Tactful Ways to Delay a Job Offer

You’ve got a job offer, and your potential employer awaits your answer. But you need time to think it over before you accept.

The solution: Shift into “stall ’em” mode. While you don’t want to sound indifferent or negative about accepting the position, you still want to wait and see if other opportunities arise.

Here’s how to put off making a final decision without kissing the job offer goodbye:

Gather more facts. You can request all kinds of data on the company, such as the latest financial results, press releases, marketing materials and consultants’ reports. Explain that you want to conduct your own “due diligence” test to ensure that you’ve found the right employer. When you’re given all the information you requested, say that you need some time to absorb the material.

Ask to meet with others. Given today’s team-based ethic, it’s natural for you to want to get to know the people you’ll inherit in your unit. Say that you’re curious about the people who work at the company. See if you can arrange informal meetings with your future co-workers and employees. Aside from buying time, you can use these meetings to get a feel for how they operate.

Pack your bags. A sure-fire delay tactic is to say, “Can we discuss the details next week? I’m leaving tomorrow for a trip.” Obviously, you don’t want to lie. But if you can find a reason to either schedule a business trip or take a quick vacation, you have an excellent means of stalling at your disposal.

A final tip: If the job offer is made verbally, ask for it in writing. This puts the burden back on the company to prepare a formal letter that specifies the terms of your job offer. Clarify the specifics of your pay package and make sure you’re getting all the perks you expect.