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Companies will ask for a job offer decision on-the-spot, 24 hours from offer, 48 hours, one week or may even leave the timing open ended. On-the-spot decisions should worry you a bit. Job change is a big decision in your life, why are they rushing you? You should have the same concern with the open-ended decision option. It begs the question, where is the sense of urgency with getting this job filled? Is the job really not that critical?

24 hours, 48 hours or a week are more common and more acceptable options for decision-making time on a job offer. If you are balancing other offers, a partner’s job hunt, project completion at your current job, the timing of moving children or completing a lease, you may want to extend out the decision as long as possible. Here are some ideas for doing that.

1. Upon receipt of the offer express enthusiasm about some aspect of the job: you love the company, the work itself is exactly what you want to do or the team is terrific. Make the person extending the offer to you feel good about your interest in the offer. This will help make them more amenable and comfortable with any delay.

2. Ask for answers to questions on benefits like bonus, long term incentives, the role or the company goals in an effort for clarification and to buy time. If the response is they will get back to you shortly, be specific about waiting to make a decision on the offer until you have that information. But be prepared to make a decision quickly once the information is given.

3. Ask for a written offer before making a decision. If the answer is, we don’t give written offers until we have an acceptance (which happens most of the time), ask if there are any contingencies to the offer, i.e. background check, reference check or drug test. Most companies will want your decision before starting these processes, but it does buy you more time before you have to agree on a start date.

4. Schedule a specific time to talk again during the initial job offer conversation. Time the conversation to match when they will have the answers to your questions. This reinforces that you are keeping the process moving forward but delays your decision. At that second conversation, schedule another specific time to give your decision. You can start with a week out and work back based on their reaction. Certainly 24 hours from getting your questions answered should be a minimally acceptable time frame.

Job offers can make one filled with excitement and stress at the same time. For help in your job search and your decision-making, contact Executive Recruiters, Smith Hanley Associates at www.smithhanley.com


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