But I thought you asked *me* to the dance!
October 18, 2012 3:50 PM   Subscribe

Is it standard practice to offer someone a job and then post that opening?

I was offered a Director-level job last week at a small (10-person) studio. The entire process took just over a week from interview (which was really informal but incredibly friendly and positive) to offer, and they have been incredibly enthusiastic about me the entire time. I was asked to submit a number for my salary and when I did, they sent me the formal offer after telling me how fantastic it would be to work together. Their offer was lower, altho not significantly so (but yes, enough to make a difference as it will be a pay cut for me going from freelance and bc they are a smaller agency, pay on the more conservative side of the average range) and I countered with a split the difference number. When they replied a couple days later, same positive "we want you!" tone but they were in a time crunch with a project and to stay tuned for continuing the conversation once they got thru the crunch at the end of the week. This was Tuesday.

Today they launched their new website (perhaps this was their project?) and there was a listing for the position they offered me on the site. I can't imagine this would be for another position as the agency would be too small to support another position at this level. No details or descriptiIn, just the job title and instructions to send a resume.

I do plan to follow up with them tomorrow if I haven't heard anything by then. But...Is this standard? Should I be worried? What's going on?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (10 answers total)
The problem with this situation is that you don't know if the position offering was part of the new website from before your interview or not. In other words, they might have passed on you, internally, but not told you about it; or it might be that the new site has had that job offering in it for two weeks now and removing it (because of your offer) is a detail they've forgotten.

So, don't flinch. First, decide what you'll do if it's a real job offer on their site: will you take their lower offer, or stand on your number? Then check in tomorrow, perhaps mention that you noticed the ad. If they say your counter was too high, then you can either walk away or say that you'll accept their number (which, if they offered it last week, is almost certainly still good). But it's just as likely that they'll be embarrassed and apologetic and tell you to ignore that, in which case negotiations proceed as before.
posted by fatbird at 4:04 PM on October 18, 2012

Nope, it's not standard. But it also may not mean anything. (Ie. the website was supposed to launch two weeks ago, and they got the content ready then, and no one checked that that content should be removed.) It also might mean that someone in the organization isn't so sure about you, and is using the salary negotiation as a reason to interview other candidates.

So: not standard, but hard to say if you should be worried.
posted by Kololo at 4:06 PM on October 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

This means nothing. You haven't signed with them, they haven't removed the listing. Are they supposed to let potentially good resumes go uncollected while you guys decide (or fail to decide) on a salary?
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 4:12 PM on October 18, 2012 [4 favorites]

Agree with previous -- it's the signing, not the offer, that would cause them to stop advertising the job. I'd just play it straight: Call and ask where things stand. If they already made an offer, it shouldn't take them too long to negotiate salary. If it drags out, they're hoping for a better catch.
posted by LonnieK at 4:17 PM on October 18, 2012

In large organizations, sometimes an internal candidate is going to get the job, but they still must advertise, interview, and follow procedures for justifying their exclusion of the other candidates. How did you learn of the job? If it wasn't through a public posting, then something similar may be going on - an internal policy requiring that there be a definite period that a position is advertised, say.
posted by thelonius at 4:34 PM on October 18, 2012 [3 favorites]

Thelonius is right in general, and on that basis corps will shine people on, sometimes very badly. But I never saw one go so far as to make an actual offer like this one did. What would they do if the external candidate accepted on the spot? That would pretty well defeat the purpose of the deception.
posted by LonnieK at 4:50 PM on October 18, 2012

In high-tech, sometimes a company will advertise a position for which they have already chosen a foreign national. It's part of the evidence gathering for the H1B visa application, so they can show they failed to find a suitable person to hire locally. It's the reason for some oddly specific and demanding job ads.

Obviously that doesn't sound like the case with your situation though.
posted by w0mbat at 5:28 PM on October 18, 2012

It could be a contractual requirement based on their funding. I had to sit tight for my current gig so they could check off that they interviewed 3 people before making a decision.
posted by politikitty at 7:03 PM on October 18, 2012

My organization does this - has people they are going to hire and then advertises the job because they're required to. It's shady, but often done.
posted by corb at 7:53 AM on October 19, 2012

They have probably been working on the new web site for weeks or longer, and the developers and creatives probably had the content all that time. When the site launched, it launched with existing content. Scrubbing the job postings right away probably just isn't highest on their list of priorities.

But do follow up with them to make sure your position is secure today. :)
posted by iguanapolitico at 12:27 PM on October 19, 2012

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