Michael Sterling

How Long is Too Long to Respond to a Job Offer?


When I am asked how long is too long to respond to a job offer, my answer is short – 72 hours.


Three days is a reasonable time to request from a potential employer to consider a job offer and respond with a decision. This time frame provides adequate opportunity to gather your thoughts, review the specifics of the offer, such as health care, 401k, and PTO policy and speak to a spouse or significant other.


Need more time? Then, there should be valid circumstances. If the new position will require relocating to another state, it’s acceptable to request greater time to investigate the cost and timetable for that move. Or, perhaps you’re not able to discuss things with your spouse immediately. That may also be reason to add a day or two to your decision process.


If you’re anticipating an offer from another employer, more consideration time may be necessary. However, not a lot more. The truth is, you can’t expect one employer to sit on hold while you wait for another offer.


Weighing Multiple Job Offers


Every employer realizes that a candidate asking for time to consider an offer most likely means they’re weighing other opportunities. Be honest and upfront with this information. Plus, provide a clear cut deadline for your decision. For instance, explain you appreciate their job offer and you are sincerely interested in the opportunity. However, you are also considering another position and will have a final decision by Friday.


Taking longer than 72 hours to respond to a job offer, without extenuating circumstances, is a strong indicator that you’re only lukewarm on the position or the firm. Your delayed response indicates a lack of enthusiasm and can often lead to an offer being rescinded.


Remember the employer has a need to fill. Client work and projects are dependent upon the successful hire of a new team member. Delaying your decision is unfair to the employer. If you have doubts that the firm or the job is right for you – let the employer move on and find someone who is enthused about the opportunity. You’ll be doing yourself a favor in the long run.


As recruiters for Public Accounting, my team and I are busy right now placing professionals into career opportunities in advance of the 2018 Busy Season. So, this issue is something we assist candidates with daily. Let me know if we can help you.


Interested in more Career Nutrition for accountants? Check out the Career Wellness section of the SterlingFreeman website. And connect with me on LinkedIn.



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