Waiting for the Official Job Offer
by Linda Matias
At the end of the third job interview, Helene was told by the hiring manager,
ďCongratulations, I am going to recommend you for the position. Expect a call
from HR.Ē Helene breathed a sigh of relief because her job search of six months
was finally over.
Helene went straight home and waited by the phone all day. The phone never
As the week drew to a close, Helene began to get nervous. She hadnít heard
from HR. She wondered what had happened. She convinced herself that everything
was fine, that the HR department must have been swamped. She wasnít exactly sure
what would be more important than calling and welcoming her onboard, but she
knew the HR department had a good reason. After all, Helene was the most
qualified candidate; the hiring manager told her so.
Days went by and still Helene heard nothing. Confused by the situation, she
anxiously glanced through the Sunday morning classifieds wondering what had gone
Unfortunately, this happens to many jobseekers. They are offered the position
by the interviewer and they never hear from HR or it takes months before a firm
offer is made.
But there are steps that you can take as a jobseeker to minimize your risk of
being strung along by an employer.
An easy and often neglected step is to find out what comes next after each
interview. Establishing the next step gives you some control over the hiring
process, and helps avoid the guessing game. Make it a point to leave each
interview with a clear understanding of what you are supposed to do and what the
hiring manager is supposed to do.
E-mail, fax, or snail mail a follow-up letter thanking the interviewer for
the job offer and that you are looking forward to hearing from the HR
department. Sending a note stresses to the interviewer what you heard and if
there was any confusion on your part, compels the interviewer to contact you and
address the misunderstanding.
If you haven't heard from the employer in a timely fashion, call to reiterate
your interest in the position. Hereís an example of an effective follow-up call:
"Thank you for your time and for a very informative interview last week. Based
on our last discussion, you are seeking an Executive Assistant who can
effectively serve as a corporate liaison, manage administrative affairs, and
support organizational goals. After a series of interviews, you were
enthusiastically going to recommend me for the position but I have yet to hear
from the Human Resources department. The Widget Corporation is my #1 choice and
I am very interested in joining your team. Unfortunately, I will be forced to
consider other options if I donít receive an offer in writing by Friday at
By providing a timeline you create a sense of urgency and put the employer on
notice that you are in demand. This may encourage them to move the process
along. But only use this tactic if you really do have other options because
setting a deadline that an employer is unable to meet could get you dropped from
Although I recommend that you follow-up with a phone call, donít become a
nuisance and call everyday. If you reach out to an employer several times
without receiving a courtesy response, stop calling and move on.
As frustrating as it may be, you must always remain professional. Keep in
mind that, until you are officially hired, every conversation you have with the
employer is part of the interview process.
In conclusion, realize that a definite maybe does not qualify as a firm job
offer. Therefore continue job searching until you receive an official offer. If
an employer is interested in you, they will respect your time, return your phone
calls, and make a concerted effort to keep you updated.
Donít waste your time waiting by the phone. You deserve more than that.
Linda Matias is President of CareerStrides and The
National Resume Writers' Association. She has been quoted in The Wall Street
Journal, New York Newsday, Newsweek, and HR-esource.com. Visit her website
or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.