Are Your Job Offers On Hold?

by Beverly Harvey

Does it look like the perfect job offer is imminent? Do you have two or three offers pending? Great … but don’t halt the job search just yet.

One of the biggest mistakes job seekers make is to stop their job search activities when it looks like the perfect job offer is imminent. However, even if you have multiple pending offers on the table, do not turn off the job search engine, put away your files, and end your job search just yet. The job search isn’t over until you have received, signed and returned the offer letter and you’ve spent a week or two on the new job.

I’ve heard stories of job seekers who have multiple job offers pending with the caveat of “as soon as I get approval from the boss” or “as soon as the economy turns around” or “as soon as the Board reviews the quarterly figures and approves our request.” These “as soon as” clauses seldom have a specific date attached to them and oftentimes they’re suspended for months for one reason or another and then eventually evaporate. Therefore, you need to keep your job search momentum going until the deal is signed, sealed and delivered!

Many employers continue to advertise so that they can identify and keep a database on the best talent in the market. And what better time is there then now, with so many people unemployed and looking for their next opportunity. The employers’ goal is to keep their pipeline full so that when the economy turns around, they will be able to bring top talent on board quickly. Likewise, you must identify the very best companies to work for and build a relationship with them so that when things turn around, you’ll have your pick from your prime target companies.

While everyone anxiously waits for the economy to turnaround and the job market to return to normal, employers would like to hire some of the good talent they’ve found, but their current restricted budget just doesn’t warrant it. As a result, many recruiters are bringing their candidates in for interviews with different people in the company on an intermittent basis to keep the candidate interested so that when the economic situation turns around they are ready to move forward rapidly.

So, while you may have two, three or even four offers on the table, you cannot afford to let up on your job search no matter how confident you are that an offer is forthcoming. Situations and times change; the company’s goals and objectives may change by the time the economy turns around and perhaps they’ll no longer need that particular position in their company. At the rate companies are being acquired and merged, there’s no telling what positions will still be open in the future. So until you have a firm offer, you must proceed as if you don’t, because ultimately you can only control your side of the search.

When interviewing, be sure to ask questions to uncover these potential scenarios. Ask questions like: How soon will you be filling this position? What is your time frame for filling this position? What are the objectives for this position? What would you expect me to be able to complete in the next three months? How will my performance be measured in the next three months? How long has this position been open? Why is this position open? Was the person who had this position, let go? What is the next step? These questions will help you get at the root of the reason for the opening and perhaps how soon the company realistically expects to fill the position. If the interviewer can’t answer this type of question, then you know it may be a very long time before you receive an offer letter.

While waiting for the position to open up, be sure to keep in touch with the interviewers. This is your opportunity to learn more about the company and the industry and strengthen your relationships. If you have any gaps in experience or knowledge of the company or industry, this is your opportunity to fill in those gaps so that when the position does open up and you re-interview, you’ll appear even more qualified. In the meantime, continue to read about the industry and send the interviewers articles with your comments, opinions and solutions. You may want to share how you can solve the industry’s problems based on problems you’ve solved for other companies and industries. You never know when you’ll strike a chord, gain their interest, and cause them to find the budget to bring you in immediately.

Even if the offer never comes to fruition, bear in mind that you have made some new contacts and expanded your network. You never know what the future holds.

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