Ghosted After Verbal Offer From PE Firm


I've been following WSO for years, but have come across a situation I haven't seen answered yet and finally have a reason to post.

I live in a small regional market and recently received a job offer as an Associate at a middle market PE firm with ~$500MM AUM. That's the good news. All they need to do is check my references and then I will be presented with a written offer. The bad news is that I began interviewing in April, received the offer in June, and now we're coming up on October and they still haven't checked my references!

The firm currently has 4 individuals working there (1 left the firm right after I began interviewing, but it was a planned exit). Throughout my interviewing process, the main partner has missed 2 scheduled phone interviews and has been pretty bad at responding to my emails. After almost 2 months of ghosting me after the final interview, he finally called me back to give me feedback and offered me the job over the phone back in June. Since then, I've sent a follow up email for my reference checks and it took the partner 3 weeks to respond (he ignored a previous follow up I sent) in which he said they've been stretched thin and guys have been out of the office traveling. I give them the benefit of the doubt being a small operation as they could be working on a live deal and its also Summer. Anyhow, I sent another email asking for an update about 4 weeks ago (august) and still haven't heard anything. I assume most people would suggest just moving on, but given I live in a small regional market, these opps are kind of rare so persistence might be key here. The partner has a history of not being a great communicator, but I don't get the feeling he's ghosting me on purpose, maybe they're just spread too thin? Does anyone have any insight to what may be going on?

Thanks in advance.

Comments (7)

Most Helpful
Sep 20, 2019 - 11:45pm

Tough situation. At this point, you should do what we do when we feel like we've been jerked around on a deal. Email something professional but firm that gets across your displeasure and effectively asks them to fish or cut bait. If worded correctly, this will gain their respect as it shows self-respect and they should be embarrassed by their behavior. Something like, "I understand you and the rest of your team have been extremely busy and I understand and respect that. Respectfully, it has been 3 months since you have indicated to me that you were preparing an offer letter imminently. Given the length of time that has passed since then, I would really appreciate some clarity on the status and timing of this offer letter. If you have decided to move in a different direction, I would very disappointed, but please let me know if that is indeed the case so I can pursue other opportunities. I'd like to restate my high interest and excitement in this opportunity and I am eager to get started. I look forward to reconnecting and moving forward."

  • 16
Sep 25, 2019 - 3:02am

I'd ask for a written offer they've had more than enough time to get your references. Ask for the written offer and say you're ready to read over the contract and sign the letter. Might also be worth reaching out to whoever ran the process or whatever associate / VP you connected the most with.

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