The best thing has happened: You landed the job before you even finished your interview. It’s like getting proposed to as soon as the drinks arrive on your first date. Exciting, but also downright crazy.
This can be a pretty tricky situation to navigate, especially when you really need the position. It can be difficult not to promise a response by the end of the day, specifically a response along the lines of, “Great! I can’t wait to get started!”
But, there are a lot of reasons to think twice about any role you’ve been offered this quickly. To help you make the best decision for yourself, here are three things to consider when you’re offered a job on the spot.
1. Don’t Feel Pressured to Accept Right Away
I know what you’re thinking. This is a good thing! Right? Why wouldn’t I accept the same day? However, when this happens, your default response should be to ask for more time to consider.
Although I’ve never offered anyone a job like this during my recruiter days (and really, for the sake of a contender’s sanity, never would), there are a few reasons why someone else might.
- The position has been open for a long time, and The Person In Charge just wants to end the search.
- The company is not a particularly great place to work.
- You’re getting low-balled and the hiring manager is hoping to lock you in for a little less money.
There’s one common thread through all of these reasons: In all three cases, the company is trying to make sure you have as little time as possible to do additional research and discover something that would send you running for the hills. The irony behind this is that you should do just that if you’re offered a position this early. Most hiring managers will be happy to give you more than a few hours to consider the offer, but in the even rarer instance that you’re forced to make a decision before nightfall, stand up for yourself and politely decline.
2. Ask Lots of Questions About Why You’re Being Offered the Role This Quickly
My assumptions about the early job offers I’ve received are based on my experience. But, I’m sure there are lots of reasons why a hiring manager would end a first-round interview with a job offer. So don’t be afraid to ask questions. A lot of questions.
While this might sound like a great way to look a gift horse straight in the mouth, don’t forget that in this situation, you have all the leverage. Receiving an offer in the middle of an interview is a great way for a recruiter to show his or her hand. The company wants you—and sure hopes you’ll accept without asking too many questions.
If you’re stumped for questions to ask, here are a few to help jumpstart the conversation over email.
- “If I were to accept, what would my on-boarding period look like? And what kind of support would I receive as I got acclimated?”
- “Would it be possible to meet other members of the team to help me make the best decision possible?”
- “I’m very flattered by this offer—can you tell me what it was about my performance in the interview that made you feel comfortable moving forward?”
These questions are diplomatic and also help you keep things noncommittal. After all, you’re a great candidate. And because you are, you probably have a few options on the table. And even if you don’t, still take the time to really evaluate what’s out there.
3. Be as Gracious as Humanly Possible
OK, so here’s the thing—as uncomfortable as it might be to receive a job offer so fast, the fact of the matter is that you’ve still been offered a job. And that’s a pretty big deal. Since it’s a really big deal, you should be insanely gracious upon receiving that job offer. Even if you have no intention of accepting.
Of course, you should still do your due diligence about everything from company culture to your potential boss’ management style. But, before you run off and do the research we know you’re dying to do about the company, make sure to express your sincere gratitude. To thank the hiring manager without leading him or her on, here are a few ways you can start the conversation:
- “Wow! I definitely wasn’t expecting this to move forward so quickly, and although I’d like to take some time to consider it in more depth, I am really flattered!”
- “Thank you so much! The offer is very generous, but I’d like to run this by a few people who are close to me before I go ahead and accept.”
- “This is a nice surprise! I’d like to spend a couple days digesting this news. It’s a lot to take in, but I am incredibly honored.”
You’re really excellent, so it’s no wonder that someone wants to snatch you up. But your excellence is also why you shouldn’t shortchange yourself and rush into accepting a job that was offered in this way. Take the time to really consider what you might be getting yourself into. You’ve worked too hard not to give that to yourself, so take a deep breath and resist the temptation to accept right on the spot.
Photo of woman thinking courtesy of Shutterstock.
Richard Moy is a Content Marketing Writer at Stack Overflow. He has spent the majority of his career in talent management, including a stint as a full-cycle recruiter and hiring manager. In addition to the career advice he contributes to The Muse, he also writes test prep and higher education marketing content for The Economist. Say hi on Twitter @rich_moy.More from this Author