Brian, you should be able to send the client a message. So after looking over the job description, send a message with all your questions, and if the client doesn't respond in a reasonable amount of time, you could decline if you think that's best.
Brian G wrote:
the client sends you a job offer without first discussing the job with you. What is the best and most tactful way to handle that?
I've received those before. Are you talking about an invitation or an actual offer? I receive a lot of invitations that I reject immediately for whatever reason (price too low, not interested, etc.). When I get an offer that doesn't have enough information, I tell the client exactly that. "Thank you for the job offer! In order to move forward with the contract, could you provide additional information about. . ., etc. If I think I will be a good fit, I'll accept the contract and we can get started." Or something along those lines. The ones who answer back professionally with more information is a win for you. The ones who either ignore you, remove the job offer, or get upset that you want more information are probably not clients you want to be working for anyway.
There is not tectful way. If you need more details, questions answered or other information, then just ask for it. It's not only reaonable to ask, it's really required. Otherwise you'll be accepting a job without knowing what's involved.
The same thing happened to me. I was offered a job, but I needed to see what I would be working with. I needed to see the amount of data, the complexity of it overall, the arrangement and layout. I just came right out with it and asked this client to send me a copy of the database so I can see what I'll be working with. I asked her twice. and she never responded in any way. At that point I just left everything open and said once I see the forms, I'll accept the job. Eventually the offer expired withoug ever hearing from her.
If a client can't show the content or answer any questions before you accept a job, then don't think they will be any different when problems arise, or questions need to be asked during the job. That's NOT a client you want to work with.
Just ask outright the questions you have. If the client doesn't answer, just leave it open and it will eventually expire. Just explain what you need, and why you need it and let them know you won't accept the offer until that information is given to you. The balls in her court then.
re: "You respond to an invitation to interview by saying you want to discuss the job, but then he client sends you a job offer without first discussing the job with you. What is the best and most tactful way to handle that?"
Sometimes... depending on the job, just take the job.
If you NEED to discuss a job before accepting it, then by all means, do so. Don't get into something that you don't understand or you have concerns about.
BUT... Many jobs require no interview process.
I have hired lots of contractors without interviewing them.
I have done this when I need somebody with expertise to help solve a technical problem, I have described the problem in detail in the job posting, and it's an hourly job.
A contractor with expertise sees the job, knows how to handle the problem, applies to the job, and I hire them immediately. No interview. I just send the hire button. I thank them for being willing to help and we get to work solving the problem.
Also, I have hired graphic designers and other types of artists, as well as writers, to do probjects in which everything they need to know is included in the job description. If people apply whose portfolios I like, I send them the hire button, thank them for applying, and ask them to get started as soon as they want.
Maybe part of the reason I can do this is due to my history as a client. Potential contractors who apply to my jobs can see what kind of client I am and how I have treated other contractors in the past. This makes them very willing to agree to work for me without ever talking to me, and without asking any questions.
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