Finding a good, well-paying job requires patience and diligence, but when you finally receive that offer of employment you may have to delay your acceptance if you are waiting to hear from another company with a better offer. You may also want time to negotiate a better salary or to decide if you really want a career with the prospective employer. But it's important that you are honest with the company to ensure that you don't lose the offer before you make a final decision.
Call your contact at the company that made the job offer and ask if you can have more detailed information on the company before you make a decision. Ask for a company prospectus, future goals and specific targeted numbers. Express your desire to make sure you are the right fit for the company and its future goals.
Ask if it is possible for you to meet with the team with whom you will be working or the department supervisors. Suggest a lunch or a casual meeting where you can discuss the daily aspects of the work you will be performing. This is an effective way to learn more about the inner workings of the company and gives you more time to make a decision.
Request a formal offer in writing (if the initial offer was verbal) and ask if it is possible for human resources to send you a benefits and compensation package so you are fully aware of everything you will receive as an employee of the company. It's important that you are polite and enthusiastic and explain that you want all the information available so you make the right decision.
Call your contact at the company which has not made you an offer. Explain to her that you have received an offer from another company, but you are still very interested in working for her company. Ask her if she knows when you can expect to hear a final decision about employment at her company. Your goal is to learn where you stand in the hiring process, and to subtly make the company aware that someone else is interested in your services.
Call your contact at the company that made you an offer. State your enthusiasm and gratitude about the offer. Explain that you are not prepared to make a final decision and that you will get back to them soon.
Request an extension of the deadline from company that made the offer. If you know the date that the second company (which hasn't made an offer) will make a final decision and it is past the deadline of the company that made you an offer, this can provide you the leeway you need. Explain that you interviewed with another company and are waiting for a decision so you can make the best choice for everyone involved.
Be honest and tactful with all the companies involved. Your goal is to make the right decision for you and the company, not to play one company off against another for personal gain.
The company that made you the offer may not grant you an extension of the deadline, which may force you to accept or decline its offer without hearing from the second company. Never lie about the possibility of another job offer. The company that made you the offer may feel pressured or leveraged and rescind their offer, which leaves you with no job prospects.