If you are lucky enough to be interviewing for many roles at once, you may find yourself in a situation where you need to stall one job offer while you’re waiting to hear back from another opportunity.

Inarguably, this is a fortunate position to be in. However, it can be awkward. Should you turn down a certain job offer for just the possibility of another? And how do you do it without appearing rude, ungrateful, or indecisive?

Fortunately, there are ways of stalling a job offer without damaging your professional reputation or jeopardising the offer itself.

Here are some ways you can stall a job offer without squandering the opportunity.

Say Thank you.

The very first thing you should do when you are offered the opportunity is acknowledge it and express your gratitude. If the employer senses your apprehension or feels like you are not appreciative of the job offer, they may be less willing to allow you the additional time you need to consider the position.  You should let them know that while you are excited about the offer, you need some time to consider your decision.

Ask about a response deadline.

If you are using a recruitment partner, you may like to ask them to send out feelers about how long you have to make your decision. Your recruitment consultant is skilled at asking these sorts of questions. In most cases, they will already have this information.

If you are managing your own application, it is appropriate to ask how long you have to make up your mind. Knowing this will help you manage your responses, and you can determine if the time will be sufficient or not.

Consider what’s missing.

If you are hesitating, it’s likely that there’s something missing from the role or the package. Try to determine exactly what it is that you want or need, then consider whether those elements are negotiable.  For example, is your preferred company offering better flexibility options? Perhaps this is something that could be worked into your new contract.

Ask questions.

Sometimes it is possible to stall a job offer by asking questions of the hiring manager. They may take some time to get back to you, perhaps giving you the time you need.  The answers to these questions can also help to solidify any queries you may have, which could also help you in coming to a decision.

Negotiate the benefits package.

In many cases, the benefits package is open to negotiation. If you aren’t sure whether you should accept an offer, or if you are weighing up one role against another, perhaps you could try to tailor your offered benefits package to better suit your needs.  If this is the case, you could be in a position to say ‘yes’ rather than wait for any other offers to come through.

Young female bites down on her pencil in frustration

Give a legitimate reason for your delay.

It is reasonable to be direct and to let them know that you’re waiting to hear back from other companies. However, it is important to make sure that you are not implying that company number 1 is a back-up, or second choice. Explain that you’re in the middle of going through the hiring process with different companies and that you would like to see it through.  Your honesty will be appreciated, and they will understand that you are looking to make the best possible decision for everyone – them included.

Ask for the offer in writing.

If the offer wasn’t made in writing, you may like to ask that you receive it formally before you come to a decision.  It may take some time to get all the details finalised and signed off by everyone giving you more time if you are waiting to hear about other opportunities.

Be proactive.

If you are waiting to hear back from other companies, you may like to try and speed up their decision-making. If you are working with a recruitment partner, it is likely that they will be able to do this for you. You may like to tell the other company that you have had another offer, but that you would like to know the conclusion with them before you formally respond. This may help to speed up the decision process.

All these are tips that you can use to stall a job offer. However, it is important to remember the importance of professional courtesy.

With this in mind….

Be respectful.

If you cannot see yourself in this role and this organisation, then say so. Be respectful and let the hiring manager or recruitment partner know of your decision so that they can consider other candidates.

Don’t wait too long.

The offer won’t stay open indefinitely. Don’t try to stall the job offer too long. Not only will you begin to appear disrespectful, but you may also start to seem flaky, and that you can’t make a decision. And no one wants to employ someone like that!

Are you looking for more advice as you navigate the hiring process?

The Employee Advice section of our blog is crammed full of hints and tips for job seekers. Whether you are thinking about a career change or are wondering what skills you need to thrive in the tech industry in 2021 and beyond, there’s something just for you! Head over there now!

About the author: I work hard to find the best opportunities for my candidates and the best talent for my clients. My honest and pragmatic approach helps me to build lasting relationships and deliver real value.  I have extensive experience helping organisations overcome their critical challenges in the digital environment, and have worked with everything from start-ups to major global brands.

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