Question of the day: How long should a job seeker wait for an offer?

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Question of the day: How long should a job seeker wait for an offer?

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If the job seeker is a friend of mine I recommend they don't count their chickens before they get the official offer letter.  That means until they get that offer letter they are "on the market", available for interviews, etc.  

I think a couple of days is usually enough time for a employer to turn around and present an offer letter.  However, sometimes it takes more than a few days due to the hiring manager or HR not having the time to get the offer together.  This is where good communication comes into play .  The employer needs to communicate Hiring Manager is out of town or getting ready for a quarterly board meeting or dealing with a family emergency, whatever the issue might be.  The hiring manager should be back on Monday and plans to sign your offer letter then.  Just help manage the employee's expectations. 

A verbal offer can depend on a number of factors and some questions that need to be asked by your consultant or at interview.

1. Are there any other candidates being interviewed for this role and if so when do they expect to make make a decision

2. Does the process need to go through HR or Senior Management and if so, what are the likely timescales.

In terms of written offer, sometimes clients email an offer through along with contract, so again can be as quick as the same day.  But I have also worked woth larger consultancies and the process has been 2 weeks or more.


It can sometime go the other way in rec2rec.  I have clients that offer and what a decision there and then, or don't make an 'official offer' until the candidate indicates that they want to join the business.

The time frames vary so with companies. Of course, as the above mentioned corporate process, many other factors to consider. Staying in the loop with all involved in the process is the most important factor for time frame.

Great question, Tim. From my third-party recruiter perspective, the answer depends on so many factors. It's vital that we have as much information as possible from our client (and candidate, in terms of where their head is) - and anyone that's been in this business for awhile knows that can be really challenging with some clients. The transparency we have with our client will allow us to give better consultation to our candidate. That doesn't mean we tell them everything our client tells us, but it does allow us to keep a candidate engaged if there is a chance an offer is coming. If we have a high degree of confidence they will be getting an offer, we will communicate differently with our candidate than if we are in the dark.

Again my opinion is that if you are in this business for the long-run, it's important to be sensitive to the candidate as well as the client. If you are known to be disingenuous with your communication with candidates, that will come back and bite you. I've told candidates to take other jobs (that I wasn't working on) over ones that I had a stake in because it was the right thing to do. By being a straight-shooter, I think you can help guide the candidate to the right decision for them (hang-tight or not).

I'm not sure what you mean, Tim.  People are assuming you mean written after verbal but I think you mean after final round of interviews.  If s/he has a recruiter representing  (like a chihuahua nipping at the clients ankles to get it done), it shouldn't take long at all.  We get paid to move the process along, create urgency if necessary, and keep all sides informed.  Hope that 's what you meant.  

However long it takes to get the offer is how long you wait for a job offer.  Why?  Because the act of a "job offer" is out of your hands as a candidate for a job offer.  Pressing for an immediate decision about a job offer can do more harm than good. 

So if this is the job you want; and this is the employer you want to work for--be patient, politely ask for status--hopefully get the job offer in writing and then judge the plus and minus factors of the offer itself and the employer who extended it.

Since there are exceptions to the "have patience" rule-- those can be shared with a potential employer, e.g., "I have another competing offer with a suspense date."  Or, "My jail sentence for Grand Theft Auto will be in 30 days--at which point I will be available to start work ASAP."

Now, whether a person accepts that job offer is another question entirely.

Just like a candidate would like to entertain all opportunities before making a decision, so would a company.  I think it's up to the recruiter to create a sense of loss for the company if they wait.  I used to always ask, "Is there any compelling reason not to move forward with this candidate"?

I would say that depends on if you are looking into the Insurance biz as possible long term employment. If so, then by all means get your test done and license procured. If you are only looking at this particular company in the industry then I would say probably not.

If they had indicated, that as soon as you have your license or proof of passing the exam in hand, please bring it to us so that we may begin to process your employment on-boarding paperwork it would be a different story.

All the best,


Denise K. White said:

I have a second interview I went on about a week ago. They basically asked me if I had gotten my insurance license yet. I got the impression they liked me but no offer was made. They just said they would not hire anyone without an insurance license. So no offer or even an idea if they want me to work for them. 

I did take the insurance test this week but was short a few answers of passing.
So the questions for me are, "Do I take the test again?"  It's not cheap for a test and license. "If I do, will they hire me?"  "Is it worth the extra cost to work there?"  


What are your thoughts? 

I guess do you need the license for other positions you might want?  If so then yes.  Otherwise I would approach it directly with the employer.  Would they seriously consider hiring you if you got your license?  I would hesitate to spend too much money if the license has a good potential to be useless to you.

A week max!

Different answers come to mind:

1. Until eternity passes

2. 37 seconds

3. 13 days

4. As long as it takes

5. Until you get a better offer

6. Until Godot comes

"Waiting for Good Dough" is what it's really all about, isn't it?  Partly. Maybe. Not.

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