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Requesting a Deadline Extension

You just received a job offer from a company. They were a good company, however, you have an interview coming up with another employer. You want to interview to see which position is the best fit for you, but you need to respond to your original offer before the interview. How do you approach the situation?

Managing offer deadlines can be a tricky part of the search process and requesting a deadline extension might be an option. Make sure you understand when you are likely to hear back from other companies, so you have a firm timeline for how long you will need. While it may seem impossible to navigate without hurting your chances with a company, there are some steps to help you with the process.

1. Call the person who issued your offer well in advance of your deadline. Calling is usually better than emailing in this situation. Over email it is easy to get lost in the shuffle or have the company just say no. Try to call the same person who originally extended the offer to you. If possible, call well in advance of the original deadline.

2. Express interest in the position and appreciation for being selected. This is a nice way to get the conversation rolling. Rather than calling and jumping straight into the request, talk about what you like about the company.

3. Determine how much time would be optimal in deciding — and ask for it. On the ECS website, we suggest offer guidelines to employers. While this is only a suggestion and cannot be enforced, you could refer to this information when requesting additional time. Let the employer know you wish to make the most informed decision.

4. Be ready for one of three answers.

  • Yes. You now have an extended deadline! Proceed with your other interviews and make the most informed decision.
  • I will get back to you. Thank them for their willingness to check on the situation. Oftentimes the company representative will need to check with someone to see if this is alright. Make sure you know when they should be reaching out to you again.
  • No. Thank them for hearing your request. Let them know that you will need a little more time to think but will get back to them by the original deadline with your decision.

5. Contact other opportunities in progress (if applicable), let them know you have received an offer, and find out if you are still a viable candidate. Letting other companies know that you have received an offer and have until a certain deadline might help speed up their process. Follow steps 1 and 2 above to make sure they know that you are also excited for their position. Then let them know your pending deadline and inquire about their hiring timeline.

Managing offer deadlines does not have to be scary! As always, be professional and courteous when communicating with employers--no matter the situation.

“Don’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the further you get.” - Michael Phelps

About the author

Alex Austin

Alex Austin is a Graduate Administrative Associate with Engineering Career Services.