How much longer must I wait for the promised confirmation of the job offer? This was the question Peter pondered as he thought about his job search that had been brought to its knees by a confirmation that was taking forever to come through.
He had attended the job interview a month earlier and received an email confirmation from the potential employer that he had been considered the best candidate.
He however had been told to await the letter of offer as the official communication of the consideration.
As he celebrated the tentative offer, he hoped with every passing day that he would receive the job offer to enable him make a decision regarding writing an official resignation letter to his current employer. He had even drafted the resignation letter and saved it on his computer, in preparation.
A day passed, then a week, and another. Peter started panicking; what was going on? He read that email again to confirm that he had actually been told he was being considered for the position.
Then anxiety started to set in; maybe they had opted to hire someone else without informing him, and put paid to his dream to work with them. To make it worse, Peter’s daily performance started slipping. He was only physically present; in his mind, he had already resigned.
He had already whispered to a few of his workmates about his planned exit; how embarrassing it would be if it did not pan out. And what if human resources found out about his planned exit and got an excuse to fire him before that? This was not fun; it was pressure.
Peter’s experience may be a reflection of what some of you are going through.
Waiting for the official communication of a job offer can be a traumatising experience because mentally, the job seeker disengages from the current employer.
The job seeker suspends critical decisions, both at personal and official levels, because she realises that the new job offer is likely to have an impact on the implementation of the decision.
Loan applications, paying one’s current rent or putting in notice with one’s landlord, if the job demands a relocation, or even moving children from one school to another, may all be subject to a confirmation of offer.
However, the most critical aspect is how to handle one’s current employer, from completing notice periods to tying up loose ends.
While it is important for recruiters to respond quickly to potential employees, they will not always have the decency to do so. How do you help yourself in this situation?
Explain to the interview panel and recruitment team, at the time of interview, the amount of time you will need in order to prepare yourself for their job.
Tell them about your notice period and relocation requirements so that they are aware that if they really want you on board, they will have to move with speed.
Do not resign from your current employment until you have received your confirmation of offer; until then, go about life as usual.
Do not hesitate to make key decisions at work, and always keep your line manager in the loop about projects you may not be able to finish.
Remember that the company will survive whether or not you are there, so do not be pressured into feeling responsible for projects you initiate.
Keep in mind that you still have the option to refuse to take up an offer if your new employer insists on you joining them before you are ready.
Kahihu is an organisational development practitioner. Find him at www.kahihu.blogspot.com