Got a Job Offer but Waiting to Hear Back from Others - How Long Can I Wait?

Updated on March 15, 2013
S.K. asks from Seattle, WA
16 answers

The good news is I got a job offer and I am grateful for that. But I have two other interviews set up with other companies and I would like to still explore those opportunities to see if it may be a better fit. I got the one offer today over the phone and wasn't sure if he expected me to answer right then and there so I asked it it would be okay if I spoke with my husband (to buy some time). He said he'd draw up the formal letter so I'm hoping that takes a couple days but in the meantime I have an interview set up for tomorrow and another one on Tuesday. I'm sure I could buy time until tomorrow but I would still like to go on the interview on Tuesday as that position sounded a bit more interesting to me. Also the offer I got is for slightly less money than I was hoping. Don't get me wrong - I am grateful for the offer and I would definitely take it if it was all I had. So my question is: if he comes back with the offer letter, how much time is okay for me to say that I'll get back to him by. I think it's probably taboo to tell him I have other interviews lined up. Worst case, I guess I could accept the offer but tell him I need a week before I can start and then go on the interviews and see how they go and then if I do get a better offer, give him my apologies that I can't take the offer afterall, though I would rather not do that. Anyway, just wondering what you would do in this position? What is a reasonable timeframe for me to take before I get back to him? thanks so much!

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Editing this to add that the field I work in is software development and the companies are all different places. Thank you all for your input and advice. I appreciate all your perspectives - I truly do. I do agree that I should not have said "is it ok if I talk to my husband"....I guess I was looking for a way to buy time and that's what popped into my head. Anyway, I am still waiting on the official offer. I had one other interview and did not like that position so now I have one more interview lined up for Tuesday.. Today is Sunday so even if I do get the offer tomorrow (and I might not even), I think it's fair to ask for basically one day to review the details of the paperwork (until Tuesday after my other interview). Thanks so much again - I will heed your advice and have confidence in myself and try to appear sure of myself!! thanks ladies - you are all the best!!

Featured Answers



answers from Peoria on

You can buy time by telling them you need two weeks before you can start, instead of one. This is typical.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Usually, like someone else said they have a respond by date. If they don't I recommend asking for 24-48 hrs...tops! Remember this is still an employers market...

More Answers



answers from Seattle on

My ex is in software.

- They expect you to be applying for multiple positions
- They usually expect a couple weeks between formal offer & acceptance
- They expect you to negotiate the informal offer OR the formal offer (not both) especially as you get other offers (most companies will match your best offer)... That's probably what the "expectant pause" was on the phone. Waiting to see what your counter offer was.

- To late now, but never ask IF you can take time to deliberate. Inform them that you will be looking forward to receiving the offer letter & compensation package to review.


Generally, people never receive raises/etc. while in their current positions (a few small ones, maybe). How people receive raises is by switching jobs. 1 year at a Co. shows "extreme" loyalty. Even so, one collects offers, the goes to their FAV company, with the best offer letter & sees if that company will match it (nearly always will).

But they expect weeks between offer & acceptance (unless they're breathing down your neck as an emergency hire (rare, they usually just grab a consultant for fire-drill positions) and then 1-3 months of ramping up.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Green Bay on

My SIL just went through something similar. She got offered a position but was hoping for something else because the offer she received was less than she needed.

She talked to her current HR department and other HR contacts she has and THEY said it was acceptable to accept the position and if she was offered something else, that it was okay to "back out". Granted you probably don't want to make a habit of doing that, but if the 3rd (most desirable) job came through with a better offer, don't be afraid to take it! HR said it was better to take the job and then "back out" than it is to tell them you are "waiting on other offers". That way, if other offers don't come, you aren't stuck without a job if the 1st offer gets offered up to someone else because they are tired of waiting.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

"so I asked it it would be okay if I spoke with my husband (to buy some time)"

That was a mistake. You made yourself look like an incompetent woman that needs her husband's permission to work. Do not be shocked if the terms in the the formal are lesser than what he said on the phone.

The proper thing to do is be upfront about your other pending offers. That would make you an even more desirable person to have as an employee, and could have improved your offer in the end.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Well, my thought is you have as much time as you need and they will give you. If you want 2 weeks, ask for two weeks. If they want an answer in one week, try to give them that.
Heck, a written letter is NOT a contract so give them a verbal OK and then interview at the other positions, if they work out better for you, call the previous offer and politely decline with "after more time to evaluate what my family needs are, I can no longer accept this position." If it is due to $$, let them know that, they may offer you more to keep you, if it is company culture or hours, tell them that.
I have hired people in the past to have them back out after they had verbally accepted and I had sent them a letter. No biggie. it happens.
good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

The official offer letter should have a respond by date. I wouldn't say anything accepting or declining until I had a formal offer in hand. I had a verbal offer once and waited and waited and waited for the formal offer, which didn't come. Turned out the Government customer didn't have the authority to ask the contractor for support and couldn't get it cleared through his management, so they couldn't offer me the position. Good thing I kept looking for another position ...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Ask them for some time to think about it. Asking for 5 days is totally appropriate. Taking the job and then backing out is NOT APPROPRIATE AT ALL. All you will do a is burn a bridge. It's a small world out there.

If you are not satisfied with the money, come back to him and ask for more. You should be negotiating. The worst that can happen is they say sorry, that is our top offer. Chances are, they will come back with a few thousand more.



answers from Los Angeles on

I am a former recruiter. If I made you an offer on a Thursday, I would want an answer no later than Monday morning. If you weren't able to tell me by then, I wouldn't think you were serious enough to want the job. I totally understand having other interviews and other prospects, but those processes could take awhile and the company that made you the offer shouldn't, and probably couldn't, wait until you found out about the others. If you make them wait too long and then turn them down, you are costing them the opportunity to get their second choice candidate.

Congrats on the offer! That is very exciting and I hope it turns out to be a great opportunity for you.



answers from Columbia on

depends on your field. In my field, which is considerably smaller, that behavior would get me blacklisted and as word got around my rep would be shot.

If you don't like the offer, be honest with him. It's lower than you expected, you have 2 interviews and you'd like to explore other options.

Maybe he can get you more money.



answers from New York on

What you can do is advise the upcoming interviews that you have a verbal offer currently pending. You wonder, what if anything, they can do to expedite their own interview/ retention process.

Good luck,
F. B.



answers from Seattle on

CoMoMom is spot on. I'm in a technical field, though. We have no problem if a candidate says they are also interviewing with others and would like some reasonable amount of time to make a decision. Whatever you do, don't accept the offer and then rescind it and take another position.

If the job is time sensitive (i.e., they need someone to start right away), this considerably reduces your time to explore other options.

Tough choice. Good luck.


answers from Columbia on

Wait for the letter. That should give you some time. Also ask about the start date. They are making you an offer. Let them know that you appreciate their offer very much and must discuss it with your husband prior to giving any answers. That is a perfectly acceptable response.

Best of luck!



answers from Portland on

I'm not in the field any longer, but I was an IT recruitment consultant for several years in a very competitive market. It was expected that the best candidates be interviewing with more than one company, that they might reject an offer based on pay or benefits and want to negotiate, that their current company or other competing companies might counter offer to either keep them or attract them. It was my job to persuade a candidate to accept the offer of the company who was my client, whilst understanding the perspective and position of the candidate. You may think you are doing the right thing by accepting the offer and being proffessional and timely and loyal and moral and not screwing them around, but if it is not the right position for you, and you are not the employee that will stay for a decent amount of time because actually you wanted a job that was x,y,z, then you are doing both you and them a dis-service. If you are happy enough with the offer, I would verbally accept it. Nothing is concrete or confirmed until you have seen the offer, package and employment details in writing and you should never accept any job offer with out these details on paper. Meanwhile, tell the other 2 companies that you have a verbal offer that you need to make a decision on soon after the paperwork arrives, but that you are more interested in their company/position/values whatever because you like the x,y,z that their company and position is offering. Be genuine. Sounds like you are. What have you got to lose? You already have one job offer. Keep it warm while asking the other prospects how long they expect the recruitment process to take. If they want you, they will either act quickly or if they can't, it's a sign that the company has a lot of buracracy and hoops and top down management and the hiring manager has little autonomy. Just like you taking too long to make a decision is not a great sign, if they are slow to act, that's not a great sign either. This is a game, like a poker game. The idea is that you play like you are holding all the best cards. Have confidence in yourself. Sounds like you are a very desirable employee. So be that and expect much for yourself. The first offer may not be it.



answers from Honolulu on

Ditto Riley J. below.

My Husband is in the computer field.
It is very competitive.
You cannot seem wishy washy.
They assume you are also applying at different firms.
I would not wait too long, before you give them your answer. But wait for their offer letter. That is typical formality.
And, it also depends, on how desperate you are... to get a job. Meaning, if you really need a job and don't grab any offers or wait too long, then you may not have any job. You can try and negotiate the salary offer. And see what their overall package is. ie: their benefits.

But if you only want a higher pay, then you have to wait for another company to want you. Which may take time or not come. And... you may not, get higher pay with other companies either.

My Husband had several offers after he graduated. Different salary ranges. But ultimately, he chose a company that he liked, overall. And though the pay was similar & not drastically higher as his previous company, he knew that he liked, this company and the team that interviewed him. He felt it was a good, fit. And the company is stable. And that he would earn raises.

In the interview and offer dance... there is a fast turnaround. Meaning, many of these computer companies are really fast paced. And the team is aggressive can do'ers. And they expect, their candidates to be that way too. If you seem wishy washy or take too long... to make your decision, you can loose an opportunity. In my Husband's case, he negotiated and per when they wanted his response. His future Boss, also traveled a TON, and was on the go constantly. And they needed someone ASAP. They gave him, 2 days, to decide.
He took the job.
After he did so, he was still getting other offers. But the decision was made. He did not regret it.

Now, per start date of a job. YOU cannot always determine this.
The company... decides when your start date is.

And, even if you bide your time in order to go to those other interviews... the process takes time. Remember, companies are also interviewing OTHER candidates too. Not just you. And it will probably take longer... than 1 week to even hear back from those other companies you interview with.
And again, in this field, it is highly competitive. AND, many companies... do not just interview a candidate, once. At many firms... the interview process entails SEVERAL ROUNDS... of interviews. Even having to do on-site real world, problem solving of scenarios, RIGHT at the office at a computer and white board. So that, the "team" can see... how you work and your ability to think fast on your feet.
My husband went through those. It took half a day... just for one round of interviews. Then there were others, with the Owner and the team and support team too.



answers from Albuquerque on

Depends on what type of job it is and how quickly they want you to start. If they're looking for someone to start next week, then you have about 24 hours to accept the offer. (if they're looking for someone to start in a month, you have maybe two days - not a lot more) I don't think it means that you get to wait until you get a formal offer letter. You will need to decide before you go on the other interviews. If you don't - you risk looking like you're not interested, and I'm sure they have multiple candidates who they could turn to, right? You can certainly tell him that you were hoping for more money - that slows the process down and gives you a little breathing room. But you have to decide whether you're willing to lose this opportunity. If you do anything other than call back quickly, accept the job and express your full enthusiasm, he could certainly tell you they've changed their minds, or can't offer more money, or whatever.

I would not tell him you have other interviews because then you're telling him his job isn't good enough. And if you end up taking it anyways, he knows he's getting someone who didn't really want the job.

Sit yourself down and think through how much you want any job, versus this particular job. If this is the only offer you get, is it good enough? What if you say no to this and you don't get offers from the other two?

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions