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Advice / Job Search / Job Offer

3 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself When the Clock's Ticking on a Job Offer

Yes! You got the job. There’s just one catch: It came with an exploding offer, a.k.a., a job offer that you have to accept fast if you want it. Sure, you want the position—after all, you went through a really long process to get it. But that doesn’t mean you don’t want to read everything thoroughly, speak with a few people about it, and negotiate the best possible salary for yourself.

If you’re currently dealing with this situation and feel like the clock’s ticking, here are three things to consider before you make any moves, plus how to buy yourself more time while you’re doing all that thinking.

1. Are You Feeling Hesitant?

You’re probably really excited right now. With that said, it’s also completely normal to suddenly feel hesitant about accepting—even if you spent the past few weeks dreaming about this moment. If you fall into this category, you should know that you’re not crazy. And it wouldn’t be unreasonable for you to ask for a little more time to think through everything. After all, you’re probably asking yourself if this is how the company conducts all its business—fast, stressful, and full-of-pressure.

How to Buy More Time

If you’re excited about the opportunity, but blindsided by your deadline, I’m going to suggest something a little bold: Pick up the phone and talk to the hiring manager about how you’re feeling. (An email might come off as a little colder than you’d like, especially if you’re seriously pumped about the job.) Make sure to express your enthusiasm and gratefulness about the offer, but also ask for more clarity around why you were given a deadline. One of three things will likely happen: the hiring manager will share a valid reason for the deadline, the hiring manager will extend the deadline because it wasn’t mean to be exploding, or the hiring manager will, in a way, confirm that this is how the company operates.

2. What Questions Do You Still Have About the Role?

Again, this isn’t a huge surprise, but an exploding offer can exacerbate some of the outstanding questions you had after your final interview. No matter how excited you are about a particular gig, it’s natural to still want to discuss a few things. So be honest with yourself about any concerns you have about the role before signing anything.

How to Buy More Time

I’d still suggest that you pick up the phone to have this conversation, but avoid leading by saying that you need more time. Instead, feel free to ask any of those lingering questions that you have on your mind. If you get the answers you’re looking for, that’ll make things pretty easy (and you should be excited to accept). But if you’re still feeling like you need more time to think it over after you hear the responses, it’s perfectly OK to ask for a deadline extension so that you could think this new information through.

3. Are You Interviewing Anywhere Else?

If you’re deep into the job search, odds are you’re in final rounds with a few companies. Most exploding offers are given to really great candidates because the hiring manager knows they likely have other options on the table. So, if this is the case for you, don’t ignore those other options. And don’t be shy about letting this employer know that you have a few other positions you’re considering.

How to Buy More Time

Here’s where I’d actually suggest being a little more straightforward. Let the hiring manager know that you’re considering other options and, if possible, need a few more days to consider. Remember: If you want this job, you need to make that clear during this conversation—the last thing you want to do is make the hiring manager think he’s your second choice. If an employer is completely unwilling to budge for you, that’s a pretty good indication that this company runs itself a certain way—and that’s certainly something to keep in mind as you make your decision. In the meantime, now’s a good time to reach back out to those other hiring managers and let them know the situation. (Here’s more on juggling multiple offers, email templates included!)

Exploding offers are tough, especially when you were initially excited by the position. Just remember: This company wants you to take the job. So, even though the deadline might seem final, it’s always worth it to ask for more time. Odds are low that the hiring manager will completely rescind the offer just for asking—and if he does, well—it’s probably best for you to steer clear of the company anyway.

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