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How to Delay an Academic Job Offer

How to Delay an Academic Job Offer

And one day you received a job offer. But it was not the one you were expecting, so you need to buy some extra time to follow up with your preferred employer.

There are other reasons why you feel you need to delay a job offer. You wanted to have some extra options, keep a card under your sleeve, or you just changed your mind but want to be sure before declining definitely.

One thing is to delay an answer for a few days and another for some more time. 

If you decide to desist from the offer, let them know immediately. For sure, there are other candidates also interested in filling up the position.

When you need more time

If you request an extension for a few days, you may say that now that you are on solid ground, you need to discuss it with your family. You may also say that you need to wrap up a few things at your present job. They surely know that you already have a job that you want to leave. But you do not want to give the impression that, because you got something that better suits your interests, you will leave everything up in the air.

If it is for a more extended period of time, keep in mind that, in academic positions, a delay generally means an academic year. So, they need to hire someone else to teach the classes and, at the same time, keep you. Therefore, here there are two fundamental aspects to consider:

  1. If your request is for research, dissertation issues, and the college or university is not ranked R1 or R2, their focus will not be there. They know that your input will enrich the department and institution, but their resources do not aim in that direction.
  2. The college or department might have some financial constraints to hire someone else for a whole year. So, make sure the institution has a budgetary position that allows them to do that, or they may withdraw the offer because you will place them in an unnegotiable position.

Always be as polite and professional as you can.

Remember that you are talking to your future colleagues and that they also took the time to study your case to narrow the list first and offer to hire you later. So, try to be as straightforward as you can and do not play games with them.

Try to speak in person

Call the one who was at the head of the interview, and e-mail them, too. It is always advisable to keep everything in writing. And remember that now you will be at their mercy, so be grateful.

What is on your favor is that they chose you among other candidates. So they want you and will probably try to accommodate you, as long as it fits their reality. So, you need to show them what they gain from this negotiation to make your position stand. 

It is hard negotiating benefits, perks, spousesmatters, etc., let alone an extension of a starting date. Anyway, if you need to do this, just look ahead and do it. You will probably spend, at least, some years at this new place, so your comfort, in every aspect, comes first.