Career Advice Tuesday- “Verbal Offer – Trick or Treat”
November 1, 2011
I am in the middle of a job search and I was recently extended a verbal offer to work as an information security engineer at a boutique consultancy. While I have not received the offer in writing, one of the contingencies of the offer is that I begin work within two weeks. The financial terms are acceptable, but I have not been able to view all of the other elements of the offer package, and because the company is small (less than 20 people) I have some concerns about health care, 401K, etc .
In addition, I am still investigating another opportunity that maybe a better fit for my long term career goals. Also, it is very possible that I decide to not leave my company after all, as they may provide me a counter offer.
Can you please give me some advice on how to handle this,
“Trick or Treat”
Dear “Trick or Treater” –
Your questions has many elements so I will address them in how I would prioritize them –
1) Your verbal offer is just that- a verbal offer. You should not resign or notify your current employer of your intention to leave, unless you have had a chance to review the written terms of the offer letter, have the ability to ask questions about the terms and conditions, and are comfortable with all of the contingencies (start date, background check, etc.)
2) I would be concerned about any company that utilizes a “start date” as a contingency of the offer. At your level, companies are within bounds to ask for a start date within three weeks (maybe four) for beginning work. They should not demand for you to give less than 2 weeks, just as you should not ask them to extend their terms beyond 30 days for transition. That is an excessive transition period, for a non manager/director level infosec leader.
3) If you have another offer that you feel may be better for you, you should figure out a way to achieve resolution. Either positive or negative, you should press the other company to determine if they are going to move forward with your candidacy, and what the timetable for completion of your interview process will be. Once you receive it, then you should be able to make your decision if you are going to take the risk of waiting or not.
4) I think that counter offers are a bad idea in general. I think that if you have to threaten to leave you job, to get what you want – you have either not developed a good relationship with your manager, or your organization has proactively listened to your requests to advance your career – or even worse, do not think you are qualified.
In the end, the most important thing to take away is that you should not feel pressured to accept the offer and resign from your current position without having it in “writing” – and with a full understanding of all terms and conditions of employment at your new company.
Hope this helps,
Lee and Mike