How to Ask for More Time to Consider a Job Offer

Sometimes, you don’t feel like celebrating even after landing a job offer.

If you’re not sure whether you want the job and your gut is telling you to hold off on accepting, what should you do?

Consider these tips and learn how to buy more time so you can make the best decision.

Steven Lynch

Steven Lynch

General Manager of Legal Division, Lucas Group

As a good rule of thumb, I think candidates need to have a good reason for why they need additional time. It shouldn’t be dishonest, but over my 15+ years in the recruiting industry, I’ve heard it all.

Some of the excuses are reasonable and/or valid, and the company will grant the extension without much pushback. However, if the reason sounds like the candidate is being wishy-washy or worse – leveraging another offer or negotiating a counteroffer with their existing employer – I’ve seen companies rescind offers.

Either way, goodwill, and momentum are lost with the potential employer if a candidate provides a poor excuse for needing more time.

Here are some examples of acceptable reasons to extend time:

Review the compensation package

If it is a complicated compensation package that includes walking away from stock, equity or other unique benefits (usually at the executive level), I’ve had candidates ask for time to meet with their CPA to be sure they understand the financial differences and potential tax consequences.

Personal issues

Personal issues can play a significant role in delaying a decision, such as the birth of a child or family illness that requires an extension of time to focus on family.

Sometimes, a spouse travels and a face-to-face discussion is necessary before undertaking a very important, life-changing decision and, because of scheduling issues, the candidate requires an extension of time.

Advise that you have work-related interruptions at an existing employer

Occasionally, a candidate will need more time because of work-related interruptions at their existing employer. For example, in the legal context, an attorney may have an M&A or Commercial Real Estate closing that necessitates late nights and intense focus to get to closing.

If this is the stated reason, it shows dedication to their clients, loyalty to their colleagues, and general conscientiousness by doing right by their current employer.

Generally speaking and absent the above circumstances, if a candidate needs additional time to “think about it,” it means it’s not the right opportunity and they’re likely to reject the offer.

As a recruiter, we can recognize those signs and, absent an honest/understandable reason, recommend they don’t waste any more of the company’s time and decline the offer.

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