How to Professionally Delay A Response to a Job Offer

How to Professionally Delay A Response to a Job Offer

In this article, we are looking at ways to give yourself the freedom to wait a bit longer before making a decision to accept or refuse a job offer.


After applying to a few positions, you may be presented with an official offer of employment and at this stage, you are unsure whether to accept or not. It’s completely understandable if you would like to ask for some extra time to think over your response. 


Delaying a job offer may seem like a particularly difficult task, as you may feel as though this could sabotage your chances of getting hired. But in truth, this is a common request that the recruiter should respect.


The main 3 things you need to consider are:


  • why do you want to delay the job offer
  • how long do you need to delay it by
  • how do you approach the question



Why do you need more time to make your decision?


Think of the reasons why you haven’t accepted the offer. If it was your dream job, you probably would have said yes straight away. So, now is the time to think about why you haven't. Is it due to the pay, or the work involved? Maybe you're still unsure about the company?


Asking further questions will help you make up your mind and simultaneously, delay your response time. After all, the questions that you ask could help you along in the long run, allowing you to get a better idea about what the job entails and whether this is what you are looking for.


  • Are you happy with the salary?

  • Are the employee perks what you were expecting?

  • Have any details from the original job description changed? 

  • Are the working hours the same as what they previously?


Think about your answers to the 10 questions you need to ask yourself when choosing a job. It's important that the job offer you accept meets most, if not all, of your answers to ensure that you make the right choice.


Rushing a decision and accepting an offer that you may later regret will only cause problems later on in your career. Not only will you be back to square one with your job search, but it will cause the company significant expense if they have to start their hiring process again. 



How should you approach the decision to delay a job offer?


As an active job seeker, it's very important to respect the employers that you engage with throughout your job searching process. If you fail to do this, it could result in a bad reputation for yourself amongst local recruiters and this, in turn, could make your job search considerably harder!


So, you might not be ready to jump at this opportunity and immediately accept it, but this doesn't mean you should come across as uninterested or ungrateful. To keep the employers ‘sweet’ and to show that you are genuinely interested in the position but just need more time, respond with one of the suggestions listed below… 



What to tell the company: 


The most tactical way that you can add time to your decision-making period, is to ask specific questions about the offer. Perhaps there is some information missing from the description, or you may have further questions and certain details to discuss about the role itself or the company. Asking these questions now can help to extend your decision-making process. 




Dear (contact name),

I am extremely grateful for the offer you presented to me earlier. I am excited about this opportunity to work for your company. 

In order to properly analyse your offer, I would appreciate it if you could provide some more information. *insert question* 

Thank you for this opportunity and for reading through my email.  

Yours Sincerely, 

(Your Name) 


You may have all the information you need but you just need more time to think it through - this is completely normal. It’s also more than likely that the recruiter will accept this request (although they don’t have to!).


It’s important to respect the recruiter's time too, so try to keep this extra thinking time as short as possible. At the end of the day, if you take too long, they can easily reverse the offer! 




Dear (contact name),

I am extremely grateful for the offer you presented to me earlier. I am excited about this opportunity to work for your company. 

In order to properly analyse your offer, I would like to politely request some more time to look over the contract in order to process the information provided. I would like to propose an extension date of Monday, the 7th of November 2023, rather than the original deadline of Friday, the 28th of October 2023. 

Thank you for this opportunity and for considering my request. 

Yours Sincerely, 

(Your Name)



What NOT to say to the employer:


In these situations, it's best to avoid being too honest! Sometimes this can completely ruin your job offer and cause the employer to change their mind about your job offer altogether. You should respect the employer and the offer they have made you. Avoid saying the following… 


1. "Can I have some more time please, I'm just not sure I like the sound of the job or the company?"


Responding in such a way will make you appear uninterested and the recruiter may feel as though they are wasting their time. Most recruiters would prefer to offer the position to someone else. 


2. "I would prefer to wait and see if I can get more money elsewhere."


When it comes to employment, your sole focus shouldn't be the money, and if you tell the recruiter that it is, it might be pretty risky! They want to know that your passions lie in the company and the role, rather than the wages. 


3. "There is another job that I would prefer but if I don't get an offer, I'll accept yours."


Although you might actually be waiting to hear back from your dream employer, it's pretty ungrateful to announce this to the recruiter. This kind of response suggests that they are your last option, and hiring someone who appears uninterested and ungrateful would be a rather risky move for the recruiter.


You shouldn’t feel that just because you get a job, you need to accept it. Just like the employer, you attended the interview/s to find out more information in order to make a decision.


You should never feel as though you have to accept a job offer - this will cause lots of trouble down the line and it’s perfectly acceptable to decline. It’s all about how you decline the offer. 



How to politely decline a job offer


Declining a job offer always seems like a difficult thing to do, but once you've done it, you will feel relieved! There is absolutely nothing wrong with declining a job offer if the job doesn't seem the right fit.


Although it may seem awkward and unpleasant, it's all about how you approach it in order to show your respect.


Follow the 3 steps below to ensure that you decline your job offer with care! 


1. Tell them as soon as you can


It’s important to tell the employer as soon as you know. It is extremely unfair to keep them waiting around for an answer if you are 100% certain that you don’t want the job.


As we have mentioned earlier, sometimes you’ll need some extra time to think over the decision but once you've made it, make sure the recruiter is the first to know. It is unfair to leave them hanging - they could lose the opportunity to hire other suitable candidates.


Remember, it’s important to be respectful to recruiters and employers throughout your recruitment process (to the very end!) to maintain a good reputation as a candidate. 


2. Tell them over the phone


It’s always better to decline a job offer the old-fashioned way. Rather than replying to an email, pick up the phone and speak to the hiring manager at the company. This shows that you have respect for them and their time.


Not only does it show gratitude towards the recruiter and the company, but it is also a lot easier to explain your reasons why. Verbal explanations are a lot less likely to be misinterpreted, whereas an email, on the other hand, could be taken the wrong way.


Obviously, if you can’t get through to them on the phone after multiple attempts, then a polite email is acceptable, but be sure to mention that you tried to call them. 


3. Show gratitude!


This is the most important thing;  you need to show the employer how grateful you are for their time and efforts. It’s always nice to provide some reasoning, even if it’s vague.


The recruiter will want to know why you didn’t accept the job, just like you may ask for feedback after a job interview. They want to know to see if there’s anything they can improve and work on for the future.


The recruiter may have spent a lot of time with you, during the whole recruitment process, so it’s crucial that you show your appreciation for their efforts, thanking them for all of their help throughout the recruitment process. You never know, you may come across them again in the future, it’s always nice to be polite! 


It´s perfectly acceptable to ask for more time to make a decision or to even decline a job offer. Although it may feel scary and awkward, it's a lot better than accepting an offer for the sake of it. You need to be 100% sure that this is the right job for you, not only for your own happiness but for the sake of the employer too.


If you choose to accept an offer before you have considered all aspects of the job, you could end up regretting your decision and this could cause many problems for both the company and yourself. Take your time to make the right choice! 

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