How to Respond to a Job Offer While Waiting for Other Opportunities
If you’ve ever gone on multiple job interviews, then chances are you’ll interview for at least one position that really excites you. It may feel like the perfect job and you’re really hoping that you get the offer. You’re even sure that you nailed the interview.
Then, one day a call comes in and you’re offered a job. Only the offer doesn’t come from your “dream” employer; it’s from another company.
Should you reject the job offer and hope the other offer comes in? Or, should you play it safe and accept the offer that’s right in front of you?
At Empire Resume we know this is a tricky situation. But if you handle the situation with tact, you can defer the original job offer until you know what’s happening with the other job—without burning bridges.
7 Tips for Stalling a Job Offer
1. Be grateful
First things first. Having a job offer in front of you with a potential second offer coming is a good problem to have. Remember how hard you worked to polish your resume, apply to jobs, and go on interviews? Your efforts have paid off. Try to remain grateful that you have these opportunities even if you never hear from your dream job.
2. Be honest
It’s perfectly OK to tell the company that’s offering you a job that you’re waiting on another offer to come in. You can say something like:
“This seems like a great opportunity and I am thrilled to receive the offer. I am waiting to hear from another firm and would like to weigh all my options before deciding. What date would you like my final answer?”
Then, contact the company you’re hoping to receive an offer from. Politely explain to the recruiter that you’ve been offered a position with another company. You can say something like:
“Since I last interviewed with your company, I received a job offer from another employer. I am inspired by your company’s mission and would love the opportunity to work there. Would you be able to share when you plan on making a decision?”
The recruiter may tell you where they are in the interview and hiring process. The recruiter may even let you know whether you’re still in the running. If you are no longer in consideration, at least you know you can pursue the other opportunity with confidence.
3. Request more time
What if the employer that offered you the job is looking for an immediate answer from you? You are well within your right to ask for more time. Even 48 hours can be enough time for you to get clear on what’s happening with the other job offer.
If the company refuses to give you additional time and pressures you for an immediate answer, then maybe re-consider if you really want to work for that company. That could be an indication of a high-pressure company culture.
4. Get it in writing
Did you get the job offer in writing? If not, you should request an offer letter. That will buy you some more time as you wait to hear from the other company.
In fact, that’s a good practice even if you aren’t waiting for multiple offers. An offer letter indicates the hiring company that they’re serious about hiring you. It puts all the details in black and white so there’s no confusion if you decide to take the job.
5. Ask to learn more
Ask the recruiter if you can tour the workspace or speak with prospective co-workers before you decide.
Find out all you can about what types of projects you’ll be working on, opportunities for advancement, and what the company’s long-term goals are. You may even research their stance on social issues that are important to you.
Who knows? You may discover something that puts this offer ahead of what you thought was your dream job. Or, it’ll just help you confirm that you really do want the other job.
6. Accept the offer
What if you’ve followed some of these tips and you bought yourself some time, but now the first company absolutely needs an answer from you? However, there’s still no word from your dream job.
When it comes right down to it, you can accept the offer that you’ve received and schedule a start date. If the other company contacts you with a job offer before your start date, then you can always go back to the original company and graciously decline the offer.
You can say something like:
“I just received an unexpected job offer from a company I interviewed with recently. It’s an exciting opportunity that I can’t pass up. I appreciate your company’s confidence in me; however, I have decided to accept the position with the other company. Thank you again for the offer and I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.”
It may be a bit of an awkward conversation, but you owe it to yourself to pursue the opportunity that you really want. Plus, it’s guaranteed that you are not the first person to decline a job offer after accepting it.
7. Flip a coin
If you don’t see yourself having the conversation suggested in the tip above, and you absolutely have to make a decision, then try flipping a coin.
Seriously, flip a coin and if it lands heads, you accept the job offer that’s in front of you. If it lands tails, you decline the offer and wait. Are you feeling happy or disappointed after it lands on heads? Does landing on tails bring feelings of excitement or anxiety?
Pay attention to what you feel when you first see the coin land. The point is not to let a coin toss run your life, but to set up a scenario where your gut reaction kicks in. That’s often the most reliable indicator of what you want.
Deferring a Job Offer Can be a Delicate Situation
Deferring a job offer while you wait to hear from your dream job can be stressful, but it’s a more common scenario than most people probably realize. Above all else, be polite, honest, and true to yourself and you’ll make the right decision while keeping relationships intact.
Maria Gold is a Content Manager/Writer for Empire Resume. She is dedicated to helping educate and motivate people with the latest career articles and job search advice. Her interests range from writing to programming and design. She is also passionate about innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology.