You have done all the research, applied to the company of your choice and for the position you are most interested in – all focused on building your career and gaining new skills and experience. You submitted an attractive resume detailing your skills and experience and you were invited in to interview. You passed the first round of interviews and were invited in for the second. Again, you did well and were invited back for the third and final interview with senior management and human resources. All of the effort and time has paid off and you are now in the offer of employment stage. Great!
Over the past 12 months, I am seeing a discouraging trend. The trend is the increase of offers that are delayed, changed to less favorable terms or rescinded by the company. Of course the candidate can and does reject offers for various reasons, but in this post, I want to focus on the offer of employment made by the company and the process involved. So, why do companies decide not to make an offer or worse, rescind an offer after the candidate has completed the entire interview process successfully? I have outlined the top reasons below and will give you advice on what to do!
1. Not Showing Gratitude
Don’t be arrogant or complacent. I have seen in just the past three weeks three examples of candidates not showing gratitude – this usually happens to candidates that are in high demand and have more than one offer of employment. The most recent example was last week when an offer of employment was made. Incredibly there was no response from the candidate. None! After five days, the company became worried that something might have happened that would cause a non-reply and called the candidate. The candidate answered the phone and confirmed he had received the offer and was considering all options. This candidate further said that since there was no response date stated in the offer of employment, when would they need an answer. Unbelievable. No matter the reason, even if the company is your second or third choice, ALWAYS show gratitude. Make sure to reply on the same day of the offer and thank them for making the offer of employment and that you are very excited and happy. If you do need time to consider, let them know that you need time to review all documentation and will get back to them as soon as possible. Then again, thank them for their time and their confidence in you. In almost all cases where the candidate does not respond, the results are the same. The company contacts the candidate and is irritated with the lack of confirmation. Then, the company will give the candidate a same or next day deadline to accept or decline. This never works out well and can so easily be avoided.
2. Poor or No References
It is unconscionable that a job seeker would not have prepared and contacted professional references well in advance of interviewing for a new position. A majority of all job seekers always start this process at the very end of the interview stage and at best, this causes delays as most companies have to confirm positive references before and offer is made. As time passes, anything can happen and that offer you were expecting could be given to someone else. In the worst case, candidates do not have any references and have many excuses why they don’t. Some include the company went bankrupt, the former company has a policy against giving references or their supervisor no longer works there. If you are unwilling to track down former supervisors and ask for a professional reference when needed, you will be seen as someone that is not prepared or lazy and you will not get the offer. In addition, not providing proper references raises red flags and the company you are applying to will assume the worst and again, no offer. This is a very simple task, so make sure you do this work prior to your job search.
3. Setting Expectations
Once the initial interview process is positive and you are on to your later steps, be sure to communicate any expectations you have to your would be superior. Clearly stating when you are available to start, salary expectations or other important issues are okay to discuss at the late stages. Too many candidates don’t communicate properly and when an offer of employment is made, there is already a mismatch in expectations. When there is a mismatch in expectations, one or both will be disappointed. A good example is when a candidate informed our client company recently they were interviewing for that they could start with one month’s notice. The lengthy interview process was completed, all approvals where given and finally the offer of employment was made with a start date exactly one month and two days from the date of offer. The candidate took 3 days to respond and when he did, the response was I cannot start on this date (for whatever reason, and trust me, I have heard dozens of them), but could start in 6 weeks. Best case is the company would delay the start date. This is rare and in the example above, they did not and the company went with another candidate. Most company’s feel “betrayed” and will not accept the delayed start date. Simply informing the hiring manager prior to the offer stage that you could only start on a specific date would have started this relationship positively, instead of dealing with complications at offer stage.
Every candidate spends a lot of time and energy during the interview process. If both are positive to move forward, do yourself a great service and show gratitude, prepare professional references well in advance and manage expectations. If you do, the offer of employment process will be smooth and positive for all. If not, it will most likely lead to disappointment and in many cases, your dream job will disappear.