Many companies want an answer to a job offer within two or three days. Some want it even faster -- within 24 hours, according to information from Lindsay Olsen, public relations recruiter, in an article on the U.S. News and World Report website. Giving an answer to a job offer on the spot hinders your opportunity to negotiate, and it also nixes your chances of considering other job offers from employers who have yet to contact you. You can, however, delay a job offer long enough to consider your options and make sure you make the best possible decision for yourself.
Thank the prospective employer for the job offer. Express enthusiasm and excitement in your voice to let the person know you are pleased and interested in the offer.
Ask the employer if you can have some time to think about the offer and state a reason why you need additional time, such as you need to discuss it with your spouse or fully consider all other job offers that you have on the table. State a specific date that you will give your decision. If you don't give a specific date, be prepared for the employer to ask you how much time you need for consideration. Or he may request that you give him your decision by a specific date -- such as within two or three days or by the end of the week.
Request an additional meeting from the person who interviewed you to further delay accepting the offer. Reasons for requesting the meeting can include giving you the opportunity to learn more about the position, getting a better feel for the company culture or meeting key people in the organization or those who you would work with closely.
If you're interviewing with different employers and expecting job offers from more than one source, politely inform prospective employers during your interview with them, if they inquire about your job search: "I am interviewing with a couple of other employers in the industry and I'm expecting to receive a job offer from at least one of them." This paves the way for you to ask for extra time to consider their job offer, should they make one in the future.
Employers will vary in their ability to wait for answer to their job offer. If they need to fill a position quickly, a long delay on your part isn't possible. In addition, they may take your attempt to stall as disinterest and decide to move on to another candidate.