You’re on the job hunt. You’ve done your research, updated your resume, and prepared to interview for multiple positions.
But what do you do if you receive an offer while you’re still interviewing for other roles?
First of all, don’t panic. You’re in a fantastic position!
Second of all, we have all the advice you need to successfully navigate the whole “job offer but waiting on another interview” dilemma. Let’s explore what you need to do if you’re juggling multiple potential jobs.
5 Tips for Interviewing While Being Extended an Offer
So, you’re in the middle of multiple interviews, or maybe even rounds of interviews. And then, one of the hiring managers extends a job offer. What do you do? Here are five tips on how to stall a job offer while waiting for another.
1. Have a Priority Position in Mind
As soon as you send out your resume and start interviewing, you should evaluate which job you want the most. Know what you’re looking for in terms of:
- Company culture
- Management structure
You may find it helpful to write out a list of your top priorities in your new job.
Take that list of priorities and use it to rank each company. You can make a pros and cons list for each, as well, but make sure you know where each ranks relative to the others.
Then, if the offer comes from your dream job, you may not want to finish the rest of your interviews. But if it’s not your dream job, then you need to proceed, but carefully.
2. Show Appreciation and Transparency
The way you choose to respond to the offer is critical. You should respond promptly and with enthusiasm. Give yourself some credit for all the work it took to get to this place and express gratitude that the hard work paid off in the form of an offer.
In the first interview, you should be very clear that you’re considering multiple positions and interviewing other companies. At the offer stage, though, you may not want to share that you’re still interviewing.
No company wants to feel like your plan B, but they should understand that they’ll have some competition if they see your talent.
3. Ask for the Offer in Writing
Asking for the offer in writing is a straightforward way to help delay your decision by a day or two.
Most companies will follow up a verbal offer with an offer letter or email. When you receive the verbal offer, make sure that you ask to receive it in writing. Producing the letter will usually take a day or so more, though some companies will have it ready immediately.
Let them know that you need some time to review the offer thoroughly, and you will get back to them promptly.
Having the offer in writing is vital so that you have time to think and make sure it’s right for you.
4. Establish the Offer’s Deadline
Most companies won’t expect you to accept an offer on the spot. In fact, we strongly advise against this.
A verbal offer can be exciting to receive, but you don’t want to respond immediately. Give yourself time to review the salary and benefits, and make a list of any follow-up questions you might have.
Many offer letters will include a deadline at which the offer expires – often within 48 hours. If you think you need more time than that to reach out to the other company, ask for more time immediately. Usually, you can stretch it to the end of the week.
You can let them know you need time to review, discuss with your family, and come to a decision. If you are transparent and request this extension from the start, many companies will accommodate you.
5. Deferring an Offer
Be sure to navigate this carefully. You only want to delay in a situation where you are legitimately considering the offer but want to see out another interview or job.
While most companies will not withdraw their offer, they don't want to be seen as a backup option and likely want to fill the position quickly.
If you ask for an extension on time to consider the offer, make sure you are still proposing a reasonable timeline – within a few days or “by the end of the week.”
Leveraging Your Offer for Another Role
In certain situations, you may be able to accelerate the interview process with the second company if you explain that you have an offer already.
What you need to do now is approach the other company – your preferred choice, we’ll call them Company B – and let them know you’ve received an offer from Company A. Explain that you have an offer, but that Company B is your top priority.
In many cases, this will accelerate the process with Company B, and they’ll work to get you an offer more quickly. If they don’t, it may be a sign that they aren’t quite the right fit for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s review a few frequently asked questions.
What are the Risks of Being Too Transparent About My Offer?
Companies don’t necessarily like feeling like your backup plan. They may retract the offer. You also don’t want to share salary information about each offer with another company until you know what they’re willing to propose.
Can I Accept an Offer and Then Back Out to Take a Different Offer?
Yes, although we don’t recommend it, you should only do this if you have to. It’s not unethical or illegal, but it’s also not very considerate.
An interview process is a great way to build a network, and you never know if you might need the good graces of that hiring manager in the future.
Can an Offer Be Withdrawn if I Take Too Long to Accept?
Yes. It’s crucial that both sides are transparent about timelines so this doesn’t happen.
If I Reject the Offer, Should I Mention Another Competing Offer?
Yes. This can be a very gracious way to let them down easily and explain why you’re rejecting the offer. Explain that you are so grateful to have this offer and you love their company, but the other offer was a better fit for this moment in your career.