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Suppose if I have a job offer from company A and they mentioned that they are expecting me to make decision in a week. But I have few interview rounds left with other companies and it may take 2-3 weeks to complete that. I want to have options to choose from given that there might be a good opportunity if I clear other interviews.

To give you some context I was out of job for 4 months so I don't want to risk losing the offer which I already have but still I want to wait and see if I get better opportunity in 2-3 weeks.

How do I politely ask for more time without risking to lose the current job offer?

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    There may be already a similar question here: workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/22099/… Mar 5 at 7:42
  • Can you afford being unemployed?
    – qwr
    Mar 5 at 20:24
  • It is worth pointing out that the answers to this question seem somewhat predicated on the idea that changing from a crap job to a good job is trivial if the good job should come along. If you will be signing a contract or are in a location that requires extensive notice, this may not be the case. In the end, the answer to your exact question doesn't change, but your calculus on whether to accept the crap job instead of trying for a better one now might change.
    – Elros
    Mar 7 at 3:15
  • I should have answered this before becoming the final close vote TT
    – Mars
    Mar 7 at 4:16
  • There isn't a way to ask without risking the current offer. In fact, for shady companies, every day you wait is a chance for them to say "Oops, actually we found another candidate who accepted first" as well.
    – Mars
    Mar 7 at 4:22

3 Answers 3

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Generally speaking, the market is flooded with poor quality employers offering less than the going rate, competing against and undermining the better employers with better offers.

It is also state economic policy to create a large reserve army of labour in almost all occupations, meaning that there are slightly fewer jobs to go around than candidates available, there is constant churn between employment and unemployment (or "enshittification" of good jobs into poor jobs), and a massive unemployment risk is shifted to workers for the benefit of employers collectively who are enabled more easily to attack wages.

Under these circumstances, if you're unemployed and have a crap job offer in hand, it's best to just take the crap job, and then immediately continue looking for better, and then leave the crap job if the better offer arrives.

This transfers the risk and costs back to the employers, and the sting which a fast turnover gives to the crap employer, is typically far more than any surplus value they extract out of you in the short time you are present under poorer pay and conditions than the better job you are moving to almost straight away.

As well as insuring your income in the meantime, this sting helps undermine the competitiveness of the poorer employers, and therefore supports the better employers whose jobs you want to move to.

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    I would recommend adding a word of caution to this. Depending on the industry and position, this may damage your reputation. While a company may be a bad employer, it may still have influence with other employers in the industry. In some fields reputation matters more than others. So while this approach is certainly viable, it can still have risks.
    – David S
    Mar 5 at 21:05
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    @Steve - you might be surprised. People move around different employers in a given industry, and they keep in contact. More than once, I've had friends or former colleagues at other companies mention that they've just picked up someone else who used to work with me... so if they've left on bad terms, there's a good chance that a bad rep will follow them. Mar 5 at 23:04
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    "It is also state economic policy" – which state/country you are talking about? (There was no location mentioned in the question, neither is it in your answer, and I'd think this is location specific.) Mar 6 at 1:18
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    This seems like an over-generalised and biased view of employment, but I don't think a full critique would fit in a comment. Suffice to say that some professionals are in high demand (while others are in low demand). Some can afford to be picky (while others can't). So at best I can say what you've said is true for some professions, or some people in some situations. But even those in high demand can certainly still be "lowballed" by a greedy employer.
    – NotThatGuy
    Mar 6 at 7:43
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    @NotThatGuy, I'm not quite sure what your point is. My answer is fully general in the sense it acknowledges the existence of both good and bad employers, with good and bad jobs. Obviously I'm saying bad employers flood the market, but that's because they constantly have to backfill, so these employers may have many vacancies but few jobs, making candidates likely to encounter them (whereas good employers may provide many jobs but have few vacancies and are less frequently in the market to recruit). I'm surprised this seems controversial with you.
    – Steve
    Mar 6 at 7:57
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How do I politely ask for more time without risking to lose the current job offer?

In short, you cannot. The way you are trying to evaluate other opportunities, the organization may also want to evaluate your readiness or commitment to joining. In case you need just a little more time (example: couple of days, as you are on a vacation or some emergency) to review the employment conditions and decide on the offer, that is understandable, but trying to stall them for couple of weeks may just set the deal off.

If you're currently unemployed, I'd suggest to accept the offer that you have, join them, and then, start looking for better opportunities elsewhere, otherwise you are banking on thin air which may vanish at any time, leaving you with no options at all.

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    +1. And the only thing I can add, from the other side of hiring, whenever a candidate tells me "I need a week or so to think about it" (anything more than 2-3 days) I just assume they will come back and say no, and usually move on to the next candidate. No one want's to be your "safety choice", unless you are absolutely exceptional.
    – Aida Paul
    Mar 5 at 9:34
  • @AidaPaul True. and if as a candidate you're exceptional, as a recruiter I will double down on the activity of getting you to accept the offer and join sooner rather than later. :) Mar 5 at 9:38
  • @AidaPaul Or if the other potential employer is exceptional. I once told a company that I wanted to see whether Google was going to give me an offer before I decided whether to accept, and they were very understanding about that.
    – Douglas
    Mar 5 at 19:53
  • @Douglas And you told them to wait few weeks right?
    – Aida Paul
    Mar 5 at 20:09
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    @AidaPaul I told Google I had an offer from another company already, and Google told me they'd fast-track consideration of my offer and make a decision within one week. I told the other company I wanted to wait a week to see Google's decision, and they accepted that delay immediately.
    – Douglas
    Mar 5 at 21:47
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In effect, what you're saying to the company is: I don't really want this job, but if I can't get something better then I'll take it as a last resort.

And there is no way to say that without risking losing the offer - because even if they can afford to wait a few weeks, why would any company want to hire someone with that attitude unless they're really struggling to hire?

But what you can do is to accept the offer, and then continue to job search. Especially in the first few months, your notice period is probably going to be relatively short. So if you end up finding a more attractive job then you can decide whether you want to jump ship (potentially even before you start the job with Company A).

This will piss off Company A and burn bridges with them, which is something that you want to think carefully before doing. But it avoids the risk of losing the offer from them in the hope that you might get a better offer from someone else (possibly ending up with neither).

Another option is to speak to Company B, and see if you can get them to accelerate their hiring process - but depending on the size of the company that may be difficult unless they really want you.

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    "But what you can do is to accept the offer, and then continue to job search" No. The appropriate version would be (and I think what you meant) "But what you can do is to accept the offer, join them and then continue to job search". Usually you should be off the job market between accepting an offer and joining. Mar 5 at 9:41
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    @SouravGhosh, if I meant that then I would have written it. If OP is still wanting to get a different job, then they should continue hunting for one - pausing their search for however long it takes between accepting the offer and actually starting the job doesn't benefit them.
    – Gh0stFish
    Mar 5 at 10:02
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    @SouravGhosh companies frequently withdraw offers or make people redundant, so it's not something that you have to imagine. But how exactly is it more ethical to accept the job, let the company go through the process and costs of onboarding and training you, and then to get a new job leave after a few weeks? You're wasting far more of the company's time and resources by doing that.
    – Gh0stFish
    Mar 5 at 12:51
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    And never assume that burning bridges has no wider consequences. People regularly move around different companies in a similar industry... I've got former colleagues at every major IT company in my city, and I keep in touch with many of them. So if someone at company B happens to ask a friend at company A about the new hire who previously worked at A, think about what they might say if you'd showed up, took your pay for a month's onboarding and training, and then bailed for a better offer. Mar 5 at 23:12
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    The last bit of this answer is the way -- contact Company B and say "I've got two job offers in hand, but I really like you, is there any way you can accelerate your decision?"
    – arp
    Mar 6 at 1:46

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