However, I think that singing a new contract before handing in your notice for the old is pretty common. After all, if you don't do it in this order, you could end up without a job.

On such a short notice and being a multi national company, I don't think they mean harm. Probably, they just need the time to get the contract through their buerocracy and mailing it back and forth would take too long.

Why don't you ask them if you can come over and sign the contract at their place before handing your notice to your old boss?

  • I was thinking about this. I live in Argentina. And no, I don't think that's common here. But given the fact that Im only 8 days away from the starting day is it worth it? – Libereco May 16 '15 at 21:07
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    @EzequielJablonski It's worth how much you current job is to you. – Tim May 16 '15 at 21:12
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    I don't think a trip to "seal the deal" would ever hurt. Good luck at your new job! :) – Edwin Lambregts May 19 '15 at 8:14
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I'm afraid it is the norm, especially when it comes to junior positions. As far as I know, they prefer to sign paperwork and have the introduction chat at the same day so that the soon-to-be employee doesn't have to come to the office for something that can be scheduled for the first day of work. Of course, it can also be used to "hurry" the candidate to sign something that cannot be (or is very difficult to be) renegotiated.

In any case, you should always read carefully the contract or any NDA before signing it. Read it as much times you need, paying attention that everything that was agreed with the HR people is there (salary, office hours, overtime, medical insurance, vacation days and any other benefits). If you find anything that doesn't feel right in your opinion, contact the HR person and request clarification.

Good luck!

**Edit: ** As you have no formal offer yet, I think you're still on time to send a friendly email to HR asking for information, like "Sorry to bother you, but can you send me the benefits details again? It seems the email you sent me got lost". I don't think you should this with salary, tough.

  • Thanks for the insight. I'm really nervous since it would be my first position in my field of study. Well its a mix of being excited and nervous at the same time. Hahaha – Libereco May 17 '15 at 20:52
  • Im just scared since I already gave my notice that something wrong could happen. They already told me that the internal paperwork is done. So I should not feel that way but Iam nonetheless. Anyway your comment saying that is common for junior positions gave me some relief. Thanks! – Libereco May 17 '15 at 21:01
  • Yes, in the US, that would be a mistake. See asktheheadhunter.com/faqjoboffer3.htm But you've already given notice, so it's not like you can take it back. I hope you've done some research on your new employer and on its industry also. If your new employer, or industry, is doing well right now, it's less likely that they'll suddenly change their mind and retract their offer (although, it could still happen). Also, you should look for online complaints from former employees about your new employer. If you don't find any, or only find moderate ones, that should be a good sign also. – Stephan Branczyk May 18 '15 at 1:32
  • It rarely happens in large companies. I know of a guy who went through that, but in that case was a medium-size local one. Few days before the contract was signed he was called by HR, and they told him that the project he was going to work at "went down". In my case I do a quick Google search, although in most of the cases I find very little. Again, good luck – Trickylastname May 18 '15 at 1:55
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When I started [mumble] decades ago, seeing the paperwork on the first day on site was still pretty much the norm. You can still negotiate some terms in that setting, or if there's a real problem say so and ask for time to sanity check w/ your own lawyer.

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