Time to sign employment contract after receiving an offer (to consider other options or interview with other firms)

consulting contract full-time
Recent activity on Jan 21, 2018
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Martin asked on Jan 17, 2018

Hi guys,

I have several interviews over the next few weeks at the major consulting firms (BCG, Bain etc.). Now I was wondering, should I get extended an offer, how much time would I have to decide and to sign the contract? Is there a certain amount of time (in Germany) that the firms usually grant you to make your decision?


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replied on Jan 17, 2018
Former BCG Principal and decision round interviewer

Both from a NAR and EMEA perspective usual time a candidate has to consider an offer is 1-3 weeks. However know that it is usually not an hard and fast and you can negotiate to extend it. In fact, one of my favorite former bosses once told me "an offer is valid as long as you consider it".

Consultancies will always try to pressure you in signing an offer sooner rather than later. But there are very few instances where you receive an "explosive" offer (offer that expires within XX hours).

If you happen to be in the situation where you need to extend the time you need to consider an offer because you are still interviewing with other employers I would be open and honest to the company that extented the offer you first and just say "I am interviewing with XYZ, they invested a lot of time in me during first rounds like you did and I think I owe to them to complete the process and give me a proposal that I can consider". On the other side I would contact all the other companies you are interviewing with and let them know that you'd like to speed up the interview process if possible given that you already have an offer and you need to get back to that company sooner. I would also stop the interview process with firms that you are not interested in anymore because you receive your first offer so that you do not waste their time and keep a door open (you never know if second round will be successful after all).

Hope it helps, it's good to have choices but understand how stressful it can be


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Martin on Jan 17, 2018

Great, thanks a lot for your answer. I'll definitely keep this in mind when it comes to it.

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replied on Jan 21, 2018
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Hi Martin,

as for the period to decide on an offer, the standard in the industry is 1-2 weeks; there could be some differences according to the geography, but mostly you will receive that time range.

As for the period extension, I will quote one of my previous answers here. I agree with Andrea that it would be safer to speed up the process with the other firms – if you call them and explain that you have an offer and would be very interested to interview with them as well, they will likely accelerate the process. It happened to me after an Oliver Wyman offer with BCG, and manage to complete the whole process in four days instead of the usual 3-4 weeks.

This sometime will also have the additional benefit to decrease the number of interviews you will have to do. Some examples I know first-hand:

  • Once I received my offer from Oliver Wyman, I called the other companies I had in pipeline, to mention I had to take a decision soon. I ended completing the process with BCG with 2 interview rounds, instead of the usual 3.
  • One of the people I coached went through a first round with a MBB company and passed it. At the end of the interview they asked him if he was interviewing with other MBB and he said he was indeed in the process with others. When they proposed him the final round day, he tried to put it off in order to have time to interview also with the other MBB. In the end the presented him an offer, without even doing the final round. Of course, his performance was excellent in the first round, but they would have hardly done so without the candidate making clear he was in high demand.

In case it is not feasible to accelerate the process with the other firms, you have two options:

  1. Ask the company who presented the offer to wait more – usually difficult to justify and risky in terms of final outcome
  2. Sign the contract and continue the recruiting process with the other firms – you have to consider if this works for you from an ethical point of view

Hope this helps,


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Martin on Jan 22, 2018

Thanks a lot for the long answer! Appreciate the advice.

Andrea gave the best answer


Former BCG Principal and decision round interviewer
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