If you get an offer that you don’t think you’re going to take, it still may not hurt to hear the company out. If you are absolutely certain that you’re not going except this job, it is best to tell the prospective employer within a reasonably short period of time. Also, I recommend calling the hiring authority personally to say how much you appreciate the offer, but at this time you’re not in a position to accept it.
Whatever you do, don’t burn any bridges by being aloof, condescending, or egotistical. Be very graceful and recognize that you may need an offer from this organization somewhere down the line.
If you really want to keep the door open for the future, try this:
After turning down an offer, send the hiring authority in nice note thanking the person for his or her time and effort along with a small gift – maybe $10 gift certificate to Starbucks, or a book you know they would like. Any small gift, that the person will remember you by, works. This gesture alleviates the irritation that the hiring authority might have over your rejection of the job, and it reinforces the personal relationship that you established during the interview.
Getting an offer you might take
Begin by knowing everything there is to know about the opportunity. Get the offer and evaluate it. If you are fortunate enough to be able to compare one offer with another, do it quickly. Another bit of advice: never compare an offer in hand with one that you might get in the near future. The bird in hand is always more valuable than one in the bush.
However, if you do have a job offer in hand, it is advisable to call any other organization that may be considering you. Tell them you have an offer and that you would like to hear from them by a certain time. You have to put a time limit on this. You don’t have much choice, but you might ask the company that has given you an offer for a day or so to think about it. Do not tell a hiring authority that you have another offer when you don’t.
Most hiring authorities won’t believe you have another opportunity by default; they will consider it a bluff. However, if it is real, that truth somehow comes across in your voice.
Getting an offer you would like to accept
This is really easy to do. Once you get the offer, tell the hiring authority that you would like to discuss the offer with him face-to-face. The only word of caution I would offer is that you do not shut down your pursuit of any other opportunities until you are sure of the offer and your acceptance of it. Even then, I would be sure to keep my options open for a short period, just in case things fall through.
I’ve experienced numerous instances over the years of candidates being told they would receive an offer and the job never materialized. So, when an organization tells you that it would like to make you an offer, set a face-to-face meeting to go over the details of the offer, but don’t tell any other organization that you are interviewingwith that you are inthe process of accepting an offer until you have it.