I interviewed for a startup by one of the two co-founders to whom I was introduced to through a mutual colleague. This was around 5 weeks ago. After an interview I was told that I would be a good fit for the startup and would receive my offer letter within a week but I still haven't received the same. The startup is in its early stages with less than 10 employees and have just raised their seed round. Upon contacting the co-founder I'm just told by him that he's really busy and will send it across as soon as possible.

What I wanted to know was, whether this was common in the case of a startup or does it reflect something else like they made a wrong hire and are just trying to delay the rejection (maybe because he knows me through a mutual colleague) or I'm not required any more.

Even if the offer letter does come through, how much weight should I attach to this delay in making the decision to accept or not considering startup founders are actually quite busy.

marked as duplicate by Kent A., gnat, Philip Kendall, Jane S, scaaahu Jun 2 '15 at 2:57

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  • 2
    We can't tell you whether to accept it, or not. That is entirely up to you. However, one piece of advice: you should really question whether you want to work at a place that is either already struggling, or is run by someone who's so disorganized that he can't do basic things like follow up on hiring. – Kent A. Jun 1 '15 at 18:05

Start looking for a new job immediately. If the offer letter comes through (make sure it's in writing) in the meantime, you can decide then if you want to take it.

This much of a delay is not a good sign -- either they are not as interested in you as they say, have limited funding, or are unable to make decisions. Well-run and organized companies should be able to communicate effectively, and execute on the tasks required.

  • Most likely it's a funding issue. Start ups don't wait 5 weeks for anything - much less waiting that long to bring on a new hire - unless they don't have the cash to do it. "Having just raised the seed round" doesn't mean the checks have been cashed. – NotMe Jun 2 '15 at 23:32

Neither you nor any of us have enough information to determine the reason for the delay. Unless you have reason to suspect they have changed their mind about you personally that you're not telling us, that seems unlikely - but there are other options:

  • They've genuinely had an incredibly busy time. This would be the best case, and startups do go through intense busy periods where anything not related to the current focus is deprioritised (including communicating what they're up to)... but five weeks still seems long if they really do need more hands on deck.
  • They're low on cash and chasing up agreed funds from their funding round. This isn't necessarily a big deal, you'll almost certainly get your offer soon, but it is worth remembering that startups can and do run out of cash. Consider this a reminder that startup jobs are not very secure, and notice periods may be void if the company goes bankrupt.
  • Their funding round wasn't as successful as they'd hoped and they're trying to work out what to do about it. You might not have a job offer at all, or it might be a rather different proposition when it comes through.
  • They've realised the work they need you for won't start for another couple of months (or could be put off). They may suddenly become very keen for you to start as soon as possible. On the other hand, they may keep finding more things that are higher priority, so they might be stringing you along for a while.
  • They're simply disorganised. Not a good sign.

Bottom line: although it's perfectly plausible that everything will be fine, remember you've not had an offer yet, so don't stop looking and don't make plans assuming you'll get an offer.

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