A reader writes:
I’ve been offered a job via a voicemail message on my phone. I’ve been hesitant to call back immediately in the hopes of hearing from a second job, which I believe is better for my intended career path, although both of them are in the same ballpark of job, so to speak.
What do you believe is an acceptable frame of time before contacting the job that had already called back and accepting the offer to wait for any response from the second job that hasn’t called back yet? Both jobs are minimum wage.
Um, call right now.
Not responding to a job offer signals lack of interest or lack of responsiveness, both of which are bad things. You don’t need to call and accept it on the spot, but you do need to call them back and say something. It’s reasonable to ask for a few days to get back to them with an answer, but if you wait to even make contact to say that, they may assume you’re uninterested and move on to the next candidate on their list.
As far as appropriate timeframe for responding, I’d be mildly uneasy if a candidate hadn’t responded to me at all within one business day of that type of message (i.e., if I left a message saying I wanted to talk to her to offer her the job on, say, Tuesday morning and I hadn’t heard anything by Wednesday morning) … and I’d be downright worried if two full business days went by without a sound. People are usually excited to get job offers (even if they ultimately don’t accept them), and it’s not typically a call they avoid returning.
And again, it’s completely fine to ask for a few days to get back to them — but you need to say that. And once you do, you can call up the other company, tell them that you have another offer but are more interested in working with them, and ask what their timeline is for making a decision. If they’re very interested in you, they may be able to expedite things on their side.
But for christ’s sake, pick up the phone and return that call.