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I've taken on a wide enough variety of projects my manager has joked that "Jack-of-all-trades engineer" would be a good title for me. Yesterday our head of HR called me in to discuss moving from temporary to permanent. She said that they are looking to create a position that would encompass my roles in the organization. She said that they are not ready to offer me a position yet but would send me a letter stating that they intend to make me an offer once an appropriate permanent position becomes available.

After the fact I realized that this letter does not seem to add any value for me. Their intentions are made clear from our conversation and so far as I know the letter would not be binding in any way. Should I go back to HR and let them know that the gesture is unnecessary or let them go to the effort of following through? Is there some possible value to this gesture that I'm not seeing?

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    Is there any harm in letting them draft the letter? I can't imagine it would take a lot of effort to create. – David K Jun 10 '15 at 15:26
  • @DavidK The only harm would be wasted effort. – Myles Jun 10 '15 at 15:29
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    Trying to tell HR that one of their "client" communications policies results in work that is not needed and therefore 'a waste of time' is not likely to achieve anything other than wasting your time, IMHO. – Marv Mills Jun 10 '15 at 15:37
  • @Myles: If it's not in writing it never happened. You're not saving a forest by preventing a letter being written, and I doubt the HR person is going to sprain a wrist typing it up. Just wait for the letter and accept it graciously. – Joel Etherton Jun 10 '15 at 15:51
  • @JoelEtherton I think what I am getting in writing is the equivilent of a promise ring. "We will eventually make a commitment to you." – Myles Jun 10 '15 at 16:27
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You should simply say "thanks" and accept the letter. They apparently feel it's worth doing and there is clearly no harm in it for you. Declining may potentially offend someone.

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    This response is building a more positive relationship. It may not be the permanent position you're after, or any guarantee of getting one, but stronger relationships up your chances of getting that in the end. This sort of thing never hurts. – Hazel Jun 10 '15 at 15:41
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I don't know if I'd consider that a "sentimental gesture". They're writing you a letter of intent, more or less. Sure, it's not 100% binding, but it's more than a company would usually do.

There's a few practical issues as well:

  1. It's in your record, both for future promotions (you're an employee who is valued enough that they did this), and as protection if needed (you can't be too terrible an employee if they pre-offered you a job).
  2. Depending on your office politics, they may be positioning this as a "see, we did something nice for you!" gesture. But you seem to recognize it for what it is, so you're not going to take this nice letter in lieu of a raise. :)
  3. If you decline it, it's sending a signal that you're not interested in a full-time position with them - which may trigger other actions from them. (Namely, you may be taking yourself out of consideration for future jobs at that company, since they'll assume that you're on your way out the door).

So, my advice is thank them nicely, take the letter (and file it), and then go about your day.

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    Plus, if the personnel in HR change (as they frequently do), there is something in there for the next person, when the opportunity arises. – Voxwoman Jun 10 '15 at 16:02
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I think you are over thinking this -- most likely the letter is nothing more than a way to get it into their system. Once the letter has been created, they can add followup tasks and due dates, approvals and whatever else is involved. It's just part of their workflow.

In other words, the letter isn't about you and showing appreciation, it is part of the process to hire you.

  • I'm already hired as a term and have known other term employees who made the jump to permanent with out this. Definitely not a part of their normal workflow. – Myles Jun 10 '15 at 16:24
  • @Myles: did they have to create a whole new position for the others? – jmoreno Jun 10 '15 at 20:22
  • One for sure no. One maybe, his title seems to be unique in the organization. – Myles Jun 10 '15 at 20:51

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