Is That Job Offer in Writing?

Do you remember the days when one’s word and a handshake could seal a deal, and to not honor it would cast a deep, dark stain on your character? Me neither … although I have heard the stories. Today it is all about written, binding contracts and lawsuits that keep lawyers happy and well-fed.

Today, our words are often empty and meaningless, albeit … polite. And as a result, there is another kind of story taking over that while casting a dark stain on a company, they rarely care. This new story involves a verbal job offer that is rescinded or revoked before the proffered start date.

Words and a handshake of agreement have little to do in our world today. And they have absolutely nothing to do with a verbal job offer. Unless that offer is in writing AND signed, it is merely words that may or may not be retracted at any time no matter how sincere you believe the intent.

It is sad that our words mean so little today. For example, have you ever …

— told someone you would call them back with a decision … but did not? This is a point of great contention with my CFO clients and recruiters.

— agreed to pass on someone’s resume … but did not? You may have had the best of intentions, but it is still buried somewhere on your desk because you are busy solving challenges that have taken precedence.

— offered to make introductions to folks in your network … but did not? This is one of the best ways to cultivate relationships, so not following through can prove disastrous to your future networking efforts.

I think we can all probably remember a time when we acted contrary to our words, even when we had the best of intentions at the time. Sometimes we even say things to be nice or polite but have no intention of doing what we said. That becomes a very big deal when believing a verbal offer means something it may not.

Nick Corcodilos has written a couple of articles (here and here) about this disgraceful situation, which no one in our industry, and I’m sure no jobseeker, wishes to see become a trend.

Two pieces of advice …

Don’t think a verbal offer is iron-clad.Unless you have a written, signed offer which you have also signed and accepted, all you have are words. Don’t confuse the two.

Don’t put in your notice unless and until you have accepted and returned a written, signed offer.

It’s sad that we so often do not say what we mean and mean what we say. If you’ve got a verbal offer, don’t celebrate prematurely. Get it in writing and when it is signed, sealed, and delivered … then, celebrate! When you are done celebrating, update your resume and your Linkedin profile!


Copyright CFO-Coach 2018


Cindy Kraft is the CFO-Coach and America’s leading Career & Personal Brand Strategist for Corporate Finance Executives helping clients understand their marketability, articulate their value, and position themselves as the clear and compelling choice. She is a Certified Reach Personal Brand Strategist, Certified Reach Online Identity Strategist, Certified Career Management Coach, Certified Professional Resume Writer, and Job & Career Transition Coach. Cindy can be reached via email, by phone 813-727-3037, or through her website at

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3 thoughts on “Is That Job Offer in Writing?”

  1. I have personal experience with this. I was promised a min bonus by an external recruiter and when check writing time came around, it was not honored and I was told there was no min written into my Offer. Lesson learned!

  2. Sage advice, Cindy. I was promised a minimum bonus but at the end of the year told that wasn’t in my offer and the % was slashed. Its even worse that I was told this by the outsourced recruiter so it was a messy ‘he said/she said’ situation. Lesson learned.

    • That is awful, Ali, and I’m very sorry to hear that happened to you. Unfortunately, words have become meaningless and as Dr. House always says … “everybody lies.”

      Thank you for reading and for commenting, Ali. I wish you all the best in your career going forward.


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