Should You Accept a Verbal Job Offer?

Fistful of Talent is one of the blogs I regularly follow. Since it is written by thought-leaders in the recruiting industry, it helps me stay abreast of trends and ideas.

In a recent post, Jessica Lee, Senior Employment Manager for APCO Worldwide, wondered aloud why candidates were so skittish to accept a verbal job offer by a corporate (translation in-house) recruiter. Her thought process is admirable … she obviously operates from a position of integrity and honesty. Her follow-up question near the end of the comments …

The bigger question still for me is… as recruiters or hiring managers, why are you making job offers that aren't going to come through?

… I think confirms my assessment of her.

However, stuff happens. And in today‚Äôs economy, my advice as a career coach is to NEVER resign a position unless and until you have a written, signed offer that outlines every agreed-to detail. 

Both the post and the comments are interesting, and a good read.

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2 thoughts on “Should You Accept a Verbal Job Offer?”

  1. Having spent many years as an “in house” and “corporate” recruiter I will say that these recruiters don’t extend a verbal offer thinking that it may never really come to fruition. Unfortunately, in house recruiters are not privy to some very important information (department headcount strategy, budgets, etc) that is crucial in getting through the red tape to get the offer.
    However, I couldn’t possibly agree any more that you should NEVER resign from your current position without having a formal written offer that you can live with. But word or caution, I have actually seen companies retract the offer if your references, background checks, etc don’t pan out so be truthful and honest on your application and resume.
    Paula Wood

  2. I absolutely agree, Paula. It is not recruiters’ integrity that is questionable. Rather, it is the nebulous nature of a “verbal” agreement. Accepting a position contingent upon receiving a written offer is fine. Resigning before you receive a written offer is potentially devastating.


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