Question: Last week, I went in for an interview with a new company that just opened up in our city. They are hiring thousands of people and I really want to work there.

My interview went really well and my new boss even showed me around the place. He introduced me to a bunch of people and had me get a badge. I got a verbal offer from him. He said someone from HR would be sending me my offer by email and would have some paperwork for me to complete.

He knew I was working somewhere else and asked that I resign from my job so that I could start to work immediately. The next day, I went into my part-time job and resigned. I was really happy to leave because I did not like the job.

It has been almost a week since I had my interview and I have not heard anything. This last weekend had a holiday. I called the HR person and the message on her phone said she was on vacation last week and her mailbox was full. I called back the next day and was able to leave a message. I have called and left messages with my new boss and the HR recruiter who helped me get the interview.

The only person I have talked to is the HR recruiter and he was surprised that I had not started working.

My husband wants me to go down to the HR department and find out what is happening. He is worried that I will not get an offer, but I told him that my boss did make the offer in front of three people. What should I do?

Answer: You have a lot going on. Let’s dissect what’s happened, what you should have done differently and what to do going forward.

When you interviewed with your new boss and received the verbal offer – remember it is a verbal offer and the proof of employment is when you get it in writing. Just because there were other people present, and let’s be honest, those are employees who work for the company – do you think they are going to testify on your behalf?

I know that some people think a verbal agreement is enforceable, however the fact is you may have a few more hurdles before starting work. For example, the paperwork that HR has to complete with you may include successfully passing a background check, reference check, drug testing and other things before putting the offer in writing.

The delayed response from HR is likely due to two things:

  1. HR is overwhelmed with the hiring process and you have not made it to the top of the list (especially if someone is coming off a week of vacation)
  2. HR is conducting your background and reference checks

Marching down to the HR department unannounced is not recommended. It is unlikely the person you need to see is available and she will not appreciate being caught off guard or ill prepared to respond to your questions.

There is a fine line between being a pest and being assertive. Calling everyone in the organization will make you a pest. Figure out who is best able to cut through the red tape and move your employment process along.

At the end of the week, if you have not heard back from the company, I would call the HR recruiter again since that is the person who sponsored you throughout the interview process. Ask him to follow-up on the status of employment and when he can get back to you with an update.

The fact that your boss asked you to resign last week from your other job was premature. To protect your interests and to move the hiring process along, I would suggest the following response:

I will be happy to resign from my current job after I receive a written offer and it is accepted.

For some reason, if the company fails to go through with an offer, the fact that you resigned from your other job is not their fault. Ultimately, you had the choice of when to resign.

Finally, show a little patience, it will go a long way when you eventually become an employee.