Full time job to...no time job?
March 29, 2010 8:21 AM   Subscribe

Third job interview - now I have to write a proposal...now what?

Confused about a potential job situation I've found myself in. I emailed the CEO in response to a job ad for a full time marketing person. My email was strong enough to get me an in-person interview, which went very well a few weeks ago and ended with him saying 'I have some concerns about your experience, but I'm interested - let's at least find some way to some work together'. The CEO goes away on a biz trip for a week, and I get another in person meeting with him after that, at the end of which he mentions, 'we'll meet next week - draw me up a proposal which we can work on in person when we meet next week". Apparently I'm to meet with the CEO and the existing marketing person whose contract is ending in a few weeks. Yes, that kind of sounds awkward, doesn't it - "let's meet with the person you're replacing..."

My question is, how do I draw up a *proposal* for a 3 month contract? It's obviously less secure than 'here, let's have you start full time with three months probation". I've never even heard of a proposal for employment - either you have the money to hire someone or not, no? I've only heard of companies issuing a RFP which I understand how to respond to, but this is a small company. Having to do a proposal to convince somebody to hire me - isn't the idea they draw up the contract? I'm not understanding why I even have to work on writing up a proposal for a 3 month contract, when I responded for a full time position for work. I'm tempted to email him and ask, 'what would you like in your proposal?' but don't want to damage my chances by sounding dense. I don't want to sound like I'm not paying attention, but don't really have enough information to go on to form a contract - do I just go in with a basic one and lots of 'TBD's all over the place? If someone goes from posting an ad for a full time job to it suddenly morphing into a contract job, is that a good sign?

Does any of this raise any alarms with people - does a company just keep on hiring contractors to fill something important? Would you deal with a company like that? Or does it just sound like they're using terms they don't understand, and just try and keep open minded about the whole thing? The practice of using multiple contractors and meeting with the previous consultant - a lot of this all sets off some alarm bells. Am I just being too sensitive here?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (7 answers total)
Perhaps there was a misunderstanding and what he was reall asking for was a marketing proposal rather than a proposal for the terms of your employment.

I'd suggest sending an email for clarification.
posted by bluejayway at 8:27 AM on March 29, 2010

Is it possible that the "proposal" that he's asking for is an outline of the marketing plans that you envision implementing for his company (rather than anything contract-like)?
posted by cider at 8:30 AM on March 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

I would say that you should run through how you would ramp up, what you expect to see at 30/60/90 day blocks. Add plans for status, 1:1 meetings, specific project meetings as needed. If you are really ambitious, add a 1/3/5 year plan.
posted by kellyblah at 8:43 AM on March 29, 2010

Asking for a contract proposal after a couple of interviews would be a fairly odd way of handling it even if you were a contractor; I'm with those above who suspect he was likely asking for a marketing proposal.

But from your description I'm not seeing where the "3 month" duration came from, so on the chance that he really was specifically talking about a short-term contract: that's not a great sign, if the job was advertised as full-time. Could mean they want to take you for a test-drive before hiring you for real (which is borderline but maybe okay), could mean they do this routinely (which is definitely sketchy bait-and-switch.)
posted by ook at 8:52 AM on March 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Information is missing: Based on no more than you've related, how do you conclude that your employment is short-term? But, let's assume that's a valid conclusion.

"Let me see a proposal (business plan, etc.)" is not an uncommon approach to hiring. Where it can go off the track is when the employer doesn't hire you, but uses your plan, anyway.


1. Communicate (via email) your excitement and anticipation about this next meeting. Make sure the CEO knows of your interest.
2. Say that you presume that he wants a marketing proposal, could he please confirm.
3. Say that in order to produce a proposal worth talking about you would like to know a) what timeframe should you consider when it comes to execution, and b) what budget constraints you should take into account. This will demonstrate that you are sensitive to both variables and should help you prepare a more focused proposal.

If you get no reliable response to #3, use whatever information you've accumulated to put together your proposal. Then, be prepared to ask for an opportunity to "refine" your proposal based on whatever discussion you do have.

Keep in mind that CEO's sometimes operate as though they expect you to read their minds. Not much you can do about this.
posted by John Borrowman at 9:14 AM on March 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

If you don't have the job yet, I'd keep the proposal as vague as possible to prevent him from poaching your ideas. Just a topline with a handful of bullet points. "Integrate social networking" and stuff like that. You should be paid for any implementation details.
posted by rhizome at 11:07 AM on March 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

just do a 1 page "proposal"

rehash what you have already talked about with him, don't put new ideas until he is paying you.

What you can do for him: phase 1, phase 2, etc

What you expect: i.e. this much, over this period.

Put a spot for him to sign/date and do the same.

Meet with him, discuss generics, then alter if required.
posted by dripped at 4:22 PM on March 29, 2010

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