But remember, a company needs to know you’re just as excited about them as they are about you. You need to manage the relationship with your possible next employer correctly to solidify the relationship and for everyone to feel like this is the right decision.
When you’re at the point of getting an offer from a company, most hiring managers will assume a few things:
If fact, they assume this when you provide your references, even before they extend an offer. That's your cue to ask any pending questions about the job or the company. While your reference checks are in progress, that’s when you should to start considering the opportunity like you have an offer in hand.
Once you receive a job offer, many companies will expect a decision within two or three days, and more than a few will ask for an answer within 24 hours. Ask for more time, and you risk appearing uninterested or like you’re shopping the offer for something better.
However, it's completely reasonable to evaluate other opportunities when you receive an offer. Hiring managers understand a job seeker may have other opportunities on the table, but the timing might not always match up. It's best to be up front during the interview process about other opportunities if you’re asked (without providing specific details) so there are no surprises in the end.
The best practice is to assume once a company asks for your references that you’re a serious contender for the job and an offer is around the corner. Push to get through the interview process with other companies so when you do receive an offer, you can decide quickly without feeling like you’re rushed to tie up loose ends.
If you feel like you need more time to make a decision, here's how to handle it:
Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs, a niche job board for public relations, communications and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.