When is an oral job offer as good as a written one?

Concordia University – St. Paul faculty member David Mennicke joined a minority of Public Insight Network folks who’ve commented on the Emmer-Hamline job-offer flap in saying that it wouldn’t be fair to dump a candidate after an oral offer is extended.

He adds:

An oral offer should be extended only if the formal written offer is guaranteed.

He tells me later:

“Once you make that statement, you need to have your ducks in a row. It means you have done due process. Once you’ve made a verbal promise, your word should be good.”

  • BUT, if you screwed up and made an oral offer without following proper procedures, you screwed up! An oral offer is not legally binding, and should never be made until you are absolutely sure that hiring practices have been respected. Otherwise, any administrator could promise a job to a buddy and then say “but I made an oral offer!” That’s why we have those procedures in the first place: to avoid cronyism.