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Can You Ask for Time to Consider a Job Offer?

And can you be honest about why?

Megan Hageman
Contributor

Woman in a job interview

After time spent searching, filling out applications, and interview preparation, you get that email or call you’ve been waiting for. They want you for the job. 

Cue the confetti! Or not…

It’s okay to not accept the job as soon as it comes to you. If you need time to consider their offer, resist the temptation to blurt out a halfhearted ‘yes.’ You may need time to consider your options and determine the best path for your future.

Are you allowed to ask for time to consider a job offer? 

Absolutely. Employers understand job seekers may need to carefully consider the job before giving a final answer. If the organization is unwilling to budge, it could be an indication this isn’t the place for you.

Common reasons to ask for time 

  • Salary or benefits concerns: You may need some time to form your counter offer or prepare for negotiation.

  • Other pending company offers: You want to see what another company may offer you.

  • Disparities in the position’s details: The job description in the offer letter differs from the original listing. 

  • Family considerations: You want to talk to your partner about the job or consider how it will affect your household responsibilities.

  • Weighing the pros and cons against current employment: You want time to be sure the new job is really going to be better than where you already are.

Read more: How to Negotiate Your Salary (For Career Newbies & Industry Vets)

Should you tell them why you need time to think about it?

You’re not obligated to give any reason, but if there’s something you’re concerned about, it’s better to ask about it now.

Especially if the details of the offer you received were not what you expected to receive, you should bring it up. This can open the door to negotiation or inform your counter offer.

Read more: How to Accept a Job Offer (When to Negotiate & What to Say)

How much time can you ask for? 

First, read the offer letter or email carefully. It may outline by when the company expects to hear from you. 

Otherwise, two to three days is usually enough time to consider the offer, but as a general rule of thumb, ask for no more than a week. If you plan on doing a good bit of negotiation, then be conservative in how much time you ask for. 

No matter if you’re rejecting, accepting, or asking for more time, always respond within 24 hours of the offer and express gratitude. 

How to ask for more time: examples

Example #1 - No reason given

Hi Fiona, 

Thank you so much for the offer! I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with ACME Corp and grow the business. 

I’d like a couple of days to consider the offer and its details. I can have an answer to you by Thursday morning. 

Many thanks!

Justine

Example #2 - Offer is different than you expected

Hi Niles,

Thank you for the offer! This is such a great opportunity. I’m so excited about what I can bring to this position and how I can grow my career with ABC Company.

My understanding was that the position would not require travel, but I see in the offer letter that it says I may be traveling as much as 10 percent of the time. Could you let me know why this has changed? 

I am available for a call this afternoon to discuss. 

Best, 

Sabine

You Might Also Like: What to Do When You Haven’t Heard Back: 6 Do’s and Don’ts of Interview Follow Ups

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