How To Ask For Time To Consider A Job Offer (With Examples)

By Chris Kolmar - May. 4, 2021

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So, your interview went exceptionally well, and you have an eager employer awaiting your “ASAP” start date. All’s well that ends well, right?

Well, truthfully, there can be many reasons why you might not want to take a new job right away. Whether it’s because you’re considering other opportunities, dealing with a personal issue, or simply aren’t sure if you want the job, you should never feel obligated to start a position just because a hiring manager is interested in you.

That being said, if you’re thinking of asking for more time to consider the job offer, there are a few things you should consider. From what you should and shouldn’t say to how to maintain your professionalism, it’s important that you act quickly and thoughtfully.

Fortunately, this article will discuss the proper method of requesting an extension to your job offer, as well as outline a few valuable tips and tricks.

Reasons for Requesting an Extension

While theoretically, you could request an extension for any reason you can think of, in order to be considered for the position going forward, it’s extremely important to outline your interest, gratitude, and professionalism. With that in mind, here are some considerate and relevant reasons to ask for more time:

  1. You’re unsure if the position is right for you. If you just received a job offer and your first instinct is to question whether or not the position is right for you, you should listen to your gut.

    While you may not feel like this is a valid reason to turn down a job offer, remember that quitting later on or deciding to decline the offer after you’ve accepted will look much worse. Be upfront and honest about how you feel so you can give yourself more time to decide if the position will be a good fit.

  2. You’ve received multiple job offers. Though you might not always expect it, there can be times where you receive a job offer from more than one employer. In this situation, making the decision on which job you’re going to take isn’t always an easy one, and you’ll make the best choice when you have the time to consider every factor.

    On top of that, when employers are highly interested in you, they might even offer you a more competitive position when they know you’re considering other options.

  3. You’re dealing with a personal issue or emergency. Often, we can be hit with issues or emergencies we weren’t prepared for. For instance, if your mother is in the hospital, your wife has gone into labor, or someone has passed away, you could be far too busy and distracted to consider an immediate job offer.

    Take a step back and request for an extension; the potential employer will understand.

  4. The job will require you to relocate. If you’re currently living in Texas and your new job would require you to move to California, it’s okay to take your time and consider whether or not you want to go through such a huge life change.

    Especially when you have children or other family members who need to move with you, you’ll want to discuss the move with those individuals before you make your decision.

While these are all valid reasons to delay your decision, remember that you should approach your request with respect, gratitude and professionalism, no matter the reason. Be thankful for the opportunity and considerate of the potential employer’s time. When you do that, you’ll be far more likely to have your request honored.

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The Amount of Time to Request

This can vary depending on the employer, so be sure to ask questions and confirm a deadline when you’re unsure of what would be appropriate. After all, when you confirm a deadline, you’ll be fully aware of the amount of time you have to consider your options.

Typically, most hiring managers will give you a few extra days to a week to decide.

What to Say in Your Request

To receive a positive response from your potential employer, it’s important that you approach your request thoughtfully and carefully. Typically, you’ll be responding to the job offer in an email or phone call, so here are a few things you should include in your message:

  1. Thank the employer. Even if you’re unsure of your interest in the position, receiving a job offer is a positive and worthwhile response from a hiring manager. Therefore, you should start your response by thanking them for their consideration and the opportunity they’ve provided you.

    This courtesy is especially important if you still want the job opportunity to be available to you going forward.

  2. Inquire about a deadline. Asking about a deadline will not only give you a clear picture of how much time you have to decide but also give the employer the opportunity to choose a timeframe that works for them.

  3. Give an honest reason. If you need time to decide because you need to discuss the position with your family, prepare a move, or mull over other job offers, don’t be afraid to mention any of these reasons.

    If anything, stating these reasons will not only give you a higher chance of receiving the extension but also open the door for negotiation with the employer.

  4. Respectfully ask for what you need. If the timeframe you’re given doesn’t seem like enough, or you have more questions about the position, simply ask about these things in a respectful manner. After all, it’s better to ask for the time you need to decide than to agree to a deadline you won’t be able to meet.

With these tips in mind, here are a few examples of professional messages to send to your potential employer:

  • “Thank you so much for the opportunity to work with you. While I look forward to putting my skills to good use at your company, I see that I would need to move states in order to pursue this career. In light of that, I’d humbly request that I be given a few days to respond to this job offer, as I’d like to discuss the potential move with my family.”

  • “Thank you for this opportunity! I look forward to working with your company. Can you tell me about the deadline for this offer? I have a few questions pertaining to my benefits once I initiate a full-time schedule that I’d like to discuss at your earliest convenience. I want to understand the position fully before making this decision. Thanks again!”

  • “Thank you for considering me for this position. I look forward to offering my skills and expertise to your company. Currently, I’m reviewing two other job offers at the moment, so would it be possible to have a few extra days to respond to this offer? Thanks again for this opportunity!”

What Not To Say

Though some instances of what you shouldn’t say might be obvious, like throwing slang at your potential employer or giving an overly casual response, there are other more subtly negative aspects of your message you should avoid. These include:

  • Stating that you don’t know if you want the job

  • Not outlining a clear timeframe as to when you’ll get back to them

  • Mentioning disappointment in certain aspects of the job, such as salary or hours

Any of these statements might cause you to come across as nonchalant and ungrateful, which will risk the employer declining your extension request and throwing away the opportunity altogether. Always do your best to keep the conversation positive and negotiable so your window of opportunity stays open.

Why You Shouldn’t Delay

Speaking of a window of opportunity, be sure to respond to your job offer as quickly as possible, whether or not you’re unsure of your interest. After all, job offers aren’t usually open-ended, and you don’t want to risk losing it because you procrastinated or didn’t communicate effectively with the hiring manager.

When in doubt, respond to the hiring manager as soon as you receive the offer, even if you’re simply asking questions or requesting more time to respond.

Additional Tips to Keep in Mind When Considering a Job Offer

Though requesting an extension can feel nerve-wracking, here are some additional tips to aid you as you write your message:

  • Trust your gut. If you have a bad feeling when you first receive a job offer, you should trust that feeling. After all, respectful declining a position, or at least taking the time to analyze it before deciding what to do, is a lot better than accepting the job and then declining in a few days or quitting shortly after you start.

    When considering the offer, always trust what you feel is right for you.

  • Don’t be afraid to negotiate. While you should avoid coming across as disappointed or dissatisfied with the offer, you should also feel comfortable discussing your needs. If you feel as though there’s a portion of the job offer that doesn’t accommodate your needs, don’t be afraid to ask questions and negotiate with the employer.

    For example, if you were told you weren’t going to work morning shifts but were offered a position with two morning shifts per week, you could inquire about why there was a change.

  • Be confident. You’d be surprised how far confidence can get you. When communicating with the hiring manager, find the confidence to make it clear that you know you’d be a valuable asset to their company. Doing so will give you an edge when discussing your needs.

  • Take the time to consider every factor. Even if you might be nervous about asking for more time, you should ask for what you feel you need. Allow yourself to research the potential employer, mull over your options, and emotionally address how you feel about the job offer. The worst thing you can do is try to rush a decision.

Never miss an opportunity that’s right for you.
Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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