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How do I respond to a job offer if I'm still interviewing with other companies?

Career Exploration The Hiring Process

Question: I have had a couple of months of job searching with no firm offers until now and really need a job soon.   I got an offer in the mail from one company, but yesterday I had a very promising interview from another company that has better benefits and is much closer to home.  What should I tell the first company to get them to wait until I hear back from the second company? Answer: First of all, congratulations on your job offer! Whenever you are given an offer for a job, you can ask, “How soon do you need an answer?”  If their response is surprise, be truthful and let them know you are looking for jobs at other companies, and you would like the chance to discuss it with family and friends and to think it over.  Be prepared to give them the suggestion of needing a few days, or a week at the most, if they ask you how much time you need. Juggling two different employers can be precarious, and you don’t want to push away both employers and end up without any job. You may need to call the second company where you hope to get an offer and try to speed up their decision, explaining that you have gotten another offer. If you find out from the second company that it may be a while before they make a decision, you need to ask yourself, are you willing to lose the first job offer when there is no guarantee you will be offered the second job?  How long can you afford being unemployed?  It is a gamble to hold out for the second job offer.  If it does come through, it was worth the wait.  If it doesn’t come through, you may become more discouraged.  If you choose to accept the first job offer and the second job does come through, you could resign from the first job, but you may run the danger of affecting your reputation and “burning bridges.”  Or you might discover the first company is a better fit for you and you are happy there.  Good luck!