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I am currently working in company A. I have recieved an offer to start in company B, and I accepted. When the first interviewer asked me "when can you start?" I said two weeks from the day the docs are signed, because is the time of notice I owe to my current employer, and I do not want to quit until having signed with my new employer. But now, the HR people on company B insists on give me the contract my first day in the office.. Is this normal? Or should I raise a red flag? In other situation I would not mind to sign my first day, but I do not want to take the risk of ending up with nothing.

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    Note that contracts typically have a probationary period. So there is still a risk of ending up with nothing even if you sign the contract before starting work. – Peter Green Feb 21 '17 at 17:03
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    Do you have a written job offer? – paparazzo Feb 21 '17 at 17:07
  • @PeterGreen While probationary period can lead to being let go on potentially minor performance issues, in many places in the world it doesn't let companies lay you off/eliminate your position without the same compensation other employees would receive. – Myles Feb 21 '17 at 17:16
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    @agamesh You need something official from the company ( offer letter or copy of the contract you will be signing ) prior to giving notice to your current company. – Mister Positive Feb 21 '17 at 17:31
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    In companies I have worked it's normal to get signed offer letter listing all the important details and then sign the contract in the first day at work. – JarkkoL Feb 22 '17 at 4:42
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You don't say what country you're in; that will have a bearing on it.

You should tell the company that you'll sign the contract and any other items on your first day of work, but you need a copy now in order for your attorney to review them. If the company is professional, there won't be any problem with that - but if they balk, I would carry on with the job search.

  • Thank you, that is what I will do. My current job is in an european country and the new is in another, that is another reason I don´t want to get that exposed. Anyway, I don´t think the country is important for what matters, or is it? – agamesh Feb 22 '17 at 7:38
  • What I know about german law would lead me to the assumption that theoretically an oral offer is binding. Proving it (the offer and what it was about) in court is another thing though. – DonQuiKong Feb 24 '17 at 13:36
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First and foremost, if they won't give you a copy of the contract to be signed I would move on -- you have to be able to review it prior to turning in your notice. ( offer letter ?? )

If they give you a copy to review in advance, then I don't think this is really a big deal to wait until the day you start to sign it. In the companies mind, I am sure its just a matter of filling out all the new hire type paperwork on day one.

I would suggest that you get something in writing (eMail) stating that all conditions of employment have been met, such as a background check etc. ( if any are required ). This way you have alliviated your concern of a last minute mishap, and you sign the contract on day one.

I would also keep in mind that there will be some sort of probationary period regardless....

  • Please explain the down-vote so I am able learn / improve. – Mister Positive Feb 21 '17 at 17:13
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    The email probably doesn't provide adequate legal protection in case the company suddenly decides they don't need you. Also I don't think probationary dismissal can be used for this purpose in many placed outside of the US. I'd be really reluctant to recommend rolling over on a reasonable request when it opens you up to such negative consequences. – Myles Feb 21 '17 at 17:22
  • @Mister Positive "Don't you have to trust them at this point?" Of course not, why should I? Because I did an interview with one person among them? I would join them hoping the best, but ready for the worst – agamesh Feb 22 '17 at 7:34
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Is this normal? Or should I raise a red flag?

Maybe this, maybe that. It's probably just easier for them. Nevertheless, any company worth your time should acommodate to your needs in this case. It's obviously way harder (talking risk management) for you to accept this than it is for them to give you the papers earlier. And every HR person worth any money should understand that.

There is just no reason to put your life situation at stake just because they are lazy. And if they are not just lazy, then that's a red flag.

Personally, I would not accept this condition. Either they get you the contract 2 weeks before you start or they can go search for someone stupid or desperate enough to accept such conditions.

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No, no, absolutely not. Here's the worst case scenario. You resign from company A, but have no signed contract from company B. No signed contract means that you do not have an offer AND an acceptance of the offer BEFORE you wrap up with company A.

So what if you show up, and the terms of said contract are materially different than what you've agreed to orally? You agree orally to work M-F, but the contract calls for weekends. You agreed orally to work for $x/hr, but the contract calls for a lower pay rate. What then? At that point, friend, you are screwed.

There are lots of unscrupulous businesses out there. Make sure you don't become a victim.

  • That´s exactly what I am afraid of. I know most of people is well-intentioned, but you don´t know the opposite until it is too late, usually. – agamesh Feb 22 '17 at 7:36
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Depends on what's in your contract. Ask for a copy so you can look it over first. If it's a legal document, you should be able to have time to get a lawyer to look it over, if that's something you wanted to do. If it's not a legal document, I'm not sure what it is you're being asked to sign.

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