What To Do When a Job Offer is Put on Hold

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It is not uncommon for employers to carry out a search for candidates and conduct interviews, only to halt the process prior to making an offer.

Candidates may or may not be informed about why the offer has been put on hold, but reasons range from unanticipated budget concerns and unexpected restructuring to a change of heart by an incumbent about leaving the firm.

What To Do When a Job Offer is Put on Hold

What should you do if you are given a job offer, but then are told it is on hold? First, ask the employer if there is a time frame for determining the status of the job to get an idea about when a decision might be made. During the discussion, let the company representative know that you are very interested in the job and would like to receive continued consideration.

Toward the end of the time period given by the employer, reach out to your contact at the company. If no timing has been shared wait about three weeks to follow up.

How to Follow Up

Your follow-up communication should usually be an email unless the employer has suggested a phone call so that you avoid pestering your contact.

Your overture can be framed as "checking in" on the status of the search and should include an affirmative statement regarding your continuing interest. You might consider providing some new information of potential interest such as an additional certification, award or accomplishment.

It is common for job seekers who have received some positive indications that they are a preferred candidate to halt their job search activity. That's not a good idea. You should continue your active search for other jobs until you have a definitive job offer. That way, you won't lose momentum with your search since the job at hand may never materialize.

Sample Email Following Up on a Job Offer That Is on Hold

Subject: Following Up – Administrative Assistant Job

Dear Mr. Jones,

I’m just following up on the administrative position we discussed last month. Have you had any word on whether the company will be moving forward with hiring?

I know this time of year is busy, so I hope you’ll forgive my cluttering your inbox further. I’m excited about the role and wanted to make sure I didn’t let too much time go by before reaching out to reiterate my interest.

I’m particularly enthusiastic about the chance to use my research and organizational skills, as well as my five years of industry-specific experience as administrative assistant, to help your company achieve its important mission. I also wanted to mention that I have significant experience with photo and video editing software, in case that would be useful in the role as the company grows.

I want to thank you again for your consideration and for taking the time to meet with me. I hope you’re enjoying the season.


Sarah Smith
7 Main Street,
Midtown, Ohio 44103

What to Do If the Employer Ghosts You

Sometimes, after the job offer has been placed on hold, the employer will withdraw the offer altogether. Again, this doesn’t necessarily reflect on you. Employers withdraw job offers for all kinds of reasons, including a reduced budget or a change in direction.

But what do you do if the employer doesn’t get back to you… or respond to your email at all?

Think Twice Before Following Up in Another Way

If you’ve followed up once via email and heard nothing in response, you might try following up via phone a week or so after sending your email. But you should understand that this is risky.

Although it’s always possible that your email is languishing in a spam folder, reaching out via phone (even once) can feel aggressive to some hiring managers in our phone-phobic age. Unless they’ve specifically said that phone contact is OK, it’s best to avoid it.

No matter what you decide, it’s important not to overdo your attempt to follow up. If you choose to call the employer, do so once. Leave a brief message with your name and phone number and the reason for your call. Keep your tone pleasant and the content of your message brief and polite.

Don’t Stalk the Hiring Manager

Once you’ve followed up, twice at most, let it go. Continuing to reach out to the hiring manager won’t look professional.

Annoying HR is never a good plan when you’re interviewing for jobs. While you may be done with the interview process at this firm, you don’t want to run the risk of overdoing it and ruining your reputation in the industry. Most corporate worlds are very small; don’t become the candidate that everyone’s talking about, and not in a good way.

Consider Yourself Better Off

Ultimately, if a company extends an offer, puts it on hold, and then ghosts, you’re better off than you would be if you’d gotten the job. Imagine what it would be like to work for an organization that treats its employees like that! Although it’s stressful to return to a job search when you thought you had an offer lined up, it’s easier than starting your search anew just a few weeks into a job.