Ask for Job Offer in Writing?

Anonymous writes:
I just had a job offer for a sales position. I asked many questionsget_it_in_writing of HR and my soon-to-be manager because I wanted to make a well-informed decision. I got totally burned at my current position by not getting my offer in writing. I felt kind of rushed by the HR person who made me the offer. The employer wanted an answer overnight. I asked many specific questions trying to glean my anticipated income so I could determine if my expenses would be covered by base salary and commission. The HR person said that the company could guarantee me a specific commission during my training period when I could not be proactively working my account base. I said I would like to have my offer in writing. She said they did not usually do that but she would if I needed it. Then she called me at WORK to tell me they rescinded the offer because they felt I had too many concerns for income in a risk/reward structure.

If they are on the up-and-up why would they not want to share information on the position? Is it in appropriate to ask for your offer in writing? Is it possible to ask too many questions when they all say if you have any questions please call and ask?


The Career Doctor responds:

I always advise job-seekers to get job offers in writing if employers don’t offer any form of contract. If an employer seems unwilling one way around the issue is to write an acceptance letter of the job offer in which you spell out what you understand to be the conditions of employment.

For a position such as sales where there are various salary issues including commission levels it is extremely important to get the specifics in writing.

Were you wrong in any way? No. Does the company’s behavior seem a little odd? Yes. Are you better off without this job? Yes though I know it doesn’t feel that way now. Consider yourself lucky because the situation might have been worse if you had accepted the job and then did not receive the promised pay.

Sales does have risk but wanting the details in writing does not seem to me a preoccupation with risk/reward.

For tips on negotiating salary visit Salary Negotiation Resources. This page has some links to some great salary and job-offer tools including a salary negotiation tutorial.

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