You have been interviewing for an entry-level job with both Company A and Company B for the past few weeks. Company A is by far your top pick, but you’re still two weeks away from finding out their decision. Meanwhile, you have an offer from Company B and need to give them a response soon. What do you do?
The most important thing is what not to do. You should never accept a job offer that you don’t plan to see through. Reneging, or going back on a contract or promise, is often perceived as very unprofessional and is likely to burn bridges. Employers talk, so you want to make sure that when you’re accepting an offer, you are fully committing to that company and that you’re putting your best foot forward. So you if you don’t accept Company B’s offer right away, what should you do instead?
Ask for more time to make a decision.
Tell Company B that you’re very interested but need more time to think over the offer. Most companies will allow you a couple of days or a week to decide. If you start asking for more than a week, a hiring manager may think you have other options in play and question your interest and level of commitment, so timing this well is important.
Here’s what you can say in your email: “Thank you so much for extending me an offer for the position of X. It means the world to me that your team believes I’m a good fit for Company B. I wonder if I could have until Friday to get back to you on this opportunity.”
Let Company A know that you have another offer.
Once you’ve emailed Company B asking for more time, be sure to reach out to Company A right away. Let Company A know that they are 100% your first choice, but that you just received an offer from Company B and need to let the other company know if you’ll accept their offer in X number of days.
Here’s what you can say in your email: “I’m incredibly excited about the opportunity to work at Company A and the position at your company is by far my top choice. I received an offer earlier today from another company and have to give them an answer by the end of the week. I know we initially scheduled my final interview for ___, but would it be at all possible to reschedule to an earlier time? Thank you again for your consideration, and I’m very eager to follow up soon.”
If you are a competitive applicant that Company A is highly interested in, it’s very possible that they will find a way to speed up the process and get you an answer sooner.
If you don’t get a second offer immediately, don’t panic.
But what if Company A still isn’t able to give you an answer before you have to tell Company B your final decision? This is a definite possibility. If Company A doesn’t budge on their timeline, it leaves you leaves you with a tough decision to make. Do you decline Company B’s offer and hold out with the hopes that Company A will pull through? Or do you take Company B’s offer, minimizing the overall risk and opting for a solid, albeit not ideal, option?
This is something only you can decide. That said, you can trust that you have handled this situation with the professionalism and graciousness that all employers want their employees to embody.