How To Respond To a Job Offer When Waiting on Other Offers

Updated June 30, 2023

Whether you're interviewing for your first job or you're an experienced professional considering new opportunities, it can be challenging to balance multiple job offers. As exciting as it is to receive a job offer, it can also be challenging when you are still waiting to hear back from other potential employers. Knowing how to respond to a job offer in a professional manner is important when you're waiting to hear about other job opportunities.

In this article, we discuss what it means to respond to a job offer while waiting on another, and we offer tips for how to approach the situation in an appropriate and professional manner.

Related: How To Decide Between Multiple Job Offers

Responding to a job offer while waiting on other offers

Responding to a job offer while waiting for other opportunities means determining how to hold off on accepting the offer, while also maintaining your candidacy. By doing this, you can potentially ensure that you receive the position you want with the employer you want, as well as the salary and benefits that match your needs rather than compromising for the sake of the first job offer.

Related: Declining an Accepted Job Offer: How To Do it Gracefully (With Template and Example Included)

Tips for handling a job offer while still interviewing

Review the following tips to help you stall a job offer while waiting for another:

Practice gratitude

You may feel stressed when you receive a job offer when waiting for another, but you can change your mindset to gain a better perspective on how to handle the situation. Start by being grateful for a job offer and communicate your gratitude to the employer. This lets the employer know that you value their company and what they have to offer you.

Give a prompt response

When an employer sends you a job offer, be sure to give them a reply within one business day. This shows them you have good communication skills and value their time, even if you aren't ready to give a response.

Make sure you have a written offer letter

Getting a written job offer is important regardless of the circumstances but when you weigh one job offer over another, it is extremely important that you get one in writing. This is because a written document shows proof of consideration, whereas a verbal agreement creates confusion regarding the position and whether it's actually yours. For example, you may choose to go with a verbally-offered job position only to find out that they decided not to employ you.

This comes after you declined the first few offers you received from other companies, so now you must look for other opportunities.

Communicate with the other company that they are your top choice

If you need to reach out to an employer you still haven't heard back from, the way you approach them about a competing job offer can prevent them from feeling rushed or overwhelmed. By telling them that they're your top choice, you help them feel valued and help them understand your stance on the matter.

For example, saying, "I received another job offer from your competitor so I need an answer soon," isn't as warm and respectful as "Since we've last spoken, I got an impromptu job offer from another company. However, I am inspired by your company's mission and values and would like to continue pursuing a position within your company. I would be gratefully appreciative if you could provide me with an update of my candidacy at your earliest convenience."

Related: 11 Signs You Should Take a Job Offer

How to communicate your need to delay the job offer

Here are six steps to help you communicate your need to delay an employer's job offer, while also remaining a top candidate and maintaining your professionalism:

1. Be enthusiastic

Make sure you provide an enthusiastic response to the employer and thank them for their job offer. This helps communicate your interest in the position and their company, even if you do have other offers you're waiting on. It is also important in giving you time to prepare a more detailed statement about why you can't accept the offer just yet.

2. Ask for a timeframe they need a decision by

Before you ask for a delay in accepting the job offer, get confirmation about what the employer prefers. It may be that they don't expect a confirmation until the next week or even month. If this is the case, then it's good news for you as they don't expect an answer right away. In your response, share your desire to consider the position further, and use the next week to wait for a response from the other company.

3. Ask for additional time

If the employer needs a decision right away, or the deliberation period has ended and an employer needs an answer, ask them if there is any way they can provide a few more days to deliberate. If they cannot give you more time, consider whether it's worth accepting before you hear back from another offer.

4. Express interest in learning more about their company

During the process of asking for additional time to consider a job offer, ask to learn more about their company or even meet again to tour the workspace. This helps give you time to hear back from another job offer while also determining if the company is right for you.

Related: How To Choose a Job Offer

5. Compare what each company has to offer

If you have to make a decision between accepting a job offer and waiting for another one, consider the following factors about each company to help guide your decision:

Workplace culture

Consider which company offers a workplace culture that fits your personal values and work style. For example, if you enjoy a casual work environment with a business casual dress code, you may be able to determine which company fulfills that area.

Work/life balance

If you value your personal time and want a strict balance between work and personal hours, a company that stresses the importance of work/life balance may be a more beneficial option for you.

Salary expectations

The salary expectations that each company offers may also be vital to your decision. For example, if you have a home mortgage and family, you may decide to go with the position that offers the most money to support your livelihood.

Employee benefits

Review each company's benefits and weigh them against your needs. Examples may include PTO, vacation days, 401K plans, gas cards, healthcare and other perks.

6. Contact the other company and let them know you received an offer

By doing this, you may be able to provoke a response from the other company about the status of your candidacy and get an answer. This is beneficial to the company offering you a job as they can now receive an answer themselves as to whether or not they need to consider other candidates.

Frequently asked questions

Should I tell an employer that I am still waiting for another offer?

When you receive a job offer but you aren't ready to accept it due to your other applications, you may wonder if you need to state your reasoning for not accepting it right away. Typically, you shouldn't tell an employer that you're waiting on another offer because it demonstrates that they aren't your top choice. Because they want employees who value their company, an employer may decide to move forward with other candidates. Therefore, try to base your decisions on other factors like learning more about benefits or potential lifestyle changes like a long commute or relocation.

How long should I wait for another offer before accepting the current offer?

The amount of time you wait for another job offer before accepting a current offer may be determined by the current offer's requested start date or the employer's preferences. Typically, a candidate has a week to accept or decline an offer, so you can use this as a timeline to hear back from another employer. There comes a point where you need to decide whether you want to pursue your current offer or decline the offer with the hope that your top choice will eventually respond to you.

What should I do if I have already accepted an offer when I receive an even better one?

There is nothing wrong with retracting your job acceptance after receiving a better offer. There is however a right and wrong way to approach the situation. Holding off on telling an employer because you don't want to disappoint them takes away valuable time they could have to select and begin onboarding other candidates. Therefore, tell the employer as soon as you can. You can draft an email but at this stage, a phone call may be more sincere. No matter what, make the decision that makes sense for your career growth, lifestyle and overall happiness.

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