Not sure if I'm posting in the right place. This is in response to the Career Tools podcast "How do I know if I have an offer," but it kept saying comment field was blank when I hit post.

Recruiter said they were ready to make me an offer. He needed to be sure I'd accept it since it was so much paperwork to prepare the offer for Candidate #1, who had declined. Mark said this was "crap" in the podcast. How should I have responded? No title, no salary, no benefit information, and especially of concern, no relocation information yet.

As I wrote in the other thread, I had concerns about the job. I interviewed on Nov 17. The above conversation was Jan 2. They said the title was probably going to be less, and HR had told me at the interview that relocation package varied with title. The VP was rude to me at the interview. So in response to the above, I asked why they really wanted me. I also mentioned changes at my current company that could be beneficial for me. The recruiter interpreted it as lack of interest, and decided they want to talk to other candidates. I have not heard from the recruiter since.

Should I have said, "I'm really excited to join them and look forward to an offer," and saved my questions for later?

mattpalmer's picture

Yes, you should have stuck to the generic "I look forward to an offer".  Asking the recruiter, "so why do you really want me?" wasn't a winning move, and talking yourself up with "most places who meet me really, really, really want me" -- that comes off as entitled, naive, and far, far too full of yourself for comfort.  If you said those things to me, I probably would have responded similarly (although I don't screw around with pseudo-offers, so presumably the issue wouldn't have arisen).

Remember that until you have an offer -- a full-blown, honest-to-goodness "everything's on the table, yes or no time", you don't have control, and you don't have the luxury of sounding off.  Just like you wouldn't tell an interviewer who doesn't know what you're doing, "it's clear you don't know what you're doing here; how about I just tell you what you need to know to decide I'm the right candidate", you don't ask a recruiter, "are you sure you really want me?".  It's just not cricket (or local equivalent).  It won't get you the offer, and it's the offer you're after (or you've decided well and truly that you don't want the job, in which case you politely decline to continue any further).

Before you think I don't know what you're feeling, I've been where you are.  I got jerked around by a recruiter who out-and-out *lied* to me -- and whose lies, if I'd believed them, would have resulted in my moving myself and my family halfway around the world for a job I didn't actually want, and with no means of getting *back*.  All lies captured in e-mail, and everything.  I sounded off in a fairly unprofessional way, and that bridge has now been burnt, bombed, the foundations smashed to bits with a sledgehammer, the remnants ground into dust and scattered to the winds.  Not recommended.

TNoxtort's picture

Thanks for your comment. I didn't say the "really, really" part to the recruiter, just asked them why they wanted me. The reason has to do with how the interview went. I had written about it on this thread: and folks had suggested I think of questions to ask.

I guess I thought I'd be lying to recruiter to say that I'd be ready to accept the offer because 1) I was still waiting to see how things were shaking out at my current employer (so-so today), 2) the interview was OK, but I didn't walk out saying this place was better than my current employer, and 3) I still had questions for them about the nature of the role and what the job was. Recruiter was the one that pushed me to go on the interview, and when I got there they told me they already had Candidate #1 and I was the backup.

I've learned, next time, continue to act excited, and that no matter what I tell the recruiter, I have a right to decline if and when an offer comes.

mattpalmer's picture

Since you cannot accept an offer you don't have, you can say whatever you like before you actually get the offer, and none of it binds you to the offer itself (unless you actually say "whatever the offer is you give me, I'll accept it" -- that's just an invitation to be exploited).  When you don't have an offer, you should always be excited to receive the offer.  Whether you'll be excited to accept the job depends on the offer -- which you do not yet have.

As Mark said in this thread, of another company trying a similar trick, "they are being disingenuous by attempting to use your honor against you by not doing the work necessary to finalize the offer.  Other organizations cannot use your honor against you to benefit themselves."  Pretty much says it all, really.

ProcReg's picture

I had a situation where the recruiter contacted me about a position and a week went by with no word (we'll call him R1). Another recruiter (R2) had an opportunity with the same company. I told R2 about R1; he said it's no problem; as it's not the same position. Another week went by with no word from R1, and I interviewed with the company. R2 said the company was very interested on Friday morning, but that this isn't an offer, but that his experience told him one was coming. I did feel like he was being honest with me, so I put it out of my mind.

The offer came the following Monday morning.  This is three weeks after the initial contact with R1; he calls me to tell me I have an interview with the company, and that the hiring manager is back from vacation. I told him that's great, but I've already got an offer from the same company. I told him I had forgotten about him because he'd taken so long. He was pretty unhappy with me, but I had to operate in my best interest (of which he was not).

Point is, keep looking until your name is on a piece of paper in cursive handwriting!

"It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed." - Theodore Roosevelt

"Public opinion is a weak tyrant to that of private thought." HD Thoreau Walden

TNoxtort's picture

Thanks for all the comments. I'm glad I learned on this job (which I was not as interested in to begin with). This recruiter, I realize, knew what he was doing. The phone interview for this job, along with another job, were the same week. I was not interested in either, but recruiter insisted both were ready to hire me. For this first job (this thread is about the 2nd one), he told me my #1 goal was to figure out if I liked the place. So I went, perhaps let my guard down, and asked too many questions. I concluded it was not for me, but I was surprised they concluded the same, whereas the recruiter told me beforehand they were ready to hire me. And then a few weeks later I had this second interview. So this recruiter really knows how to get both side super excited about a job.

I spoke to another internal recruiter this week about a job at another company. I know this company as several coworkers have gone there. She pointed out I'd have to take a lower salary due to cost of living going down.. I said that was understandable. She talked about the relocation plan, which was not that good, but I didn't say anything. Talked about what I do and then she said she'd send it to the hiring manager. So I said nothing negative.

Meanwhile, in my current job, we had a reorganization, and I can see now that one of the purposes was to positively affect me. I am now on my 6th boss in 7 years. My boss's boss acknowledged before the holidays that I have not had a good supervisor in probably about 5 years and he was doing a reorg. I had asked to work for him, but he did not grant that, but I think that is OK since he doesn't have time. The new boss and I had a talk this week, and she brought up all the negative things that had happened to me, that I had planned to bring up, and she talked about really helping me with my project, helping me advance, and helping me better handle the politics in our department.

TNoxtort's picture

 So recruiter did finally call me today. He said that company does mention my name once in awhile, but they still can't decide what they wanted to do. The other company I mentioned took a year before calling me back again, so oh well. Meanwhile, this recruiter had yet another opportunity he wanted to present to me, again, in the very niche pharmaceutical area that I work in. I said sure, I'll talk on a phone interview.