So here is a situation i find myself in. I have attended several interviews through the course of my career and i have been successful in securing offer letters within a period of 1 week from the Interview.

On one of my latest interviews (a very promising job profile) this has been the sequence of events:

  1. 25th April - HR contacts requesting for CV. I sent the CV the same day.
  2. 4th May - HR contacts to schedule an interview.
  3. 5th May - Interview conducted.
  4. 10th May- Received a call from the HR saying i have been selected. HR advises verbally the best offer the company is willing to make. I accept the offer verbally. HR advises that in a couple of days the offer letter will be sent.
  5. 13th May- HR calls me to get a copy of my passport. I check with the HR about the offer. HR advises that it is in process and will take a couple of days.
  6. 17th May- On checking with HR i am advised that he is awaiting to receive approval on the Recruitment request form, but everything would be finalized before end of week (21 May).
  7. Come 21 May i check with the HR and i am advised that he is now only waiting to get approval on the budget before issuing the offer. He will follow up and advise me by afternoon.

Should i be concerned that the job offer may not come through, or the HR may be just buying time?

It also amuses me as to why the recruiter would need an approval on the budget when during the call on 10th May, the HR confirmed the offer the company was willing to make.

Thanks in advance.


-So i shot the HR an email requesting an update as the HR had promised to get back to me by the evening of 21st. No response yet.


Just gave the HR a call and spoke. He advised that he is still awaiting for approval of the budget and requires 2 days to give me a final answer on whether they will be making an offer.

I guess i should give up the hope by now. Thanks everyone for their inputs.

  • Concerned that job offer may not come through, or the HR may be just buying time? There is always a possibility that they have other candidates.
    – Jobhunter
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 8:22
  • 1
    How big is the company? to me this looks like a very normal pace of events for a company bigger than 'small'
    – AakashM
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 8:39
  • The position is in a MNC for a group level opening. I have been for 8 years in employment and during this period attended several interviews. This is the first time the process has spanned this much.
    – Jobhunter
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 8:54
  • 2
    I think for my current job, the span between initial phone interview to offer letter to actual starting was 2 to 3 months. When you have large corporations with billion dollar budgets, things move at a glacial pace Commented May 21, 2015 at 9:35
  • It isn't just big companies. Smaller ones are taking their sweet time these days, too.
    – Blrfl
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 10:51

6 Answers 6


...waiting to get approval on the budget before issuing the offer.

This line suggest they hired you before they knew they could pay you. At this point, they are likely trying to keep you on the hook for as long as possible hoping money will come in.

Start looking for a new job now!

This is fairly common in contracting and government subcontractor situations. A contracting company is finalizing a deal for a multi-million dollar project that the end client says they needed yesterday.

The company goes on a hiring frenzy before the contract is finalized, and as a result, can't actually extend offers to everyone they "hired." This is usually the sign of bad upper management, and an indication you don't want to work for this company.

  • The position is based in their Head office and not project specific. Also, when they gave me a verbal offer they asked me if the offered package was acceptable to me, to which i gave my verbal confirmation. What amuses me is why or how could they even make a verbal offer if they did not have any idea of the budget?
    – Jobhunter
    Commented May 24, 2015 at 7:35
  • 3
    Verbal offers are worth the paper they are printed on. If the company can't give you a written offer, then you should move on. If you wait for the offer to come through (if it ever does), you will be on a team with all the other people who waited months for an offer, and are exceedingly happy to have this opportunity. Commented May 24, 2015 at 21:17

Should i be concerned that the job offer may not come through, or the HR may be just buying time?

Yes, be concerned, but not worried.

Until you have a formal, written and signed offer in hand, you should always be concerned that the job offer may not come through. Even then, until you actually start on the job, things can happen.

That said, the only thing you can do is wait for this offer while you continue on with other interviews.

Being "concerned" doesn't really help much. Things often takes longer than expected. Just try to be patient.

  • 1
    And continue interviewing until the contract is signed.
    – keshlam
    Commented Dec 5, 2022 at 22:11

If they were not interested in hiring you, they would have told you that. However, this doesn't mean the job offer will go through. The issue is apparently budget, so you could be in one of these several scenarios:

  • They really want to hire you but what you are asking for is higher than the budgeted amount for the position and they want you enough to try to get the budget increased.
  • There is a disconnect between the HR process and the project managment process and the budget looks right but is not actually official yet and they can't offically hire until they can pay you. This is typical of some contracting scenarios especially government contracts. They may not have actually won the contract yet but need to ramp up as soon as it is active. This can also be true of non-government contracts. I work for a company that provides services to another company that has clients of their own and sometimes we get caught up in budget issues at one of the levels outside our company when trying to hire. Sometimes the client of the client has agreed to pay for the project but they have not yet pushed the paperwork all the way through and so a person won't be hired until we can guarantee they would be paid. Sometimes hiring can get held hostage to some kind of dispute when all of these interlocked contracts come into play.

  • The job is a government contract and the government is not clearing the hire for budget reasons outside the organization doing the hiring. This is more typical at the beginning of the fiscal year when the budget has not yet been offically approved and they legally can't spend it.

  • Outside of the hiring process, the company is going through a financial reorganization which may result inf things like hiring freezes or cuts to particular programs (including possibly the one they want to hire a new person for) or even a 10% all around budget cut where the department has to figure out how to find that 10%. In this case any position not hired yet is at risk of being dropped to save that money. They may be trying to negotiate for retaining the postion and making a required cut elsewhere (say in bonuses or eliminating a less important postion or a whole host of ways.) Again, they can't make a written commitment until the issue is resolved and the postion that had previously been approved for hire is confirmed as still approved.

The last is of course the riskiest postion to be in. It is far easier to cut someone you never hired than to tell an existing employee that his job is eliminated.

And of course, sometimes it is just that resolving the budget issue for a new hire is not the highest priority for the decision makers at that moment in time.

But the truth is you don't know which of these scenarios you are in and how long it will take to resolve. (It can months to get approved for a higher budget or may need to wait til the next fiscal year depending on where inteh budget cycle you are.) therefore, the only option you have is to continue to look at other positions. If this one comes through before you find something else then fine, but don't wait around for it.

As far as the timeline, I don't think it is unusual, so that would not worry me. I have never had a hiring process take less than a month from interview to offical offer and sometimes it has taken up to 6 months at very large companies or government agencies. The larger the organization, the longer the process typically. I have had companies that made me offers too late because I had already accepted another offer. That is the risk companies or government agencies take when these things drag out and they are well aware of that.

  • "It is far easier to cut someone you never hired ..." In the UK, it seems you cannot be fired between the date you are hired and your starting date. Which isn't quite the situation here.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 18:01

The maximum that HR mentioned is based on the position description and doesn't mean that the project has approval to start spending that money.

In many companies HR and a project work at different speeds. Sometimes one is faster than the other. Sometimes HR is the bottleneck, sometimes it is the project.

It can be hard to tell where the issue is based on their updates. Unless this is actually costing you money, because you are unemployed, or you soon will be unemployed, it isn't time to panic.


Budget issues are always a red flag. Any following could apply.

  • The hiring manager was on a frolic of his own.
  • There has been a change of management or restructure.
  • There are redundancies imminent in the same area.
  • A pending takeover or merger.
  • Position no longer required due to re-scope or external events.
  • Someone has reneged on the hiring decision.
  • Background check anomalies (your landlord from 5 years ago, say)

In short, the position is not, and may never have been, fully approved. Sadly this happens all the time, and the costs are high for both parties. This happened to me personally and it was six months before the position was pulled, after three interviews, two medicals, extensive 5 eyes background check, and even then they were not going to tell me, I had to follow up every two weeks. Six months for a twelve month agreement.

Don't laugh about the landlord, on the other side of the desk I have seen applicants knocked back because their address history could not be absolutely verified.


This is an old question but I wanted to post an opinion on a particular point you mentioned...

13th May- HR calls me to get a copy of my passport.

I would suggest that people never provide any personal information such as passport, SSN, etc. to an employer until you have an official and signed letter of intent in your hands. Many employers will ask for this information up front and then never come through with an offer. Now you've given out your PII for no reason. I tend to leave this information blank on applications, etc. until I get the offer. I have never been questioned on it and if I was ever to be, I'd simply tell them that I guard my PII jealously and would be more than happy to provide it once I have the offer.

  • I'm curious why this was downvoted. Protecting your PII is very important in the digital age.
    – rhoonah
    Commented Jan 5, 2023 at 22:58

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