Congrats! You just got a job offer. Maybe this is your dream job and you're ready to go all-in. In that case, here's how to sweeten the deal and get a start date on the books.

But what if you're waiting on other offers? Or aren't sure if this is "the one?" You've got to buy yourself some time -- without losing that offer.

Lynn Taylor is a workplace expert, HR professional and consultant on achieving career success. In a recent piece for Business Insider, she shared her tips on how to stall in the most professional way possible.

1. Don't leave the hiring manager hanging

Respond promptly to the hiring manager to let them know you've received the offer. Be nice. Say thank you. Express genuine excitement. Then ask if it's possible to take a few days to get back to them. Taylor says it's not out of the question to ask for two or three days to make a decision.

If you're polite about the way you ask, it shouldn't be a problem. Chances are the hiring process has already taken some time -- an average of 23.8 days in the U.S. according to a recent Glassdoor survey. What's a few more days? Taylor also recommends giving the hiring manager a specific day when you'll get back to them.

"Stay true to your deadline, or risk the offer being withdrawn," Taylor told Business Insider.

The worst thing you can possibly do is not reply while you mull things over. You don't want to come off as unenthusiastic or lackadaisical about the position. Another no-no? Telling them you're lukewarm on the job, offer or company. That could make the offer suddenly disappear.

2. Ask lots of questions

Accepting a new job entails a huge life change. This will be how you spend 40 hours every week (or more). A new commute, new coworkers, new job duties.

Are you confident you know everything you need to about the position, workplace culture and benefits package to make the right decision? If not, use this time to get answers -- while buying yourself some wiggle room. Asking follow-up questions post job offer also shows that you're being thoughtful in this decision and want to come into this well-informed.

Be careful how you phrase your questions though. Asking about work-life balance straight-out could lead the hiring manager to deduct the wrong conclusions about you.

3. Play your negotiation cards right

To negotiate or not? It depends.

On one hand, negotiating is an obvious tactic to buy a little bit more time. The inevitable back-and-forth can work in your favor while you consider your options. Perhaps you have other job offers that you'd like to negotiate against to get the best possible salary and benefits package.

You don't need to negotiate though. Many people don't. If the salary is within a certain range, there are a few good reasons not to negotiate the offer.

4. Turn them down nicely

Obviously you'll get back to them if you decide accept the offer. What if you decide the job's not for you? Definitely let the hiring manager know. Give them a call and tell them you're declining the offer. If they ask why, be honest but keep it super brief. No need to elaborate. You've accepted another offer. You've decided it's not the best fit for you.

This might feel incredibly awkward, but don't avoid the difficult conversation. Even if you've been ghosted by a hiring manager in the past (who hasn't?), it's the right thing to do. You never know when you might cross paths with this person again one day. You want them to remember you as courteous and professional.

"When you've made your final decision, do it verbally, but make sure it's in writing," Taylor says. ​

Published on: Mar 20, 2018