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How Long Can You Wait to Accept a Job Offer?

Michael Miller Dec 11, 2013 4:33:00 AM

Offer LetterIf your resume, cover letter, and interview skills are up to par, you may receive a job offer. If you decide that the offer meets your professional goals, and you are happy with the terms of employment, you will accept the offer.

Timeliness

If you received a message asking you to call the HR department, you must respond in a timely manner. According to The Street’s Brian O’Connell, you have at most 48 hours to respond to a job offer.

It’s preferable to return the call within 24 hours. Returning the call in the same business day is ideal.

You may be the best candidate for the job, but you are not the only candidate. If you do not respond promptly, the HR manager may decide to withdraw the offer. A study by Assurance Wireless found that 94 per cent of HR professionals surveyed would “move on” to the next candidate if the first did not respond in a timely manner.

Phone or email?

Phone is the best response. If you’re unable to make the call within 24 hours, send a brief, polite email saying when you will be available to call. You must, of course, ensure you call.

After your acceptance phone call, and once the paperwork is in order, you should send a brief email to thank the people you interacted with.

Passion and professionalism

Returning the HR manager’s call promptly will establish your professionalism. Neglecting your responsibilities and displaying a lack of professionalism could give you a bad reputation.

When you call, make sure you are professional but still passionate about your new role. The company likely hired you in part due to your enthusiasm and passion.

Listen courteously to the HR manager, and though you will probably be excited to be hired, make sure you do not interrupt. Dominating the conversation, even due to passion about the job, makes you appear unprofessional.

Make sure you know what the next steps are. If in doubt, ask during this call.

Declining the offer

You are entitled to decline the job offer as well. You may have discovered during the interview process that the company is not a good fit for you, or you may have received a better offer elsewhere.

If you do decide to decline the job offer, the same courtesy applies. Respond in a timely fashion, and always be professional. You are still representing your personal brand, even if you do not want to work for that particular company.

Call the person who offered you the job, and follow up with a brief, professional email stating your reason for declining. The company may not meet your professional goals, for example.

In summary, remember that you are representing your brand, so maintain a courteous, professional relationship at all times.

Sources used in researching this article include The Street: HR Execs Say There’s a 2-Day Expiration Date on Job Offers.


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Topics: Job Search