The whole point of the job search process is to receive a job offer — so when you finally get one, it’s a natural impulse to accept. But should you say yes right away and sign on the dotted line, before the employer can change their minds?
Not necessarily. It can actually benefit you and your career to stall on a job offer. By not accepting right away, you’ll have more time to consider what’s being offered, negotiate certain parts of the job, and make sure you’re fully aware of the pros and cons of the position before you start.
However, it’s not as easy as telling the employer “thanks, but I’m not sure yet.” These tips will help you stall a job offer tactfully, so you’ll have sufficient time to make the right decision for your career without losing out on the offer.
Say thank you
It’s always polite and appropriate to express your appreciation, particularly when you’re considering stalling a job offer. Be sure to thank the hiring manager or recruiter for the opportunity as well as their time, and state that you’re aware they are also giving serious consideration to other candidates. Tell them how much you’re looking forward to working with their organization, which reinforces that you’re the right person for the job.
Ask for more information
Once you’ve received a job offer, you can delay your decision by asking the hiring manager or recruiter for a detailed description of the actual position for your review. Let them know that you’d like to go over the details and compare them to what was discussed during the interview, and make sure you fully understand the responsibilities and duties of the job.
Most hiring managers will be glad to provide you with a written job description. They’ll appreciate knowing that you want to be 100 percent sure the position is right for you, before you accept the offer.
Request a written job offer
Asking for an official written job offer is a common practice in the hiring process. In addition to creating a more formal offer, this step can also help you effectively stall the decision for a few extra days. A typical written job offer will include the job title being offered, the starting salary, and a projected date to begin employment. If the position requires relocation, this information will also be included in the written job offer letter.
Ask for reasonable time to consider
If you’d like to stall a job offer, the best approach is to be honest. Once you’ve received the offer and requested a detailed description and written job offer, ask the hiring manager for a reasonable amount of time to consider the offer, and discuss it with your spouse, partner, or family.
Keep in mind that the definition of “reasonable” varies, but in general, you should ask for no more than a few days to a week of additional time. If you have any concerns, such as salary or location, mention them in your request for more time — but don’t go into specifics. Negotiations should be handled after you’ve made a decision and accepted the job.
Respond to the offer in writing
Writing a letter of acceptance — or refusal — is a professional way to stall a job offer and give yourself more time to decide. When you respond in writing to a job offer, you can also avoid the potential of making a bad decision in haste, as writing out your thoughts forces you to consider the pros and cons carefully.
Let the hiring manager or recruiter know that you plan to submit a written response to the job offer. During this additional time, you can also let other employers who are considering you know that you’ve received a job offer, review any other offers you have, and compare salary rates — while making the right decisions for your career.