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Lucie Mitchell

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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HR tip: Unanswered job offer


These questions are being answered by Learn HR, a market leader in the provision of HR and payroll training and nationally-recognised professional qualifications.


A couple of weeks ago, we wrote to a man offering him a job but he has so far not replied. We suspect that he is trying to wring a better deal from his existing employer. If he does eventually write back accepting the job, but we have already offered it to someone else, at what point can we say that he was too late?

After a reasonable time, though I cannot define how long that is. Two days would not be long enough, two months would be too long. Therefore I suggest that you do all that you can to contact the man. Try to reach him by phone or send a letter by messenger or recorded delivery after having checked his address. State that you need a reply within, say, two days after which the offer will be no longer valid. In future I suggest that you finish any offer with a sentence saying that, to accept, the person must reply to you in writing by a stated date, say seven days after sending the letter.

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2 Responses

  1. Unanswered job offer
    Maybe we are overlooking something obvious here but a phone call looks like a good idea. If leaving a message perhaps mention a deadline, but not using the telephone seems odd.

  2. Unanswered job offer
    What a really interesting question. I’m NOT an employment lawyer but I would have thought that using the exact same communication channel again (and recording it) and requiring him to respond within a sensible period would be the way ahead.

    I suppose the learning point is to include a timescale in the initial offer so that it (metaphorically) self destructs after a certain period.

    Tim Latham

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Lucie Mitchell

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Lucie Mitchell

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