Verbal offers of employment: not worth the paper they’re written on. Or are they?

column-181570480A recent employment tribunal has ordered an employer to pay damages after it withdrew a job offer. The claimant in McCann V Snozone Ltd was awarded £2,708 for breach of contract, as well as £390 in tribunal fees, after a verbal offer made through the employer’s agent was withdrawn.

Some of the details of this case are blurred. Following two interviews, telephone conversations were held with the agency in which, according to the claimant’s version of events, he was offered and accepted the post. Even though a start date, or a salary was yet to be agreed the tribunal presented this view: “it is trite law that a contract is made by offer and acceptance, such legal relations as are thereby created can only be terminated by the giving of notice in accordance with the contract”.

So in this instance, the tribunal decided that a contract had been established, even though not all of the details had been agreed, and it wasn’t presented or confirmed in writing.

Whether you agree with the tribunal’s decision, this whole situation highlights one thing, that clear communication in a recruitment process is vital. And this stands if you are working with a recruitment consultant or not.

It is essential to keep people who are involved in your application process up to date with information. People like information. Sometimes, no news is news. If there is a delay to a decision being made, let them know. Most will be understanding and appreciate being kept informed.

Recruitment can be a tricky process to manage, especially if you, as the hiring manager also have to juggle your “normal” workload. It is a full time job (ask my wife!). And more. Working with a recruitment consultant should be a positive experience that makes life easier. If you would like to have a chat about how Watson Evans Associates could work with you, please get in touch by calling 01872 306 111 or emailing


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