Career Coach, Professional Resume Writer, Freelance Writer
You did it! After several weeks of looking for a new job and undergoing grueling interviews, you finally have a job offer. Although this may be very exciting, accepting a job offer means that you’re making a long-term commitment to your future employer. So, even if you’re eager to leave your current job, this isn’t a decision you should take lightly.
That said, how do you avoid giving an answer right away without sounding evasive or coming across as unprofessional? Companies usually want to fill positions as soon as possible, and any delays in accepting the offer can jeopardize your reputation or the offer itself. So, here we discuss how to stall a job offer in a professional manner. We also offer some examples of how to respond to buy yourself more time.
Why Delaying a Job Offer is Legitimate?
You might feel pressured to accept the job offer as soon as it arrives, but rest assured that it’s quite normal for candidates to take their time before accepting or declining an offer. Even though having a job offer is a great position to be in, you don’t want to accept it for the sake of being polite. In the end, you might soon regret the decision, or even worse, decline after you’ve said yes.
That said, delaying your job offer can hurt your reputation if not handled properly. If you delay it for too long or come across as unprofessional or too demanding, they may even withdraw their offer.
When to Think You Should Delay a Job Offer?
There are several scenarios in which you may want to stall your job offer. First, if you’ve been actively looking for a job, it’s very likely that you’re in the running for several other positions. If the job offer you received isn’t your number one choice, it’s likely that you’d like to wait to hear from the other employers before making a decision.
Another thing you need to have in mind is the contract and all the responsibilities you’d be signing up for. If you’re unclear on what’s expected of you, your pay or holiday allocation, you better clarify those things upfront rather than wait until after you’ve started.
Finally, you may simply not like the job that much. Perhaps you have many transferable skills and have applied for a variety of jobs, from sales to graphic design. If the job you’ve been offered isn’t the ideal line of work you’d like to pursue, it’s better not to rush into it.
How to Stall a Job Offer in a Professional Way
Even if you aren’t ready to commit to the new job yet, here are some tips on how to stall the job offer until you can make a decision.
Show Your Excitement to the Offer
Regardless of whether this job offer is your primary or secondary choice, there’s a reason you’ve applied for it. Perhaps you liked the company culture or the opportunity to practice your French on the job. Whatever the reason, show you’re excited for the offer and express your gratitude that they’ve selected you.
Extend Offer Time Through Asking Questions
Even though HR departments try to be as thorough as possible, there may still be things that aren’t covered in the contract or aren’t very clear. Asking questions about the job, the company or the actual offer can be a great way of buying extra time without looking disinterested or indifferent. That said, don’t ask questions just for the sake of it. Questions that are obviously answered in the offer or that you should already know the answer to can actually backfire and hurt your standing.
Determine the Missing Part
There’s a reason you’re looking to delay the job offer. Perhaps the pay isn’t what you were hoping for or the employer has a strict policy against remote work. Think about what it is that’s holding you back from accepting the offer. Then see if it’s something you can negotiate. Job offers aren’t set in stone, and employers expect that there may be some back and forth before a candidate accepts the offer.
Ask for a Specific Amount of Time
If it isn’t stated in the email, then ask the employer when they expect to receive an answer. Based on this information, you can ask for more time if you need it. That said, don’t push the deadline too much. A week or two weeks’ extension is acceptable, but anything more than that can raise questions with the employer if you’re actually serious about the job.
Give an Acceptable Reason for Delaying
If you do need to wait on giving your response, give the employer a legitimate reason why. Be as honest as possible without hurting your position in the eyes of the employer. For instance, you may want to review the contract with a lawyer and would need more time to do that.
Finally, if you’re interviewing with several employers you can say that you’ve started the process with several companies and would love to see it through to the end before making your final decision. Here, it’s important to be professional and avoid making the employer feel like they are your second or third choice.
How to Approach Stalling Your Job Offer with Examples?
If you’re still not quite ready to accept the job offer and need some help with drafting your response, here are a few examples to help you stall your job offer:
Dear [contact name],
Thank you very much for this opportunity to work for your company. I’m very excited to get to meet the rest of the team and learn more about your business.
In reviewing the contract, I do have a few questions that I hope you could help me with. Could you please explain how the vacation day accruals work and how many days I can expect to receive by the end of this calendar year? Also, what is the private fund the company uses for managing the employees’ pension contributions?
Thank you again for the opportunity and I’m looking forward to hearing from you.
Dear [contact name],
This is wonderful news. Thank you so much for the opportunity to work for your business.
In order to properly assess the offer, I’d love some more time to read through the full contract. Would it be possible to extend the deadline for response from 8th August to 15th August instead?
I will try to reply as soon as possible, but that extra week would really give me sufficient time to review the full contract in detail.
Thank you once again and I look forward to hearing from you.
Frequently Asked Questions on Stalling a Job Offer
How to evaluate a job offer?
Consider your priorities. What’s the main thing you’re looking for in your next opportunity? Evaluate your job offer based on that criteria. Things to bear in mind here are:
- The reputation of your prospective employer – Glassdoor is an excellent resource to find out with former and current employees think of the business;
- Salary – is it within the range you expected or do you think you can do better;
- Flexibility – what’s the employer’s stance on remote work or flexible working hours?
- Relocation – does the job require a relocation to a new city? Are you prepared to do that?
- Benefits – what benefits do you get? Do you have private health insurance, does the employer contribute towards your pension, are you entitled to stock options or other ownership opportunities?
How do you politely ask for time to accept a job offer?
If you need more time, it’s better to ask for it immediately rather than not reply at all. A simple “I’d appreciate it if we could extend the deadline for accepting the offer by another week, as I’d like to review the contract in detail” would suffice.
Should you accept a job offer right away?
If the job offer is all you’ve ever dreamt of, then you shouldn’t have any doubts about whether you should accept it or not. However, if you have any reservations, then giving yourself some time to reflect can help you make the right decision.
How do I stall a job offer via email?
You can use your initial response to the offer email to buy yourself some time by either asking questions relating to the offer. Alternatively, you can just be straightforward and ask for more time.
Getting a job offer can be an exciting part of your career. However, not every job offer is the right fit. So, you have to really consider all aspects of the job before saying yes. Things like company culture, salary and the scope of your job responsibilities are only a few things to take into account before accepting or declining a job offer. Taking the time to do this upfront can save you a lot of headache and potential regrets in the future.