Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Verbal offer & recruiter issues

Got this query from a reader who had commented on my previous post

"If a candidate is not selected or the company, for some reason, not feel like making the offer right now, is it too much to expect the recruiters/HR to communicate the same to the candidate? Especially, if the candidate is given verbal assurance that he has got the job and then he is made to wait till he gives up himself!"

Ok. My answer is going to be a tough-love one. First, you mention that you are actively seeking employment & have done some groundwork in understanding the recruitment dynamics. So effectively you are telling recruiters (in your own way) about your interest in finding a new job. So I wouldn’t say it’s unethical for them to reach out to an actively job-seeking candidate with phone calls/emails. But you got it right when you say recruiters should respond about the outcome of an interview, be it positive or negative. Sadly it’s a case of more supply than demand in today’s talent market. That’s giving the recruiters a chance to try out a lot of different candidates for just one position! I had earlier written
here about recruiter’s being the face of the company. That’s an approach that could backfire if you don’t have the right recruiter handling your hiring activity.

Second, I’m not a lawyer but it’s obvious that a verbal offer means nothing until the terms are put on paper. It’s like a vague statement, your word against the recruiter’s; they wouldn’t discuss your salary, benefits, internal fitment or anything else on call without getting approvals from the hiring manager. That’s a no-brainer. On the other hand, by telling you that you have a verbal offer, the recruiter is buying time to sort things out from the company’s end. Maybe, their budget constraint isn’t allowing them to add new headcount right now, their hiring process involves so many people across geographies that its time consuming to roll out the offer (not a strong reason, but a reason nonetheless), they are building a candidate pipeline (hiring parlance) expecting a new project to take off – see there are some valid reasons. Yet, that shouldn’t stop a good recruiter from telling you the truth. Else, they stand to lose a potential hire.

Here’s what you could do now: Send a mail to the recruiter & hiring manager asking for an update. It works. They couldn’t possibly not reply to your mail. If they still don’t reply, maybe it’s time you reconsider working for them.

I can understand that it’s a harrowing experience after having spent time & effort in interviewing, but have faith; they are good recruiters out there too. Recruiters who know how the business works.

Good luck with your job search!