Job offer and no contract yet...not sure what to do
March 31, 2014 5:47 AM   Subscribe

I received a job offer after a very formal panel interview in a large company. I haven't heard anything since.

This offer would involve relocation to another state. I received the offer over the phone, from the head of the department (who was also present at the panel interview). He told me the salary and start date - which is 4 weeks from today. He also told me that I may be entitled to an allowance and that he will find the exact amount and let me know.

Following the phone call, he emailed me with "Thanks for accepting the offer for ___ position" and outlined salary and starting date. In email he also stated that he will let me know about the allowance and that I will receive my contract in the mail shortly.

It's been a week and no word on allowance or the contract. Maybe I am impatient but I feel a bit uneasy and not sure if I can properly plan the move, rent an apartment and all that until I have a formal contract.

I am worried that they changed their mind or something. How likely is that to happen?
Should I follow through with an email or a phone call? Or should I perhaps wait until the end of the week and do that if I don't hear anything?
posted by sabina_r to Human Relations (25 answers total)
These things can take some time to get through HR and Finance, so while I'd advocate patience, I'd also say that it's okay to reach out to the hiring manager and say that you haven't received anything yet, and wanted to make sure that everyone had your correct information, etc.
posted by xingcat at 5:53 AM on March 31, 2014 [8 favorites]

I would reach out to the HR department, and couch it around getting a handle on the logistics. I went through a relo a few years ago and we didn't hear a thing until the last minute. Suddenly I got a call from the relo folks (who actually might have been a contractor, now that I think about it) and stuff started moving very fast. Moreover, they had pretty much taken care of everything...except keeping me in the loop about what the hell was going on.

You're not being impatient - moving/packing is a big thing and wanting to get out in front of scheduling stuff is completely reasonable. This sounds like typical large company bureaucracy to me.
posted by jquinby at 5:53 AM on March 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

Congrats on the job offer!

I would call and ask them on what day they mailed the contract, and if they mailed it with any type of tracking so you can make sure it's delivered properly.
posted by kimberussell at 5:54 AM on March 31, 2014

Big companies can be really slow about this sort of thing. It wouldn't hurt to get in touch with the company's HR/internal recruiting rep if you have a contact. It's been the weekend so don't fret too much.
posted by pravit at 5:54 AM on March 31, 2014

When you call HR, ask if they can email you a copy of the offer letter. That way you have something to work with immediately. Otherwise - the delay is normal; don't worry.
posted by punchtothehead at 5:55 AM on March 31, 2014

I'm surprised they will be Fed Ex/Snail Mailing an offer. I got all of my offer stuff on PDF. I'd call the hiring manager and your HR contact and ask what's going on.

Couch it as, "I'd like time to review the offer and plan for my relocation and I can't do that until I have everything in hand."

Also, you have to sign and return it to them, do their drug testing and all sorts of other things.

posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:01 AM on March 31, 2014

I will go with the HR first.
Should I call or e-mail?
posted by sabina_r at 6:04 AM on March 31, 2014

Could be in the mail - they might be sending you a welcome package & some stuff to sign.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 6:08 AM on March 31, 2014

posted by RJ Reynolds at 6:08 AM on March 31, 2014 [5 favorites]

I work for a big company, and it took two weeks (or more? I can't remember) to get the contract. It was awful waiting, because I had mentally checked out of my old job, but I was scared somehow that the new job would fall through. So I've been there.

Call your HR contact. It will be fine and you will have a new job soon--but get some Tums.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:13 AM on March 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

Call. The HR people I know get slammed with so much unsolicited email that the important ones can sometimes be lost in the shuffle.
posted by kimberussell at 6:14 AM on March 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

I will go with the HR first.
Should I call or e-mail?

Email. Calling is great for when you need a quick yea/nay answer, but when you're asking someone a question that will likely require them to do some searching, email is always better and far more polite. If you don't get an answer within 1-2 business days, then you can call.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 6:15 AM on March 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

I was thrilled to receive this offer but I am now worried it will somehow fall through. I have already told my friends and family and they are organizing a good bye party. It would be awful if it somehow didn't happen. That's really my main worry. Not the particulars of the contract, just that the lack of contract means that they may have changed their mind.
posted by sabina_r at 6:16 AM on March 31, 2014

I was thrilled to receive this offer but I am now worried it will somehow fall through. I have already told my friends and family and they are organizing a good bye party. It would be awful if it somehow didn't happen. That's really my main worry. Not the particulars of the contract, just that the lack of contract means that they may have changed their mind.

I know how stressful waiting can be. But really, it's very common for large organizations to move at a positively glacial pace on things like this. Don't panic until you need to. Send your HR contact a polite email and go from there.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 6:19 AM on March 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

I don't have an opinion on whether you should email or call, but I will say that when my brother was last interviewing for work, the offer he was waiting for (by email, not post) from one company went into his spam filter and both he and the company sat around for a few days wondering why they weren't hearing from each other. If it's been a week and you haven't heard yet, definitely follow up -- things go astray, and you don't want to leave this any longer.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:54 AM on March 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

There are all kinds of minor logistical hiccups that can prevent the relocation and hire paperwork from being sent out on time, and sometimes left hand doesn't know what right hand is doing in a large company and it can turn into a big problem. Email this morning, call in the afternoon if you haven't received a response.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:50 AM on March 31, 2014

It's perfectly reasonable to make a professional reply to the HR contact; you can either send an email out this morning, or call in the afternoon after your mail has arrived for today.

Hello Mr. HR,
I just wanted to check in with you on progress toward finalizing my acceptance. I have not yet received the contract, though I am hoping to see it in today's mail. Did you send that USPS or FedEx?
Please also let me know how to proceed regarding relocation. Should I be expecting to be contacted by a moving company?
(super excited about XYZ Corp, looking forward to hearing from you etc)

Alternately, calling can be easier, because as soon as you get the guy on the phone, he'll be all "Sabina!!! It's been on my list to call you! Let me find that folder and tell you about the relocation... Oh, the contract, yes we sent that out by oxcart on Friday, you should see it in about 2 weeks." (no, he probably won't say that last bit) He won't be insulted to hear from you "checking up on things" especially since its been a week, and you have legitimate questions like what you should be expecting from the moving company, etc.
posted by aimedwander at 7:54 AM on March 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

If they told you that you have the job, you have the job. Also, it doesn't hurt to call or email the hiring manager or HR. It's their job to deal with questions like that.
posted by empath at 8:12 AM on March 31, 2014

Big companies are cautious to avoid reneging after you accept the offer, because it opens them up to legal risk. If they renege, you have a case to sue them for causing you financial ramifications for quitting your current job, planning to move, and other costs. It is rare that anyone actually sues, but the mere possibility makes HR departments cautious, and hence careful about reneging.

Now, it is different if some information came to light about you that invalidates your job application. For example, if it is discovered that you have a criminal record, or were not truthful in the job application, or a very bad reference came in, there is more leg to stand on for the company to renege.

Of course, if the company is in trouble, they might decide the legal risk of reneging is worthwhile. If they decide to cut a department or do a huge re-org, they have bigger worries and might renege (accepting that legal risk).

So, if you are not worried about any skeletons that emerged from the closet of your job application, and the company is not undergoing restructuring, then you likely do not need to worry too much. BUT if it were me, I would ask to get the offer PDF and sign it ASAP, just to have the increased peace of mind. Low risk is still nonzero.
posted by cheesecake at 3:52 PM on March 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

cheesecake - nope, no skeletons. I also wonder, wouldn't someone call me and let me know if they changed their mind?
posted by sabina_r at 6:07 PM on March 31, 2014

As an update - still no contract. My hiring manager is on a leave so I spoke to HR. I told them that I want to check if my address is correct. It actually wasn't correct so they updated it. They acted like they know who I am and that they are working on my contract. But I got no specifics in terms of when they will send the contract. I didn't want to be pushy.

I also got an email from a hiring manager to tell me that he is taking a few weeks leave and gave me contact details of a person that is his replacement in the meantime. I am thinking of waiting another week and calling that person up.

Mostly because from that communication I inferred that nobody changed their mind in hiring me, it just takes a while between HR and hiring manager on a leave to process it all. Do you guys think that there is a reason to worry?

I am going ahead with my going away party and everything as planned.
posted by sabina_r at 3:08 AM on April 3, 2014

I wouldn't worry too much, but I also know that if you are anything like me, the wait and silence is driving you bananas. Even in small, nimble companies the hiring and onboarding process can sometimes seem like forever. Congratulations and best of luck with the new gig, btw!
posted by jquinby at 5:57 AM on April 3, 2014

I don't understand why you didn't ask them when to expect the paperwork. And if the hiring manager is going out on leave, oh boy -- you definitely need to make sure the ends are tied up before he goes. I would call HR back today and ask when to expect the hiring paperwork, as you need to make plans for relocation, giving your notice, etc. Actually maybe email them, and then call tomorrow if you don't get a response.
posted by fingersandtoes at 11:45 AM on April 3, 2014

Hiring manager has already left so I have to trust that he tied up all the loose ends from his end. Giving into my anxiety and calling repeatedly to get reassurances did nothing for me in the past but gave me the reputation of being pain in the a$$. I can't relocate or even go over there to look at apartments until the last week of April anyway (because of my current job commitments). I basically want to give them another week before calling again and being more pushy. Yes I am anxious and yes the situation is not ideal but I will put up with it for now. I really think it's just the matter of waiting it out.

I got invited for an interview for another position yesterday that I applied to a while ago. I won't interview because I have already accepted this job offer and prefer it to the one the interview is for. Even if this job offer falls through, there are other options and it's not the end of the world.
posted by sabina_r at 1:50 PM on April 3, 2014

Just to update that I have long since received the contract, everything is in order and I am finishing up packing and taking a 7am flight tomorrow morning. I start work in a few days.

Thanks for your help.
posted by sabina_r at 8:03 PM on April 30, 2014 [3 favorites]

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