You’ve put in the hard work and now you’ve been rewarded with that exciting offer. The temptation is there to jump at it, and indeed many recruitment agencies in London will apply pressure, but how do you tactfully and respectfully request some thinking time without giving the impression that you aren’t serious about the offer?
Why do you want more time?
Start with the question: why do you want more time? Arguably, you should have done the bulk of the “thinking” before you got to this stage. So, you need to feel rock-solid about why you want more time, rather than a misguided game of cat and mouse. Think about it carefully and consider why (or if) you really need more time. Are you waiting for news from other jobs, do you need more information, or is something leaving you unsure? By pinning this down, you can figure out your next steps.
Be professional and timely
Whatever you do, don’t leave the prospective employer hanging. Even if you end up turning down this offer, it’s a good idea to never burn bridges completely. You’ll need to be professional at every step.
Therefore, get back to the hiring manager quickly and explain that you respect their time and will keep them updated. This will help both sides form reasonable expectations. Be sure to thank them for the offer and convey your excitement at the prospect.
Ask for more time
With this foundation, you’re now in a position to explain that you would like a little more time before your official response. Frame your request positively, explain that you are seriously considering the role, and try to be as honest as possible as to why. Most importantly, set out a reasonable timeframe for getting back to them.
Explain that this is a really important and pivotal decision for you and ask whatever questions you need to. You could ask to review the offer letter or contract in more depth, explain that you need to consider relocation details, or ask for time to examine the new questions you have. Be reasonable—a few days is fine, weeks are almost certainly not.
Be clear about deadlines
Hiring managers commonly work to a set deadline, so don’t wait until the last minute just because you can. You want to get off on the right foot by respecting their time.
If you’re being pressured to make a decision based on a verbal or brief email offer then you can buy some time by requesting an official offer letter. This way you can review the details of the offer in writing. You could also ask for a contract and copies of key policies. These documents can all help you make the right decision. If these aren’t forthcoming, then this may give you some insight into problems further down the line.
Stick to your word
If you’ve negotiated more time to make an offer, it’s essential that you follow up according to that timescale.
If you’re in the position of needing more time to make a decision, you can always ask your recruitment agency for help. It’s another benefit of using one!
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