in Employers

Attaching a Time Limit to a Job Offer

Recently we have had dealings with a firm who are very well known and established, and have a good reputation in the market place.

However the firm have made an offer to one of our candidates and pushed slightly too hard, such that the candidate rejected the offer. I should start by saying that I understand entirely why firms would want to put a deadline on an offer and also push a candidate to get a decision one way or the other, and all recruitment consultants have dealt with those candidates who claim to be thinking about it but in reality are not bothered or using the offer to ramp up their salary at their current firm.

However, as soon as a firm sticks a time limit on an offer I can almost always see the writing on the wall – either the candidate will reject them immediately on the basis that they wouldn’t want to work for such a pushy employer, or the relationship between the candidate and the firm will be shortlived – the candidate will always remember that they were pushed by the firm, and bears a grudge!

A better way to deal with the situation is to set a deadline from the outset, and then after that date indicate that there are other candidates out there who you need to interview. This is less confrontational, and can be the gentle nudge needed to push the candidate into making a positive decision. After working in recruitment for a number of years you do start to get a sense of deja vu!

Author: Jonathan Fagan MIRP MAC Cert RP LLM Solicitor (non-practising) – Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment ( – save time, skip the legal job boards and register with us!  Jonathan Fagan is a specialist legal recruitment consultant, author of the Complete Guide to Writing a Legal CV and the Guide to Interviews for Lawyers. He has recruited for law firms across the UK and overseas in all shapes and sizes. If you have any questions that we have not covered above, please email us at

Jonathan Fagan

Jonathan Fagan LLM FIRP is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. He has been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 20 years and handles roles from junior fee earners through to partners and law firm sales/purchases. A non-practising solicitor on the Roll since 2000, he is also the author of a number of legal career books, which are available at You can contact Jonathan at