I received a written job offer yesterday and was given a deadline to reply by today.

The company called me again today to confirm, but I missed their call. The recruiter left a voice message saying to call her back to discuss or talk about extension if I needed it, and also said that they were trying to fill this position quickly. In the afternoon I called back but there was no answer. I tried calling another recruiter from the company but also no response. So I decided to leave a voice message, and send an email with my questions, asked for a bump and an extension of the offer.

Two hours later I still haven't heard from anyone, so I called again. This time I also called the company office but nobody picked up (!). I sent another email to the recruiter, asking for an extension and reiterated that I'm still very excited to join the company.

Here is my question. How do I retract my previous email asking for a bump without looking bad / petty? It seems like nobody will reply me by the deadline so I will either have to take the offer or let it go to the next person.

Extra questions: How do I avoid this kind of situation next time?

  • 2
    You want us to read their mind and tell you, because you don't want to not ask them directly? Guess work and blind speculation are cheap. In fact, they are so cheap that you can do them yourself. You don't need us for that. Jul 16, 2015 at 2:25
  • Ask them what directly? The problem is I couldn't get in touch with them. Also my question is about how to sound professional in the email. Your mind reading opinion is optional. Jul 16, 2015 at 2:38

3 Answers 3


There is no elegant way to do what you want to do -- if you're going to do it, you're just going to have to accept that it will be awkward. "You know, after thinking about it I'm OK with the initial offer. Hope you're still interested since i'm really looking forward to working with you!"

Of course they may already have shifted their attention to another candidate. That's the gamble you accepted when you declined the first offer. That can't be completely undone; you need to think about your priorities before you counter.

Good luck. At worst, you can chalk it up as a learning experience.

  • Thanks. I didn't realize by countering I rejected the initial offer entirely. I phrased it as more of a question, 'Is there any wiggle room? I'm hoping for X+Y', instead of a demand. Jul 16, 2015 at 3:34
  • It isn't a complete rejection. You can stick it out and wait for them to say no, then say "ok, let's go with X then". But if they've got someone the like just as much who didn't ask for the bump, they may go with him or her. Since you say you're feeling uncomfortable, you can back down and say you'll take the initial offer, and nobody's going to blame you for trying ... IF the position is still open, which you can probably guess at better than I. Or you can let the counter play itself out. Only you can judge the risk/reward of those options.
    – keshlam
    Jul 16, 2015 at 4:15

There does not seem to be any reason to think that their lack of reaction is due to the fact that you asked for too much. Indeed, it seems rather unlikely that they would reject you without explanation for that. Try to call the recruiter directly every once in a while but don't retract your request until they have begun to negociate.


If you don't feel slightly uncomfortable, you probably aren't asking for enough. That's not the case for everyone, but generally a good rule-of-thumb. Salespeople make more money because they ask for more. This could be due to being experienced with negotiating prices and fees on a more regular basis.

You've made every effort to contact them. People get busy; it happens. Don't be surprised if they accept your request, but now you have to wait for another contract/agreement to be rewritten and another due date for you to sign. What you're doing is a good thing. Get use to it.

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