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How Long Can You Keep a Job Offer Hanging?

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While you shouldn’t necessarily jump at a job offer without some time to consider, wait too long and you could lose the opportunity. While you should have an idea of the type of offer you’re looking for, before going into a job interview, chances are that’s not the exact offer you will get. Even if you’re unsure, don’t leave the offer hanging. If you’re not going to outright accept or reject the offer, ask for the time to contemplate it.


If you receive your job offer by phone, email or a letter, contact the prospective employer immediately. This isn’t to say that you have to say yes or no, but you definitely need to let the employer know that you’ve received the offer. If you go more than a couple of days without acknowledging the offer, it looks unprofessional and could cost you the job.

Hold Your Answer

When you touch base with the employer, don’t give an answer immediately. Thank him for the opportunity and get some more information, especially if there are aspects of the offer you find unclear. You don’t want to be overenthusiastic or jump at the first salary figure he gives you. This will put you in a position where you won’t be able to negotiate if, upon reflection, the offer isn’t everything you thought it would be. Also, while the money may be more than you’re making now, there are other considerations. These include commuting, health benefits, vacation, life insurance and retirement plans. All of these factors should contribute to your decision, making it one to carefully contemplate before giving an answer.

Ask for Time

Ask the hiring manager for a day or two to consider the offer. Hiring managers are used to allowing candidates time and should be more than willing to accommodate you. If he presses or tries to entice you to respond, simply tell him that you appreciate the offer, but you want to make an informed decision and need a brief period to consider all avenues. He should be willing to let you take a couple days. Fail to respond within the allotted time frame and the hiring manager will assume that you’re rejecting the offer or trying to leverage it to your current or another prospective employer. Either way he is likely to withdraw the offer at this point.


Once you’ve asked for time to consider the offer, respond within that time frame. When you’ve weighed the pros and cons, call the company and either accept the job, turn it down or negotiate the terms. Just like not responding to the initial contact, it looks unprofessional if you don’t reply after the hiring manager has allowed you time to consider.


Carl Carabelli has been writing in various capacities for more than 15 years. He has utilized his creative writing skills to enhance his other ventures such as financial analysis, copywriting and contributing various articles and opinion pieces. Carabelli earned a bachelor's degree in communications from Seton Hall and has worked in banking, notably commercial lending, since 2001.

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