Job Offers and Foot-Dragging Employers

Have you ever had the experience of interviewing (multiple times) for a position and feeling as if an offer was just around the corner…but it didn’t come and didn’t come and….? Then you know how frustrating and exasperating it can be. What you might not have considered was how seriously this situation can derail your job search and prevent you from reaching a successful conclusion.

Job Offers Aren’t Inevitable

Even if you’ve done everything right and it seems like you’re a prime candidate for the position, that doesn’t mean an offer is coming soon, if at all. The company might be operating in one of the following modes:

  • An internal power struggle is holding up progress, and no one is making any concessions–or likely to in the foreseeable future. “Your” position is in limbo as a result.
  • Business revenues have been less stellar than expected, and budget cuts are looming as a distinct possibility. Hiring managers are playing the wait-and-see game at this point.
  • A competitive candidate who wasn’t initially available for some reason has now become viable. He/she might have an advocate inside who is going to bat for him/her as the choice.

Of course, any number of other possible reasons could be at the heart of the problem. You’ll probably never know for sure. What matters to you is that the expected offer isn’t happening.

What Can You Do about Foot-Dragging Employers?

Not a lot. You can and should do a reasonable amount of follow-up after each interview. However, that doesn’t mean basically stalking the employer, making daily phone calls, etc. Unless you get a reliable indication that the delay really is very temporary, don’t count on it ending soon. That means, don’t put off everything else in your job search while you wait for that coveted offer to reach you.

In the past, I’ve had clients who put their entire job search on hold because an offer was “imminent,” only to find that they had wasted weeks, even months, because no offer ever came. Consequently, they had to re-energize themselves, get momentum going again, jump through all the hoops they were going through before they thought they had things nailed down. That’s discouraging, to say the least.

What Should You Do about “Pending” Job Offers?

Keep your job search active and in full swing until you have a firm, written offer in hand and have negotiated the key elements, including start date, salary and benefits. Then, and only then, should you dial-back your job search and shift to an ongoing career management outlook.

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