How to Delay Accepting a Job Offer

It never fails; it looks like your dream employer is about hire you, and then you get offered another position.  What do you do?  If you take the position, you will be giving up the prospect of your dream job.  If you turn it down, you could end up with nothing.  Here are some things to consider when you’re facing this difficult dilemma:

Show enthusiasm for the offer.  Since you are not immediately accepting the position, it is particularly important that you demonstrate enthusiasm for both the job and the employer .  If you’re not excited about the position, then they will find someone who is.

Ask for some time to consider the offer.  It is perfectly reasonable for you to request a little time to think about the offer and to discuss it with your family.  The employer wants to make sure that you will be happy in the position, and that you won’t quit right away.  Give them a specific date by which you will let them know.  Usually it’s acceptable to ask for two days to consider the offer; after that you may be pushing the employer’s patience.

Request more details.  Make sure that you have all of the information that you need to make a decision.  Has the employer provided all of the relevant details about the salary, benefits, reporting structure, working conditions, training opportunities, and anything else that is important to you?  Sometimes asking for these details can buy you a little extra time.

Don’t accept a position, unless you’re committed to it.  It is considered bad form to accept a job only to turn it down later.  If you can possibly avoid it, don’t give the employer a ‘yes’ unless you’re sure.

Recognize that there is a risk.  It is important that you understand that when you don’t jump at a job offer, there is always a chance that you could lose the opportunity.  The employer may meet a candidate that is even stronger than you are, or they could have second thoughts about hiring for the position at all.

Having to decide between two job offers is an enviable problem.  However, tactfully handling both employers can be tricky.  The key is to always be respectful and appreciative, and to be as honest as possible.

(Written by: Karen Bivand)

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