Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

Job Offer Series: An Offer While Waiting for an Interview?

You got a job offer. Great! Except, you actually want to work for this other company you are still waiting to hear back from. Maybe you haven’t even had the job interview yet. Do you accept the job offer from this company? Or do you wait around for the other company to get it together and hire you already? Here are some tips for deciding what to do in this situation, and staying professional throughout the process.

The first real question is: How long can you stall Company A? The answer is: probably no longer than a week.

While you shouldn’t feel pressured to accept a job offer on the spot, it is also not professional (or wise) to keep the company waiting for very long. If you receive a job offer, but you are waiting to hear back from another company about a job interview, US News suggests that you politely ask the hiring manager if you can have a few extra days to think it over. It is important to reiterate your interest in the company at this point as well. Let your potential employer know that you are very excited about the opportunity, but that as a job seeker you would like a few extra days to make the right, professional decision. Most professionals will gladly give you an extra few days, and even up to a week if they can. However, they may be on a tight schedule. After all, if you turn them down, that causes a delay in their offer to another qualified candidate.

After you ask for a few days to consider the job offer, you need to contact the company that you really want to work for. Explain that you have received a job offer from another company, and ask if there is any way they can expedite the hiring process. This will depend a bit on what stage you are in, of course. If you haven’t even heard back for an initial job interview, there probably isn’t a good way to squeeze the process into a week. (Stranger things have happened, though.) If you are simply waiting to hear back after a final job interview, your odds are better at getting an answer before you have to reply to Company A.

If you are unable to get an offer from Company B before you have to reply to Company A, then you have a tricky situation. Keep in mind that quitting Company A in order to take the job from Company B in six weeks is a terrible professional move. So, be sure that Company A is a place where you can stick it out for at least a year or two. On the other hand, take into consideration what you learned when you contacted Company B. If they weren’t willing to speed up the hiring process to get you on board, that may be a sign that they aren’t all that interested in you as a candidate.

Ultimately, only you can decide whether accepting the job offer is a good professional move. Good luck!

Have you ever had to stall a company so that you could hear back from another job interview? Leave a comment below, or send me a tweet: @ithinkther4iamb

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by o5com

Kristin Anderson

Kristin has a B.A. in English from the University of Iowa, with an emphasis in creative writing. In her free time she enjoys long walks, kitchen adventures, and making puns.