How Long Can I Consider a Job Offer?

Jeff Altman

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A few weeks ago, a young man I was representing almost lost a job. He had interviewed with the firm on Thursday afternoon and received a job offer that day. He wanted to consider the offer until the close of business the following Friday . . . and almost lost the opportunity he ultimately accepted by insisting that he had “a right” to “consider it” until then.

From my client’s perspective, they understood that he was comparison shopping, had actually hired three people from the firm he was waiting for an offer from, were interviewing more people from there and didn’t want to risk losing everyone.

This situation offers an opportunity to examine how long you have to consider a job offer once you receive one.

The correct answer is that you have as long as they will give you.

Most firms would like an immediate or almost immediate response. I don’t mean an answer in 10 minutes. I mean an answer where you sleep on it. After all, in most cases, you’ve interviewed there several times, why haven’t you been thinking about it before now and able to make a decision?

And delaying for too long gives a message to the hiring firm of how you make decisions . . . or that you are shopping for another option . . . or just aren’t that interested.

The fact is everything you do on an interview is a reflection of you and how you will work with your new employer. A day to think is OK (truthfully, now, you’re not going to take a day off from work, sit in a chair in isolation and contemplate the job offer, are you), two days is often OK and more gives the employer reason to feel hesitant about you and your thought process.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter, is Managing Director with Concepts in Staffing, a New York search firm, He has successfully assisted many corporations identify management leaders and staff in technology, accounting, finance, sales, marketing and other disciplines since 1971. He is a certified leader of the ManKind Project, a not for profit organization that assists men with life issues, and a practicing psychotherapist.

To receive a daily digest of positions emailed to you or Jeff's free job search ezine, Head Hunt Your Next Job, go to For information about Jeff's personal search agent service, go to

If you would like Jeff and his firm to assist you with hiring staff, or if you would like help with a strategic job change, send an email to him at (If you’re looking for a new position, include your resume).


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