How to Delay Accepting a Job Offer


Have you ever noticed that at that exact time you are waiting to hear if you got your dream job, you are always offered another position?  It puts you in an awkward spot; if you accept this job, you give up on the job that you really want.  However, if you decline it, you could lose both!  So what do you do?  Stall…as long as you possibly can.  Here are some tips that will help buy you a little time:

Ask questions.  Are there any details that would help you make your decision?  You could ask the employer to provide you more information on the reporting structure, responsibilities, travel requirements, training opportunities and anything else that is important to you.  This will provide you more information to work with and give you a little extra time to decide.

Ask for it in writing.  Any legitimate employer will understand that you need to have a written offer, particularly if you will be quitting another job.  It may take the employer a few days to get an offer prepared and to get all necessary signatures.

Set a deadline.  Since the employer is probably eager for you to start work, you can’t hold them off indefinitely.  If they have provided you with all of the information that you need, you should let them know when to expect your decision.  Most employers won’t be happy if you drag it out for any longer than two or three days.

Be enthusiastic.  The way that you behave while you are considering their offer will have a huge impact on how the employer perceives the situation.  If you show gratitude for the offer and demonstrate enthusiasm for the position, they probably won’t mind you taking a few days to think it over.  However, most employers will quickly lose interest in a candidate who doesn’t seem excited about the job even if they are the perfect fit.

Keep communicating.  Whatever you do, do not disappear!  If you become impossible to reach and stop returning the employer’s calls, they will assume that you are not interested in the job and may offer it to someone else.

Even after all of this, you may still be forced to make a decision before you hear about your dream job.  At that point you may want to contact that employer and let them know that you have received another offer.  If they don’t provide you with any more clarity, then you just have to make the best decision you can with the information that’s in front of you.

(Written by Karen Bivand, Image Courtesy of fantasista at


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