Don’t quit your job just yet: The mystery of the disappearing job offer
You aced the interviews and been told you have the job, but the offer never lands in your inbox. It’s like being stood up on the third date. All your meetings went well, but suddenly the courtship ends, with little or no explanation.
This scenario is not as uncommon as you might hope. In fact it seems to be a tale many can tell. Interview(s) have been completed successfully. References have been checked – the whole nine yards, only to hear… nothing.
While collecting anecdotes of the ‘nearly-had-an-offer let down’ I heard stories from both hiring managers and candidates: Hiring managers string along a potential hire only to be told to hold off at the last minute by upper management; candidates strung along only to receive nothing. No word even to provide some closure.
One anecdote was from an accidental job seeker. This person hadn’t actually been looking for a job, but was recommended to a potential employer. The candidate and employer met. Together they decided the candidate would be an excellent fit for a current opening. The employer needed to speak further with his manager, but assured the candidate there would be an offer. The candidate followed up, and followed up, only to arrive at a dead-end. No prospect, no offer, no callback.
Another situation involved a candidate who was also led to believe they had succeeded in securing an offer, so much so that they actually quit their current job. Not necessarily a wise move, but they were so confident they’d be moving on that they wanted to give sufficient notice. Unfortunately the offer never came through. To add insult to injury there was no reason given, no explanation offered, even after umpteen attempts to follow up.
Of course these are the horror stories of the hiring world. These situations are not the norm, but they do happen. In a recent article on Forbes.com career coach Eileen Wolkstein describes one client who “went back for 14 interviews and didn’t get the job.”
It happens for a variety of reasons and it can be equally frustrating for the person attempting to hire. A manager who was all set to provide an offer was told to hold off by head office for a budgetary technicality that he was assured would be cleared up in a day or so. The manager kept the candidate on the hook waiting, but the ‘budgetary technicality’ never got cleared up. After weeks of waiting for what seemed like a sure thing, the offer was never extended.
The question in all of this is: what do you do if you’ve been led to believe you’re getting an offer, only to never hear from the company again?
According to Forbes.com, you should continue to follow up, but “without looking desperate”. In the same aforementioned article, career coach Anita Attridge suggests you stay in control of the calling. Don’t leave a message, just keep calling “until the hiring manager picks up.” By doing so you’ll hopefully be awarded some sort of explanation.
This isn’t the only approach to take. Leaving a message can also work in your favour. A message lets the hiring manager know you’re still interested and keen to speak with them. It’s possible the person just became side tracked and your message is all they need to get the ball rolling again.
Regardless of how the circumstance plays out, it is important to keep in mind that these situations generally occur due to extenuating circumstances, and are not intended to offend or mislead. Always do your best to follow up. You’ve put a great deal of effort into your search, but also remember there is no offer until there’s an offer in writing.