Yes! Well...maybe.
September 22, 2014 7:27 AM   Subscribe

How can I gracefully ask for more time to consider a job offer?

I reviewed the answers to this question however my inquiry has a bit of a hiccup. I received an offer for a position that I'm very excited for, however they literally offered me the position less than 24 hours after my interview. I was very surprised at the timing, not expecting to hear back for several days. In my surprise, I quickly indicated would be able to give them a decision today after having the weekend to review the terms of the offer and the position.

I have an interview on Wednesday for an equally interesting position at a competing institution. My current colleagues and friends have weighed in that I should attend the upcoming interview and spend some time on the work floor in question (a common expectation in nursing) to make sure I'm making an informed decision about the current offer. Obviously I'm not sure I'd even receive a competing offer, from the second interview. Just uncertain about the etiquette here, having never been in this position prior.

How can I artfully ask for 2-3 additional days to consider the current offer without diminishing the perception that I'm very excited about the opportunity? Or can I? Would it be appropriate to indicate that I have an interview that was scheduled at the same time as the first?
posted by Asherah to Work & Money (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
If you are going to ask for more time, you have to weigh that against the risk that they may not hold the position for you while you deliberate. Especially if they went from interview to hire so quickly -- they may be desperate to hire right away.

What is more interesting about the second place than the first? If it's that you might get more money or benefits or better responsibilities, then you may just try negotiating those things into your current offer.
posted by xingcat at 7:34 AM on September 22, 2014

Response by poster: The two positions are equally matched in opportunities for advancement and preparation for graduate school/advanced practice in the future, I have friends who work on both units and have given me solid information about morale, teamwork, the culture of the workplace. Salary expectations are roughly equal, including grad tuition benefits. So, in all meaningful ways, they will offer challenges that I'm excited about. Working at the bedside, the share time on the unit can be a deciding factor when it comes to giving an candidate insight into the vibe of the unit, peers, personalities and workflow. Sometimes, it leads to a gut feeling of whether or not the unit will be a good fit for the candidate, and vice versa.
posted by Asherah at 7:41 AM on September 22, 2014

Best answer: 1. Express your enthusiasm & gratitude
2. Point out that it's a big decision.
3. Ask for more time.
4. Give a date when you'll give them an answer.
posted by entropone at 7:48 AM on September 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

I asked a very similar question last year. You may find some of the answers helpful... Especially the ones that talk about "exploding job offers." Gave me a new perspective on the situation.
posted by Kriesa at 7:54 AM on September 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure about your industry, but in mine, a simple email/phone call saying you are excited about the position, but need a few more days, and can give an answer by the end of the week would be fine. (On review, what entropone said.)
posted by festivus at 9:06 AM on September 22, 2014

I've told potential employers that I already had another job interview scheduled. However I have always given then a decision-by date and stuck to it. Unfortunately you've given them one and now want to push it out. I don't think that's necessarily not okay, but as you say there's the question of how long after Wednesday you might hear an offer from them, if any.

There's also, to my mind, the question of what it means that this place turned their offer around this quick. Is that reasonable, or an indication of a staffing inadequacy that might make the place problematic as a place to work?

If all else seems equal and you really want to go on this interview - which I agree is a useful experience - then you could cards-on-the-table with them and say you already had something scheduled that you'd like to go to. I strongly believe that good employee-employer relationships are built on mutual respect and interest in both sides being happy, and they should think that if you're someone they want then someone else might want you too. And hopefully they recognize that they're not the only game in town or the only place you could possibly be happy and it's best for them if you come in sure you made the best choice.

But you should know what your end game is and what you will and won't do. If they say no, we really have a staffing need and would want you in by XYZ so we need to make a decision now... do you take it? Do you feel put off by that? If you go on this interview and are totally blown away by them, what will you want to do? If there any possibility that would make you willing to gamble this offer?

Personally I would feel comfortable saying to someone "I already had another interview scheduled for this week and after thinking about it I feel like I won't be comfortable unless I go to is and see what all my options are. I'm prepared to make a firm decision by next Monday, would that work for you?" Now, that's my ethical comfort, not financial. Whether you can afford to let an opportunity possibly go away is dependent on your situation.

Personally I wouldn't want to work anywhere that would respond to that request with a withdraw of the offer. But I have also been in places in my life when I didn't have the luxury of deciding I didn't want to take an offer. If you don't then weigh your risks. I don't think someone offered a gig that quick has a desirability issue, but I don't know your life. You could be dealing with people who will be pissy about a week's extension. But it's not an unreasonable ask and a reasonable place won't pitch a fit about it.
posted by phearlez at 9:20 AM on September 22, 2014

Response by poster: I should have included earlier, there is a not a critical timeframe to start this position. If accepted, I would not start this position until December (this is based on company orientation timeframes, so this was agreed upon in the HR pre-interview). It is standard in this field to give four weeks notice to a current employer and the interviewer was aware of this as well.
posted by Asherah at 9:27 AM on September 22, 2014

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