Pending Job Offer: What Does It Mean


pending job offerIf you’re in the midst of an interview process, you may hear the term “pending job offer” from a recruiter or hiring manager.

And depending upon the the context and whom they’re referring to, that you could mean good or bad news for you as the applicant.

To that end, this article is going to define what the term pending job offer means, and answer related questions about when it means when you hear a company has a pending job offer for a position.

What Does “Pending Job Offer” Mean?

A pending job offer typically means that a company is either writing up a final job offer or waiting upon final approvals to make an offer.

How Long Does It Take for a Job Offer to Be Approved?

In my experience, after you hear that a job offer is pending, I would expect for the formal offer to be approved in one – three business days.

Typically, when you start interviewing for a position, the company will have details like the salary range, title, and benefits for the position all approved in advance. With that being the case, as long as they’re not expecting their offer to vary significantly from what’s already been approved, any final approvals should come fairly quickly after a decision has been made.

That said, I’ve seen articles say that it could take weeks for an approval, and other people say that it’s taken months so it can vary substantially based on the company.

Why Is It Taking So Long to Get an Offer?

If you heard from the company that a job offer is pending, and you’ve been waiting to hear from them for longer than the typical one – three business days, there could be a variety of reasons for the delay:

  • The hiring manager is on PTO
  • The HR point of contact is on PTO
  • The company wants to make an offer beyond the previously approved salary range and needs additional approvals
  • The hiring or HR manager is waiting to receive final formal internal approvals
  • There are internal issues that came up like a hiring freeze or the hiring manager resigning

Is It Ok to Follow Up on a Pending Job Offer?

Yes, it’s ok to follow up on a pending job offer.

Regarding the timing of a follow up, if the company gave you a timeline by which you should receive an offer, and missed that timeline, you’re safe to follow up after that. Otherwise, I would recommend waiting at least five business days to follow up.

That recommended timeline is consistent with recommendations on how long to wait to follow up after an interview.

How Do You Follow Up on a Pending Job Offer?

According to a survey by Robert Half, human resources managers stated that the best ways to follow up with a hiring manager were via email and phone. 

To that end, I would recommend starting with a follow up email. In fact, Zety has an article that offers some great follow up email templates that you can leverage.

If you don’t hear back from your email follow up after 2 – 3 business days, then a follow up via phone would be appropriate.

This video from Madeline Mann dives a bit deeper into how to best follow up after an interview, which also would apply to following up on a pending job offer;

What To Do If You Get Another Job Offer While Waiting on a Pending Offer

It’s common to be interviewing for multiple jobs at the same time. And there’s a chance that you may receive a job offer while waiting on your pending offer. If the job offer that you receive is your top choice, then your situation is fairly simple and you can go ahead and take that offer. If it’s your second choice, then you’re in a bit of a tougher spot.

We have a full article that breaks down what to do if you receive a job offer while interviewing with another company. Here is a quick summary of our recommended steps:

  1. Respond promptly to the other offer
  2. Express gratitude for the other offer
  3. Communicate your situation to the other company and ask for a deadline to respond
  4. Let the company from which you have a pending offer know about your new offer ASAP

By following those steps, you should hopefully be able to manage expectation with the company that gave you an offer, while also increasing urgency for the one with the pending offer. 

If you hit a point where you have to decide on your job offer while you still have an offer pending then you can try to ask for more time to consider your job offer, make a tough decision on if you want to take the job offer or hold out for the other one, or, in the worst case, decline your offer after previously accepting (though this will likely burn a bridge).


Hopefully, this article has helped you to understand what the term “pending job offer” means and provided some good tips to how to navigate a pending offer. If you’ve heard that you have a pending job offer, take a moment to celebrate, because that means that a valuable opportunity may soon be coming your way!

About the author

Dan Slocum

Dan is the founder of Best Fit Work and is a business professional with over 10 years of experience. He has been a hiring and people manager on multiple occasions, and has also gone through the hiring process himself at a variety of different companies. Dan writes to share content, tools, and resources to help people discover and thrive in their own best fit work.

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