The more and more I get involved with recruitment, I see less and less value of an offer letter – in fact the offer letter seems to be more damaging to the recruitment process than good.
A number of times this year I have seen offer letters signed and returned to future employer only then a week later the candidate to turn around and say they are no longer going to take the role as they got a counter offer from their current employer. Or in another case one took the offer letter and during the time between resigning and starting his new role kept on looking for roles using the offer letter as proof of the new title and more importantly the new salary they had achieved.
Now I understand that most people are ethical enough to respect an offer letter and have their signature mean more than just some ink on a page but the trend for those that don’t is definitely increasing. The potential employer has no idea what damage has been done to the reputation of the recruitment company in the process, or the damage and disappointment it has caused the recruiter that worked so hard to get them the role.
A sign of the times perhaps!
What can be done to deter this? I ask this question all the time – I can only see two answers
1) Make the candidate sign an agreement letter before signing an offer letter suggesting that should you sign an offer letter and then change your mind then there will be a penalty fee to pay – either a fixed amount or a % against agreed upon salary
2) Forget the offer stage and go straight for a legally binding contract so should there be any change then legal action could be taken which would also inform your current employer that you had signed a contract with another group.
Both extreme but not sure what else can be done.
Off course companies are also without blame – withdrawing offers after candidates have resigned to take up new posts. Similarly deterrents and penalties should be put in place to protect candidates.
Suggestions would be welcome in the comments boxes…