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How to Respond to a Job Offer without Accepting it

How to Respond to a Job Offer without Accepting it

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Are you interested in the job but you need more time to consider the job offer? Then you must be a valuable candidate for the position, aren’t you?

Since there certainly are some predictable reasons behind your hesitation, there are also effective and tactful ways you can use to deal with this situation.

If you read ‘till the end, you will not only find out excellent steps in declining a job offer without accepting it, but you will also uncover the reasons behind your reluctance.

Let’s begin with an easy-to-remember but hard-to-forget mini-answer to our inquiry.


How can we respond to a job offer without accepting it?

We can respond to a job offer without accepting it by temporarily declining the job offer and asking for a grace period of two to seven days before making a decision. We can do this by expressing gratitude, explicitly mentioning the amount of time needed, and ending the message positively.


The easiest steps in temporarily declining a job offer and asking for an extension

The war for talent moves at a break-neck pace, and as a result, more employment opportunities have been created, thereby simultaneously increasing the competition in the labor market.

As a job applicant, you are, therefore, expected to know the meaning behind different job statuses so you could keep up with your competitors.

For example, you would likely benefit from knowing the meaning of “for future consideration” on a job application response from your employer because it saves waiting time and effort.

In the virtual world, much has been said about how employers ought to deal with job offer objections and rejections.

However, little is known about how job seekers should eloquently and politely communicate their unwillingness to accept the job.

A job offer (JO) is defined as the employer’s proposal to a potential candidate that outlines the employment conditions of a particular position, which can be delivered orally or in writing.

It typically includes the organization’s basic information such as the company logo, contact details, as well as complete establishment address. 

A job offer also indicates the type of employment offered, basic compensation package, other benefits, job position or title, as well as the summary of the job description.

You will receive a job offer after all relevant stakeholders reach a final decision to hire you; this means that you must have already taken all necessary assessments before receiving one.

Before getting yourself into the dilemma of whether to accept a job offer or not, you are expected to already know basic writing strategies like responding to a job posting by email.

For some reason, any applicant may have a change of heart along the way, and you’ve probably reached our site because of that.

When you want to decline a job offer without accepting it, it means that you simply want to request an extension of time before signing the document, if the JO is given to you in written form.

This situation could become extra challenging if and when the job offer is delivered through spoken conversation since you may not have enough time to prepare your speech.

But, as they say, every problem has a solution; you just have to look for it in the right places and carry it out most objectively and irresistibly.

To help you reduce your anxiety brought by this employment-related concern, we have outlined the most crucial steps in politely and objectively requesting an extension of time below.

You can use these steps in dealing with both written and verbal job offers.


Express gratitude for the job offer

No sane person hates any act of gratitude, and therefore, it is always recommended to start your email or speech with appreciative words, most especially if you are asking a favor.

In the back-end, some people have been responsible for making the recruitment process happen; in this vein, you are also professionally and morally indebted to your target employer.

In other words, you can show your prudence and courtesy by sharing a couple of complimentary words to your recruiter the moment you receive the job offer.

To thank a hiring manager or recruitment staff for a job offer, you can use simple gratitude expressions like “Thank you very much for this opportunity” or “Thank you for the job offer.”

If you want to show more enthusiasm, you can be more creative by saying something fancier like “I am truly honored to receive this job offer.”

Apart from that, you may also throw in a greeting message to demonstrate goodwill and warmth towards your addressee, who is often the hiring manager or recruitment specialist.

To do this, you can say anything along the lines of “I hope this email finds you well,” “I hope you are having a productive week,” or “I hope all is well with you.”


Explicitly say that you will need to review the offer for a certain amount of time

Most of the time, employers already expect prospective candidates to ask for a grace period or extension of time before formally accepting the job.

If the situation allows, the safest, not to mention the easiest, way to communicate your intent is to leave out explaining why you are asking for an extension.

This means that you can directly and concisely ask for an extended period after expressing some pleasantries to your addressee. 

But, if you want to reduce the guilt feelings, you may also conveniently give a hint as to why you are asking for extra time to think about the job.

You can do this by emphasizing the need for time because you are dealing with a major life decision that you cannot simply rush, for example, by using “as this is a major decision to take” as an introductory spiel.

However, if you are more comfortable with elaborating your reason, especially if there is an apparent need to do so, then feel free to tweak your email or speech.

A predictable reason that could prompt you to feel obligated to explain is when the job offer contains some details that you did not see coming.

For instance, the written job offer states something different from what you have read in the job posting or what you previously discussed with the interviewer.

Clearly enough, this would make you feel uncomfortable and confused. Nevertheless, the rule of thumb is still to use a polite and thoughtful tone throughout your response.

You can do this by telling the employer that you want more time to think because you were under the impression that some specific job details ought to be in a particular way.

More precisely, this may happen when the job role requires constant traveling, shifting schedules, or worse, the job position stated in the job offer is different from what you applied for.

That said, all you have to do is to formally ask for clarification, and then explicitly say that you will need a couple of days to think things over if, and only if, the details stated are true.


End with a positive note

Thirdly and finally, remember to always end your message with a positive note, for this would balance out the indecisiveness in you.

Ending an email professionally in the context of asking for an extension to come up with a job offer decision entails conveying goodwill for one last time. 

It would actually be better if you could mention a specific timeframe in your message and, of course, stick to the deadline. 

This means that you have to give your decision on or before your intended date.

Two to three days is ideal, but do not hesitate to request a week-long leeway so long that you have a good rationale behind it.

Remember that the more you delay your response, the more you are also risking your chance of getting hired, especially if the position is urgently needed.

You can expect that the employer will renegotiate your terms, at least in half the time you’re asking, which would be three or four days.

So, you had better prepare a highly unbiased counterargument as to why you need more time to think things through to avoid leaving a negative impression.

Also, never forget a formal sign-off message or complimentary close if you are writing an email instead of having a spoken conversation, such as “sincerely” or “respectfully yours.”

Doing so would demonstrate your attention to detail and organizational skills, which are pretty much necessary in all kinds of jobs.


Sample polite scripts for asking for more time to reconsider the job offer

The actual point of this post is that it is generally impolite and impractical to ask for an extension of time to make a decision about a job offer.

But, of course, we can never generalize this notion among all situations because applicants may also have special reasons that we have to take into consideration.

To completely make sense of everything I have explained, here are some sample scripts that you can use when you want to respond to a job offer without accepting it.

The script below is something that goes directly to the point without adding any reasons as to why an extension of time is necessary.

Use this as your default strategy both in writing and speaking:

Example 1:

“I am truly honored to have this opportunity, and I cannot thank you enough for providing me the chance to contribute to your esteemed organization. I would appreciate it if you could give me a few days to review the job offer.

Thank you for the update.”

The next example is applicable when you only want to give a hint as to why you are asking for more time to consider the job offer.

This also explicitly mentions that you want to have a week-long leeway before making a decision.

Example 2:

“Hope all is well with you. Thank you very much for this wonderful opportunity. With much enthusiasm, I look forward to sharing my professional knowledge and skills with your reputable organization. As this is a major decision for me to take, I would like to ask for a week to consider the job offer in its entirety. Please know that I will make sure to contact you no more than seven days from today. Thank you in advance.”

Here in the third example, you will notice that the initial expectations of the job were not met, and hence, a clarification is necessary.

You will also observe how the request for extension is connected with the reason behind the reluctance to accept or reject the job offer right away.

Example 3:

“Thank you very much for guiding me throughout my application, and I sincerely appreciate the chance you are giving me. However, as stated in the job posting, I was initially under the impression that the work schedule does not involve graveyard shifts, yet the job offer details state otherwise. I would appreciate it if you could let me know why this has changed. And if so, then I respectfully ask for a week to consider and decide, as I would need time to earnestly discuss this with my family.

Thank you very much for your time and patience.


Things you shouldn’t say when asking for a job offer extension

As I have already elaborated on how to delay committing to a job offer in detail, let’s also go over some statements to avoid in order to fill the remaining gap of today’s discussion.

The point of this section is that, no matter how badly you want to say the following statements, you have to avoid them at all costs.


 “I’m not sure anymore whether I still want to take the job.”

This is something you had better keep to you yourself rather than spoken aloud because, generally speaking, no employer would find this impressive.

Unless you are informally talking with your friend, or you really want to be replaced by the second-best candidate right off the bat, this statement must be avoided particularly because it contains a negative connotation.

When you are not sure about whether you should take the job offer just yet, you can say something more positive like:

 “Thank you for this opportunity. I would like to ask for a couple of days to consider the job offer” instead.


“This is not what I signed up for.”

If there is no doubt that the job specifications do not meet your initial expectations, saying “This is not what I signed up for,” albeit a realistic response, is also impolite.

Similarly, “This is not what I signed up for” bears a negative connotation that would immediately throw any employer off. 

And, I don’t think you would want to leave that kind of impression, do you?

Instead, you can say:

“The details stated in your job offer do not seem to meet my initial expectations, particularly the part where I have to travel outside the country from time to time.”

Staying objective and clear with what you are referring to will also prompt a more accurate and more honest response. So, steer clear of this expression all the time.

Who knows? There might just be some mistakes in the information stated in the job offer, which could be caused by a machine or human error.


“I thought you would offer a better compensation plan.”

More critically speaking, using something like “I thought you would offer a better compensation plan” is best avoided even if this is what you might want to say in reality.

Before the job offer is given, the interviewer or the hiring manager should have already given you some idea about what’s included and what’s excluded in their compensation plan.

So, you can say something better such as:

“In my understanding, I was anticipating that the compensation and benefits package would include “x.” May I know what has changed since the last time we had a discussion?”

Apparently, you have to keep your objectivity and politeness intact at all times to induce an unbiased judgment and response from your addressee.


Frequently Asked Questions on “How to Respond To A Job Offer”





Responding to job offers is a tricky decision to make, and at the same time, scouting for the most valuable talents is never an easy task.

Hence, as members of the society, both parties must be able to agree by meeting halfway through objective and diplomatic language use.