A reader writes:
I have a manager who is interested in receiving responses from candidates about offers two days after the offer is made. I think the standard should be about one week to respond about accepting a job offer. Is this what other people are experiencing? Should there be a note in the offer letter advising applicants that they must respond so quickly based on the recommendation of the manager? Can you help?
This varies widely from employer to employer. Some employers are perfectly willing to wait a week or even weeks for a response, while others give candidates a few days.
Part of this is because employers often have time pressures that they have to work within: For instance, a position might need to be filled right away, or they might have other candidates with timelines of their own to consider. Say, for example, that I’m making a job offer to Candidate A but if she turns me down, I’m going to offer the job to Candidate B. However, Candidate B has told me that she needs to hear from me by Friday, because she has another job offer that she needs to respond to, even though mine would be her first choice. So now I need to hear from Candidate A before Friday.
Additionally, while it’s certainly important for the candidate to be sure they’re making the right decision, most employers think that by the time things have reached the offer stage, the candidate should have a pretty good idea of whether or not they’d accept an offer (assuming they can agree on money). And so if someone asks for a week or longer to think it over, it can signal that they’re not especially enthusiastic or that they’re stalling in the hopes that they’ll get an offer from somewhere else.
Regardless of where you come down on this, one thing that’s imperative is that you communicate your expectations to the candidate. If you need an answer in two days, tell them that when you first make the offer. Don’t expect them to just magically know your timeline.