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Case study Verbal acceptance of job offer


Recruitment isone of the most challenging tasks that companies carry out. It isthrough this process that an organization will get sufficient skillsand expertise to perform its activities. Convincing a would-beapplicant to accept a job offer might be a challenge for mostcompanies due to various factors. For example, the attractivefeatures in a job offer determine whether a would-be employee willaccept the offer. Furthermore, what other companies include in theirjob offers may also influence the possibility of a person acceptingthe offer from an organization. Because of the factors that influencerecruitment and offer acceptance, there are legal and ethicalguidelines that should be considered to ensure success and fairness.This paper provides answers to a case study questions.

Did the candidate act in an appropriate manner?

The candidate didnot act in an appropriate manner. It is unethical to decline the joboffer after verbally accepting it. When the candidate accepted theoffer, the company had withdrawn from the activities of searching foranother applicant to fill the position. Before accepting an offer,even verbally, an applicant usually reviews the pros and cons ofaccepting or rejecting the offer. Once the candidate is certain withthe offer, he accepts it. Therefore, the applicant had raised thehopes of Company X which confirmed that he was content with theiroffer. Declining an offer after verbal acceptance for another offerfrom a different company puts a black mark on the candidate. Thisshows that no company will trust the candidate commitment since thedecision might change any moment. Companies usually invest in therecruitment process and thus, incur extra expense when they carry outthe process again. Therefore, turning down an offer after verbalacceptance is devastating to the company and applicant’sreputation.

What should the candidate have done?

The candidateshould have sought for advice before accepting the job verbally. Thisis important in determining whether the applicant is fit for the joband if the company is offering what he wants.

What would have you done if you had been in the candidate’sposition?

There are variousfactors that I would have considered if I was in the position of theapplicant. Before verbally accepting the offer from Company X, Iwould have analyzed it and compare with what I want and offers fromother companies. Through this process, I might have come acrossCompany Y. I would compare the two offers and then make my decision.However, if Company Y approached me after a verbal commitment toCompany X, I would stick to the first offer. The only differencebetween the jobs is prestige. Turning down the initial offer becauseof prestige is no enough reason to close the door behind. Seekingadvice on whether to accept or decline an employment offer isappropriate before accepting it. The decision should be final.

Did Company Y act ethically, knowing the candidate had verballyaccepted another offer?

Company Y did notact ethically by approaching the applicant after he had a verbalcommitment to Company X’s job. Recruitment process involves theinvestment of time, energy, and knowledge. Company X evaluated thequalities of the initial three applicants and came with its choicefor the best. However, the other organization seems to be poor inselecting an appropriate applicant to fill the job position or wanteda shortcut. Hijacking an applicant who has been evaluated andconfirmed fit by another company is unethical. Company Y waited forCompany X to determine the best candidate. Both organizations knowthat the process of recruiting employees requires resources. Ethicsencourages business to engage in fair competition by considering theimpacts of one’s actions on the other. It would be ethical if theactions of Company Y do not have negative effects on Company X’srecruitment process. Both companies should have the best employees.However, none of the companies should achieve its success at theexpense of the other. This is the opposite in the case of Company Xand Company Y.

Does a verbal acceptance constitute a legal and binding contact?

Verbal acceptanceof job offers is legally binding. Contracts do not need to be inwriting in order to be considered legally binding. An employmentagreement can be and is usually an oral contract offered and acceptedorally. Verbal acceptance is a binding contract, especially if thelaw allows such forms of job commitment. Each element of therecruitment process constitutes the binding contract. Since verbalacceptance is part of the process, it is legally binding. An oralagreement is sufficient to place a provisional booking. It acts as acommitment to the job an applicant has accepted and if anyone offersan applicant another job, the applicant has the responsibility ofinforming the first employer. It is advisable to accompany an oralcommitment to an offer with documents such as signed contracts andemployee handbooks.

What should the candidate’s mentor have advised him to do?

In case thecandidate was no longer interested in the offer made by Company X, heshould have informed the employer in writing about the change ofposition of the oral agreement. The mentor should have advised theapplicant on how he could decline the offer after accepting it whilemaintaining his reputation and maintaining a good relationship withthe employer.

Should Company X take any action to enforce the verbal commitment?Should it take any legal action against the candidate or Company Y?Why or why not?

Company X has the right to take action to enforce the verbalcommitment. It spent much time and energy in the recruitment process.The acceptance of the offer by the applicant confirms that theapplicant has a commitment to the organization. Therefore, Company Xmay take legal action against both the applicant and Company Y. Thecandidate has a case to answer because he has violated his verbalcommitment to the first company by accepting another offer. Company Xdid not act in any manner that could have made the applicant todecline the offer that is already accepted. Company Y also has aquestion to answer in a court of law because it offered the applicantanother job while it had information on the verbal acceptance of thejob at Company X.

How can situation like this be avoided?

Company X canavoid such situations in the future by providing details of acceptingthe job offer in writing and verbally. The details should include theimplications of accepting the offer verbally. The applicant will beable to analyze the offer intensively before making an informed andfinal decision. Another strategy is through improving theattractiveness of the offer to keep the candidate interested.

What Company X should have done to maintain the candidate’sinterest in the position?

According toRecruitment and Selection Today 6.6, Company X can maintain thecandidate’s interest in its offer by providing information. Theprovision of more details influences the applicant’s behavior,organizational familiarity and corporate image to the company’sadvantage. The candidate was convinced that the offer from Company Ywas better that the first one. If he had been provided with moredetails of the job, the candidate could be in a position to identifythe associated benefits. When the applicant is familiar with anorganization, he holds a positive corporate image of it. Increasingfamiliarity reduces the chances of accepting another offer.


Every element ofthe recruitment process is essential and contributes to the legallybinding employment contract. However, verbally accepted contract hasa challenge due to the confusion of whether it is legally binding ornot. Both the applicant and company Y were unethical in having anemployment agreement after the verbal commitment to the first offer.An organization can maintain the interest of job applicants byinfluencing their behavior and organizational familiarity.