Working life

'Can I accept two job offers?' We answer questions about graduate job offer etiquette

21 Dec 2023, 10:45

Communicating with recruiters at the offer stage

Choosing between graduate job offers is a big decision and most employers understand this. Make sure you think carefully about an offer before accepting it. Whatever your situation, it is important to be honest and polite. Explain your circumstances to the recruiter and emphasise your enthusiasm for the role. It is always a good idea to maintain good rapport with the recruiter, even if you don’t take the job.

Can I accept a job offer then change my mind?

You should not back out of a job offer once you have accepted it. By rescinding an accepted offer you are technically in breach of contract. It can also damage your professional reputation with the recruiter, or if you have been referred through an agency, they are unlikely to refer you again.

People do sometimes renege on an accepted job offer if they receive a better offer. But it’s always best to make an informed decision about a job before accepting it. If you are weighing up multiple job offers, waiting for a response from another employer or are unsure about an offer, explain the situation to the recruiter and request more time if you need it.

How long do I have to accept a job offer?

There are many reasons why you might not accept a job offer right away. You might have other offers, want to discuss the offer with friends and family or be overwhelmed with information and want to take some time to think. You can request some reasonable time to consider the offer. You might say something along the lines of “Thank you so much for the offer; is it possible to get a summary via email? I’m delighted you think I’m a good fit for your organisation. If it’s ok with you I’d just like to take a day or two to think about itt. You should also mention if you have or are waiting for other offers or if you’d like to speak to someone within the organisation about concerns or questions you may have.

The time you have to respond will vary with employers, but it is typically a few days. Give the recruiter an estimate of when you are likely to respond. This shows maturity and it is helpful for the recruiters to know when they can expect to hear from you. Once you have made a decision, let the recruiter know either way.

Should I accept a job offer?

Think about whether the job would suit you and how it would affect your life. Gather as much information as possible from each employer that has made you an offer to help your decision-making process. A good employer will be happy to answer your questions and put you in touch with a graduate or your prospective line manager to talk through any concerns and give you more details.

Here are some things you may want to clarify at this stage:

  • Anything you don’t yet understand about your day-to-day duties

  • Opportunities for career progression within the company

  • Relocation assistance if needed

  • Work from home arrangements

Consider the hidden costs of the job such as travel expenses, new clothes and food costs.

Can I accept two job offers?

Receiving multiple job offers is a good problem to have, but you should only accept one. You should also remove yourself from the selection processes of other employers once you have accepted an offer. Weigh up which job would suit you best and don’t just automatically go for the one with the highest salary or biggest brand name. Accepting two offers will ultimately cause you stress and damage relations with an employer or recruiter.

How do I handle a job offer if I’m waiting for another?

You may receive an offer while waiting to hear back from another employer or are in the process of interviewing with another company. Unless you are sure that the first job is your preferred choice, explain the situation to the recruiter who has made you the first offer.

Don’t ignore the offer until you hear back from the rest. Recruiters would rather know up front, they may allow you to wait until you have a response from the other employers. However, this this may not always be possible as if you wait a fairly long time and then decline the offer, the recruiter will want to offer it to another candidate they have on reserve, and it wouldn’t be fair to leave them waiting for so long.

Ready to accept the job offer? Here's a quick video on writing a simple and polite email accepting a job offer.

gradireland editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the gradireland content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

People reading this also searched for roles in these areas:

Related careers advice

undefined background image

We've got you

Get the latest jobs, internships, careers advice, courses and graduate events based on what's important to you. Start connecting directly with top employers today.