Important Information

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Start Date Pushed Back – Offer Rescinded – What are your options?

After a 3 month job search, a friend of mine finally thought he had made progress. He got past the talent acquisition screening, got the phone interview, got the video interview, flew-out of state for the face to face interview and got an offer – yea!! The process from start to finish was about 7 weeks. A great burden was lifted off his shoulders and he and his family were on cloud 9.

His start date was to be June 1 more than two week ago. He told me that they had called him on Friday May 29 and told him that his start date would be delayed one week and not to worry. They explained that the delay was due to a new payroll process where all new hires had to start at the beginning of a pay cycle (they pay ever other week). He accepted the change, when on a needed 3 day vacation with his family only to find out when he got back his start date was again pushed back this time for two weeks without an explanation.

He asked me for advice, he invested 7 weeks to get the job and now an additional 3 weeks to his scheduled start date. He now wonders - Is the job offer real? Did he waste 10 weeks? Should he seek legal advise? What should he do?

I fear his situation is not unique, that it is a trend that's becoming more common as the economy continues to stagnate. Companies are downsize and institute hiring freezes, job seekers are finding start dates pushed back and job offers withdrawn completely.

My advice to him was to be the ultimate professional, take a deep breath and calmly ask – Why the delay? It could be that the budget was cut, the project was re-scoped, perhaps politics - some VP's son-in-law needed a job, some issues with your reference check, credentials on your resume. You need to know and they owe you an explanation.

I would forget the legal advice – With at-will employment laws in most states, you may have the time but not the energy or financial capacity to pursue this option. Besides, if you threatened them with legal action and they said you can start today would you really want to work for a company who operates like that?

Find out why and deal with the things you can impact and change. In most cases, job offers are contingent on successful background and credential checks. If the delay is because they have not been able to reach your provided references or verify the credentials, ask what you can do to help. Offer additional references or help to expedite credential verification. If you submitted information on your resume or application that was not truthful – then you just screwed yourself and yes you did waste your time.

If its a budget cut or politics – don't burn any bridges and just move on.
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Anonymous said...

Joe - This has happened to me as well. I am soooooo bumbed

I do disagree - I'd am thinking about sueing the company for breaking a contract - I have an offer letter.

Any legal folks out there care to comment? - Andy

Anonymous said...

I disagree with Andy (unless the job-seeker did something so unwisely committal as buying a house in a new city). The psychic energy involved in a lawsuit will be far better spent in a renewed job search (indeed, job-search advice books adamantly advise not to ease off on a job search when a job start seems imminent). No track coach wants a runner who thinks "I'm near the tape now; I'll ease off before breaking the tape." As a practical matter (I am not an attorney), might not the company, faced with such a lawsuit, hire the applicant, and then fire him/her (at will assumed) in a week? University Lecturer