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I recently interviewed for a position, and was verbally offered the job.

The job involved relocation, and the salary offer wasn't as lucrative as I would have liked, so I asked for them to send through the written contract, and give me a week to crunch the numbers and make a decision.

They didn't immediately send through a contract, and I followed up a couple of days later. Eventually the CEO got back to me and rescinded the offer telling me:

Your request to take a week to consider the offer was not a good start and left me in doubt. I've made the offer to another candidate.

Now - let's be clear - I had intended to use this week to wait to hear back from other positions I'd applied for.

Is this dynamic standard employment game theory and par for the course, is it more indicative of a dysfunctional company culture?

  • 4
    Exploding Offer Season – JHZ Jun 2 '16 at 22:23
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    A week to consider a written offer which involves relocation doesn't seem unreasonable to me. – Andy Jun 2 '16 at 22:24
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    sounds like you missed the chance to work with a fantastic CEO! – mcknz Jun 2 '16 at 23:52
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    Have to agree with @Andy. A week to consider a life-altering decision and make sure the relocation process will work out seems perfectly reasonable to me. IMHO the CEO was too hasty and his response is indicative of the pressure you would have worked under had you taken the job. – alroc Jun 3 '16 at 0:19
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    Asking to see the contract is entirely reasonable, and for them to rescind the offer before even giving you a chance to read it says more about them than about you. I think you dodged the bullet here. – Jon Story Jun 3 '16 at 13:17
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Most formal offers that I've received have come with a week to make a decision. I would consider this normal, especially if relocation is involved and the offer is the first time you are seeing the complete compensation package in writing. Even jobs that were local to me tended to give me at least several days to consider them and respond.

I would consider a company that provided an offer and gave such a short timeframe for responding to be suspect. I would be concerned that I would not have sufficient time to read all of the details of the offer, review the contracts and compensation package, and consider the effects of agreeing to the position.

I recognize that some companies may be on a tight timeline. If they are, I would expect that they would be more upfront about coordinating with you on the timeline. If they wanted a faster response, I would hope to receive at least drafts of any agreements that I would be expected to sign early to raise any questions or concerns before receiving the final offer.

  • Exactly my take on this. A week to consider is reasonable, especially for relocation and any company that's working against the clock should be upfront about this from the start and fast-track the entire process, including speeding up negotiations and drafting early copies of all paperwork. – Lilienthal Jun 3 '16 at 7:29
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    +1 especially for the last paragraph. It is defensible that a company might want a quicker decision, but if so they should let you know rather than moving on to the next candidate without telling you. Also, the fact that they criticized the entirely reasonable request for a week's time is worrying. – user45590 Jun 3 '16 at 9:43
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It's certainly common enough. Companies want enthusiastic people that are excited by the opportunity. If someone asks for a week to consider, that generally means that they're either planning to use the offer just to get a counteroffer from their current employer or that they strongly prefer a different opportunity that they're interviewing for at the same time. From the company's standpoint, if there are other potential candidates that are nearly as good, it generally makes sense to prefer the enthusiastic second choice to the unenthusiastic first choice. That is particularly true when it is likely that the first choice is going to come back after a week and reject the offer because they got the counteroffer they were looking for or because they got the offer from their preferred employer and when it is likely that the second choice will have accepted another offer by the time the first choice rejects the offer.

Now, is a week really unreasonable? The fact that the offer involved relocation certainly makes it more reasonable that you'd need some time to think it over. Although theoretically it shouldn't matter, I'd wager that most companies would be willing to give more time to a candidate with a family and older kids that would need to relocate than to a single person. If the company sought you out because you have a rare set of skills that they were interested in, that would generally make a longer time frame more reasonable than if you're actively applying to a job where there is likely to be a lot of competition and a lot of "close second" candidates.

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    I don't think the request for a week to consider necessarily implies that the person doesn't prefer the job. It may be simply taking time to consider a major life decision. Companies also want people who consider all of the evidence/options and make good decisions. – user45590 Jun 3 '16 at 9:45
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    @user45590, yes, but companies also want people who do that legwork upfront. I wouldn't interview for a position that required relocation without researching the area and estimating my finances ahead of time. Then, once the offer arrives, there is no legwork required, it's just a simple yes or no: does it meet what I've already figured out that I need to make it work? – dwizum Mar 19 '18 at 14:29
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    @user45590: I would expect a candidate applying for a job that required relocation to have already considered the "major life decision"s surrounding the move prior to arriving at the interview. Otherwise I'd assume the candidate wasn't excited to work for me to begin with and wasted everyone's time. – NotMe Mar 19 '18 at 17:19
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is this dynamic standard employment game theory and par for the course, is it more indicative of a dysfunctional company culture?

It's not necessarily either of your two options.

It's possible that the hiring manager or CEO was playing a game. But in my experience, managers/CEOs don't do that. Most CEOs just want to hire the best candidate they can find that fits the need, budget, etc.

It's possible that the company culture is dysfunctional, but not necessarily.

You indicated that the offer wasn't as lucrative as you would have liked. It's quite possible that asking for the written contract, and asking for a week to "crunch the numbers and make a decision" came across as "high maintenance" to the folks you talked with, and helped them decide to move on to the next qualified candidate. Or it's possible that their offer was already at the top of their range and they didn't want to negotiate.

You won't really know for sure the real reason. But since they weren't offering what you wanted anyway, it's probably best to just move on.

Play the interactions back in your head and see if there is something you would do differently the next time something similar happens. Perhaps not, or perhaps you might decide to adjust your approach and try to give off different vibes.

These things happen.

0

Asking for a full week is borderline. Maybe you could have suggested you need a weekend to have enough time to consider the relocation?

Regardless, you and this company should have discussed when they needed your answer. If they didn't have another candidate, they many have been willing to wait. The fact that they were concerned about your request makes it look like there was a lack of communication during this negotiation.

Their delay in getting the offer should have been addressed. Obviously they don't see hiring as a two-way street and feel they have the complete advantage. Not all companies operate this way. It is a sign in my opinion that they are not very professional in their hiring practices. Get things done when you say you will and make sure both parties are clear on what they want.

If getting an answer from you was so critical, they should have said, "We need to know in two days." They've obviously used this situation as an opportunity to hire someone else.

-1

You did nothing wrong; you were just unlucky. It is probable that they found a better or cheaper candidate a day or so after offering you the job, and were happy that you had given them an out. So, standard employment game theory, as you said -- you win some, you lose some.

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