How Quickly Should You Accept Job Offer?

Anonymous writes:
I was offered a job and am wondering how long I can wait before I let them
know if I accept the job? Thanks!

The Career Doctor responds:
You usually establish the timetable when the offer is presented. Employers always want to know sooner than later — mainly because they want to conclude the search but also because they don’t want to keep their other candidates dangling for too long in case you turn down the offer and they have to go to their next-choice candidate.
If you were not given a timeframe I would suggest that you reply in some fashion within a week. Even if you feel you need more time to make a decision it’s best to reconnect with the hiring manager by calling him or her and requesting the time. If you wait too long the employer will probably just assume you are no longer interested and move on to candidate #2 leaving you out in the cold.
A final issue to consider. If you need a long time to make a decision about the offer it’s probably not the right job for you. In theory by the time an employer makes an offer you should have a pretty good idea about whether you would want to work at the company or not. What’s stopping you? Are you waiting for another job offer? Are you not sure you want to make the change? Was the offer lower than you expected? Take some time to consider why you seem hesitant.
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