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This is how long you really have to make a decision after receiving a job offer

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You've done the hard work of applying to a job, interviewing for it and now you have an offer.

It's a great position to be in. But it's also stressful. You might need to talk about the decision with your family and friends, ask the hiring manager more questions or even wait to hear back about another position.

If you're like many job candidates, you might be wondering, "How much time do I have to make a decision?"

According to multiple hiring managers, requesting 48 to 72 hours is perfectly reasonable.

Charlie Nelson, vice president at SmartRecruiters, works with hundreds of recruiters and has hired hundreds of people himself.

"If the employer has done their job, including selling the candidate on the opportunity and addressing any questions," Nelson tells CNBC Make It, "the candidate's decision should be easy and take less than three days."

Rachel Ernst, head of employee success at Reflektive, a performance management software company, agrees. She and her team usually anticipate a response within three business days.

"We don't want to force people to make a quick decision," Ernst tells CNBC Make It. "We want people to think thoroughly through their decision."

Of course, there are exceptions. If the job entails moving cities, working significantly different hours or making other big life changes, asking for longer than 72 hours makes sense. But whatever you do, be sure to make your decision within one week, or you could hurt your chances.

"I understand that candidates need time to make a thoughtful decision," Nelson says, "but anything longer than a week means that they aren't sure. Hesitation is a big red flag."

In fact, asking for more than one week could actually disqualify you, Ernst says, as it suggests you may not be excited about the opportunity.

If you do think you might need more time, there's is a right way to ask.

Bryan Miles, CEO of virtual working platform company BELAY, says that when you ask for more time, you should be prepared to answer the question, "Why?"

First, express how excited you are to receive the offer. For example, you could say, "Thank you so much. I'm really excited about this opportunity."

Second, be open about the reasons why you are asking. Nelson says you can say something like, "I haven't had a chance to review this with my significant other and need another day or two to discuss it."

Even if you are waiting to hear back on another offer, Nelson says honesty is still the best choice.

"Any smart hiring manager or recruiter knows that 'I need more time' really means 'I'm interviewing elsewhere,'" he says. "Why not just lay it all out and be upfront with your situation?"

Here's a good way to frame your situation, he says:

"I appreciate your offer. As you know I've been in contact with a few other companies and am in late stages in those interview cycles. If it's OK with you, I'd like a few days to consider your offer and truly weigh my options. I'd be doing myself a disservice if I jumped at the first offer that came my way. And while I can see myself with your company for the long haul, I need to do my due diligence and make sure that this is the best fit."

As long as you're professional and convey your enthusiasm about receiving the offer, your request for more time should be granted.

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