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I was interviewed for this big company for an entry-level position back in Feb. Got to the interview with the manager and got an email telling me congratulations and the HR will help me with the succeeding steps. But then a week after they emailed I'm kept for future consideration.

Then in May, the manager texted me if I'm still interested and I said yes and then she interviewed me again and then the HR asked me to go to her office and is offering me the job. I asked when the start date is.. she said I'll know the start date once I say my end date on m current job. I said I'll text her what my decision is.. few hrs later I said yes, and then I talked to my boss and said I will resign.

The next day I got worried, because I already resigned and haven't signed anything yet. I talked to the HR personally and told them that I'm stressed out and I need reassurance that I really got the job. She said they were processing my papers already, and I'd be able to sign probably around end of June.

I texted her my end date a week after. She said "ok thanks this is noted". On June 30, I texted her and ask what the status of my processing papers thing and she replied that the agency will contact me within this week for the requirements. So I'm reassured again.. twice.

But now I am still worried. It's Friday already, and my end date is July 15.

I understand that they're a big company, and I guess they're super busy, but it's hard not to worry.

So my question is, if you get a verbal offer and said yes, they don't necessarily have already the contract available right away, right? So can it be normal to take a LONG time for you to sign your contract?

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    comments removed: Please avoid using comments for extended discussion. Instead, please use The Workplace Chat. On Workplace SE, comments are intended to help improve a post. Please see What "comments" are not... for more details. – jmort253 Jul 4 '15 at 15:40
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I think what you are experiencing is a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand does. It's a big company, and it sounds like its a position of less importance to them, so its more likely to be down prioritized. Possibly there are some confusion regarding who handles what. It's happens at big companies, but this kind of screwups are really bad.

Usually the time between giving a Yes and signing contracts is very short. Like a week. They want you to start as soon as possible and they cant start to make plans for you until they have a contract. So it's in both parties intrest to get a signed contract as soon as possible.

What they did wrong was to not properly handle hiring of new employees, and quite frankly, that is a warning sign to me.

What you did wrong was to resign before having a written contract, and quite frankly thats a big mistake you should never do. At this point, they can offer you a contract with half the salary you discussed and basically say "take it or leave it".

  • So a week is the normal? In my case, theres gonna be an agency handling my documents so i think thats where it makes it a long process. I resigned immediately just to know my end date because they want to know my end date already. And of course, i wont resign immediately if theres a risk of not going back. – user1551672 Jul 3 '15 at 8:18
  • No, it's hard to say what is "normal" in situations like this. But from a Yes to a contract is usually quite short. You current contract will state your resignation period, so that is the information you need to give them. Say "I have four weeks resignation period, so if we sign the contract on monday, I could start 1:st august." – Fredrik Jul 3 '15 at 8:48
  • Oh so there is a "pre-contract" to the contract itself? stating that i will have the contract once i start my resignation period on my current job? Is that what usually happens? Im just really hoping that within next week, ill get a text and its just realllly a long time for them to process the docs since theres an agency who will work on my papers. :( – user1551672 Jul 3 '15 at 9:22
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    No, I'm talking about the actual contract. You can have two job contracts signed at the same time. The new contract will not be applicable until the startdate. You dont end the current job until you have a new contract signed that you agree with. Since there will be a set resignation period, you could easily calculate a new startdate without resigning first. – Fredrik Jul 3 '15 at 9:56
  • Good example of left hand/right hand: I have a "sorry but good luck elsewhere" letter from IBM dated after my "you're hired!" letter. The latter came from the team hiring me; the former was sent automatically because the acceptance didn't get processed through HR in time to stop it. Good thing they arrived in that order or I might have accepted another offer. I kept both in a frame on my office wall for years as a reminder to keep people informed about what I was doing. – keshlam Jul 5 '15 at 2:52
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It does sounds a bit scary to be where you are - between jobs and unsure exactly of your new job's start details.

What you probably want to do now: Email or write to both your new manager and HR, asking them to confirm your start date. Perhaps something like this:

Dear {INSERT HR AND MANAGER NAMES HERE},

I'm just dropping a quick note to check what my start date will be, and when you expect my contract to be available? As discussed with {INSERT NAME}, I've handed my notice in at my current job, and I'll be finishing on the 15th. Is a start date of 16 July suitable?

I'm looking forward to starting my new role!

Regards,

{YOUR NAME}

How to handle a similar situation in the future:

I've been through a long recruitment recently as well. I applied for the job in March, interviewed April, and only got the official offer in late June.

Before I got the offer, I'd been asked what my start date could be. I handled it by saying something like this via email:

Since my notice notice period is X weeks, I'll need at least X+1 weeks from a written offer of employment, after any background checks are completed. Assuming the offer is made today, the earliest I'll be able to start is {INSERT CORRECT DATE HERE}. If the offer is made later, this will need to be adjusted appropriately.

As it stands, I have a confirmed start date with the new company, which I am looking forward to joining soon :)

  • Should I contact the manager that interviewed me? I dont have her email .I have her number. But is that a good idea to ask her really whats going on? I already asked the HR on the process of my papers on Tues. Is that a good idea if I text the manager and not the HR on monday? if the HR doesnt text me on Monday (I hope she does cause I will panic. Cause that would be my last week on my company.. My end is on July 15). I dont want them to think i'm not trusting them. i keep on following up.. ANd i personally told the HR back when i got the verbal offer that im paranoid i didnt get the job. – user1551672 Jul 5 '15 at 5:16
  • @user1551672 A polite text to the interviewer seems like a reasonable thing to do. At least this way it would be in writing rather than verbal (which can easily be forgotten). Try to keep it calm, polite, and concise. – Reinstate Monica Jul 5 '15 at 11:58
  • Would she know that i kept on texting the HR? She knows who the hr that was assigned to me. What if my HR knew that i texted the manager... would the HR feel offended that i didnt trust her with her last text? – user1551672 Jul 5 '15 at 13:02
  • I would be very clear about who I'd been speaking with, without being rude. "Hi, I've been speaking with HR, who asked me to confirm my end date at my current job. I'll be finishing on the 15th, so I hope to be starting with you soon afterwards, but I haven't heard from HR yet. Are you able to help at all? Thanks. " – Reinstate Monica Jul 5 '15 at 13:31
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Normal is a rather imprecise metric. So instead of answer whether this is normal or not, I will answer what I think your two questions should be.

  • Question 1: Should I be making plans on what to do if I don't have a contract with a defined start date in hand before my end date?
  • Answer 1: Yes, you should be making such plans, and you should be making them now, not waiting until your notice period is up. I would at the minimum keep looking for other positions and possibly (depending upon your relationship with your current employer and reasons for leaving) feel out your current employer on extending your departure date and/or remaining with them.

  • Question 2: What should I have done to avoid this situation?

  • Answer 2: give the start date as relative to your new contract. Basically, "I want/need Z amount of time after handing in my X weeks of notice. After I have received and reviewed your contract, I will sign it and return it to you. Immediately after sending the signed contract I will submit my notice."

For question number 2, giving your notice is a bigger deal for you than you starting for them is for them. Presumably, if you fail to accept their offer, for whatever reason, they can go on to their second choice candidate. And if you push back the date all they have most likely lost is opportunity. While if you don't start, you've lost out on what is probably necessary ongoing income. It is entirely appropriate for them to shoulder the minor uncertainty associated with passing the contract back and forth. Particularly, since most of the potential problems are on their end.

  • Thank you for this/ Well its 5pm on a Monday. Still no text. The follow up text i sent to the HR was last Tuesday. I will probably text the manager that interviewed me who Im gonna work for in the future (hopefully) like what @yochannah told me to do. But still dont know how to text her honestly. I dont want an impression where she think I dont trust the HR that Ive been texting. – user1551672 Jul 6 '15 at 8:58
  • @user1551672: You said in another comment that you don't have your new managers email address, just their phone number. Get the new managers email address. That will allow you to proceed as if everything was proceeding correctly -- ask about start time, office #, what you do when you get there. Assume that the contract will be available and correct by Close of Business of your first day at the latest. – jmoreno Jul 6 '15 at 14:38
  • actually the hr texted me at 6pm last night just saying that she has a new number. and i said that i got her new number then i followed up a text asking what the update is.. then she texted if the agency still hasnt contacted me yet.. as if she thought that they already contacted me. she said she'll follow up on the agency.. maybe its the agency whos slowing down the process? – user1551672 Jul 7 '15 at 0:56

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