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I'm applying to multiple jobs and scheduling interviews with multiple companies. One hiring process is going a bit quicker than the others. I am expecting an offer on Wednesday. If I do get an offer (assume the offer is presented to me in person), is it okay for me to tell HR that I am going to require 5 days before making a decision?

I just came out of university so HR knows I'm not currently working. I feel like if I don't provide a reason as to why I need 5 days, then it will seem weird. Is it okay for me to tell them that I am expecting other offers soon so I think it is best for me to wait 5 days before signing?

Also, if 5 days is too long, what's an okay wait period before signing an offer letter?

marked as duplicate by gnat, scaaahu, Masked Man, Alec, mcknz Sep 14 '15 at 16:05

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Slow down cowboy (or cowgirl).

  1. Always get a job offer in writing. It has lots of benefits. For one you can read and review it. Even if you meet a person, try to request a letter. Say you're mother or a friend in the field or people on StackExchange recommends that.
  2. The offer letter may have a "best by date". If it does, it probably will be sufficient given the time range you specify. Companies expect and know that it will take you time to read, understand, and contemplate the documents they send you.
  3. You may care to negotiate with the speedy company. This shouldn't be a delay tactic but coincidentally it does delay the process so you can get a glimpse at other potential offers by the slower companies. (The delay is amplified if you're using e-mail and in drastically different timezones. Again, I don't recommend this but its something that may happen naturally)
  4. No one looks at you weird for saying "Thanks very much for the kind initial offer. Can I have a few days to think about this?" You're presumably young, they may actual see this as a benefit that you don't jump on the first thing you see.
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If I do get an offer (assume the offer is presented to me in person), is it okay for me to tell HR that I am going to require 5 days before making a decision?

Five days is on the long side, but it's not unreasonable. I've had folks take a week or so before deciding when I was the hiring manager. For me, that was the limit, but every situation is different.

It would be unusual to state "5 days" specifically.

You may be better off phrasing it as "Thank you! I'll need a few days to look this over and think it through before I get back to you. Is that okay?"

That removes the awkward "5 days" aspect.

If pressed for "when can we expect your answer?" you could say something like "I'll get back to you next week" and see if that is acceptable. And if not, you can promise to get back to them sooner.

(Note that it would be a red flag for me if a prospective employer wanted an immediate answer after their initial offer. That's usually a bad sign.)

I just came out of university so HR knows I'm not currently working. I feel like if I don't provide a reason as to why I need 5 days, then it will seem weird. Is it okay for me to tell them that I am expecting other offers soon so I think it is best for me to wait 5 days before signing?

It normally won't seem weird to ask for some time to think about it. After all, this is a big career-launching decision. For me, it would be weird if you didn't take a few days to think about it.

I wouldn't offer a reason, unless asked.

When I was contemplating an offer, I always took at least a few days, even if I knew in my heart I liked the offer. I always wanted to think through the details, and talk it over with others whose opinions I valued.

If you feel strongly about it, you could disclose that you are expecting other offers. But don't push the envelope too much here. Do get back to this potential employer in a reasonable time period (in my mind, at least within a week), or you risk having them move on to another candidate. At some point, an employer will assume you don't want the job and withdraw the offer.

  • "5 days is on the long side" Really? I'm not doubting you, it's just that in my (admittedly fairly limited, I'm only 26) experience, 2-3 weeks seemed rather standard. Then again, I'm sure it varies by industry; I'm in the high performance computing field which seems a fair bit more laid-back than other industries I've heard of. – R_Kapp Sep 12 '15 at 15:50
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You can ask for that five days if that job is not urgent. In my case, I even suggest a week in accepting the offer. Never tell them that you're actually waiting for the other company to contact you. Surely they will find another candidate to replace you. If you actually tell the truth in their mind they'll be thinking "There' s a lot of fishes in the sea (figure of speech) so why bother waiting if there's many who actually want the job". Why are you not interested on the job? Since you are a newly graduate student, I advice you to grab the job. It's actually a good opportunity for you and it will add credibility and experience in your curricum vitae after. Back to the topic, don't tell the truth just reason out some good excuses that they will actually believe on.

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