I got an interview yesterday, and then 2 hours later, they emailed me with the offer in my email. In the interview, they asked when I was looking at starting, I said " probably at least a few weeks after my graduation date" (May 8) because I am taking the Engineer in Training exam after and then wanted a mental break after that. No date was said and they seemed fine with it nor pushed for any specific date.

In my contract, it says May 26 as the starting date, so it seems the employer took "a few weeks after" literally, which is fine, and makes total sense. But since no date was said, is it reasonable to start later (3-5 weeks instead of 2)? I do have a one week trip in there which is one of the main factors, but if I'm potentially gonna be working here for a long time, I'd think a 3 week extension wouldn't be too big of an issue.

How can I ask for different start date after receiving (but not yet signing) offer?

  • It depends on the company.
    – mxyzplk
    Mar 11 '20 at 1:46
  • What do you mean no date was said? Contract says March 26th?
    – Kilisi
    Mar 11 '20 at 4:59
  • You forgot your own one-week trip? This does not put you in a good light.
    – Solar Mike
    Mar 11 '20 at 6:16

You asked for two weeks after graduation. They gave it to you.

Now, there are some really good reasons to wish you had asked for more; but, you will have to weigh the cost of renegotiating the start date after it was settled with the benefit of the extra weeks.

I know that you present the situation as if the start date wasn't really settled; but, from your description, the only place it wasn't settled was in your mind. Unfortunately you did tell them a date (by telling them two weeks after a specific date) and they accommodated you.

Take it as a lesson to be learned; be prepared for the obvious questions arising during a job interview. That includes, "when can you start", "how much pay do you expect", and (for future you) "why are you leaving your current job?"

  • 3
    IMHO "probably atleast a few weeks after my graduation date" isn't exactly two weeks, but there is a stretch of sorts.
    – Paul K
    Mar 11 '20 at 8:37
  • 5
    No he didn't ask for 'two weeks', OP says he asked for 'at least a few weeks' and the employer interpreted that as 'two weeks'. That is a big difference.
    – quarague
    Mar 11 '20 at 8:37
  • 6
    -1. I don't see any reason to believe that the company wouldn't be willing to push a start date back. What's the harm in asking? Seems very possible that they picked a date on the low end of what OP said in case he wanted to start earlier, knowing that if he wanted more time he could ask. Mar 11 '20 at 16:11
  • 4
    Two is not a few. Are there a few people in a marriage? Do you wear a few shoes at a time? Do you have a few eyes? Asking for three or four weeks instead of two when OP initially said "a few" is completely reasonable.
    – Kat
    Mar 12 '20 at 6:33
  • 1
    Perhaps OP actually requested "a couple of weeks", which would literally mean 2
    – Monstar
    Mar 13 '20 at 14:56

If you are sure you actually said something vague like 'at least a few weeks' you should be fine. They tried to put that into a concrete date but interpreted it differently from you. Talk to them, explain that you actually meant something like 5 weeks instead of 2 and ask whether this would be a problem for them. It shouldn't be. Just think about what you want to do in the case where they don't want to budge or say 1 week later at most or something like that and have an answer ready for these situations.


Most of the time, it is just fine. I've talked to many people who have asked for a negotiation of start date. The most pushback I've heard is the company asking the reason for the later start or a company saying they have certain times where hires come in and they give you more options (usually with larger companies). Now, some companies may give you a flat out no and you'll be the one to have to adjust, and in my opinion, that is the worst case scenario.

One thing I've learned in my job interviews is to always be honest to the questions they ask. Similar to you, they asked 'around' when I could start, and I gave them an earlier date to make me look better and thought to myself I could negotiate later if I indeed got an offer(this was my first job interview). While it all turned out great, the guilt ate me alive in asking for a later start date because I know what I said and I was so scared they would think less of me. They didn't at all and they were so willing to negotiate, but it would have been so much easier had I just said the date I know I could have started. It's all through experience, don't beat yourself up about it. A 3 week job negotiation isn't that big of a deal at all. They're waiting 2 months for you to graduate and start working, trust me, I think they can wait 3 more weeks because they WANT you!

While it's great to get wonderful advice from people here on StackExchange, take everything with a grain of salt. I asked for advice and googled the heck out of it, and that worried me even more since people started using things like 'rescind offer' or 'the company might not be happy' or 'it doesn't make you look good'. So just ask, and take it as a great learning experience! You got this! :)


It's simple - just ask them to change the date to the one you prefer. You're overthinking this. Especially if you did not set a clear date, and they just filled in something reasonable, it might not even be a thing for them.

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