Candidates Are Delaying Start Dates

August 23, 2016

By David Peterson, Managing Partner, DRI

Today more than ever, we see candidates accept a new position that really excites them but when their new employer is ready to schedule the start date, the candidate delays it.

In one particular case, our client extended a job offer to their perfect candidate for the job.  After accepting a job offer and being approved to start in two weeks, the candidate did not want to start for another 3 months. Obviously, this didn’t go over well with the hiring manager.  However, they agreed to wait.

In another instance, a candidate wanted to wait 60 days before giving his current employer a two week notice due to a possible bonus.  The bonus wasn’t a sure thing, but he was willing to take the chance.  In this case, the hiring manager moved on to hire someone else who could start right away. Delaying the start date can be very risky. In fact, moving the start date at all is a red flag to employers that you aren’t serious about taking the job.

So why all the delays? Candidates have given a number of reasons such as a planned family vacation, time to decompress from past position, completing a current project, waiting for bonuses and/or commission as in the example above. If you have to delay your start date, there’s a right way to go about.  It may take some negotiating.

Here are a few tips on how to handle negotiating a delayed start date for your new job:

  • If you’re not able to start on the employers preferred start date, be careful how you discuss this. Don’t say you can’t start on that date but instead ask if there is room for negotiation.
  • Be prepared to offer a solid reason as to why you have to postpone the start date. Then, ask if there’s any flexibility.  Chances are that if it’s a valid reason, your new employer will work with you on a new date start.
  • If there’s a previous commitment that you made and it’s on your calendar such as a planned vacation or destination wedding, most employers will understand. However, offer a reasonable start date in return. Sometimes offering your time for some training before the start date may help to bridge the gap and show your excitement about the new opportunity.
  • Be ready for give and take. If your current employer has a policy of a 4 week notice rather than a 2 week notice, try and split the difference and stay 3 weeks.  Your new employer will appreciate that you are trying to honor the requirement and leave on good terms. They will also appreciate the excitement this shows about starting your new job as soon as you tie up loose ends.

Have you ever delayed a start date? Tell us what happened.