This weekly half page can be used as the cover of your classifieds section or as a sponsored page in your Business section. This page has a half-page space across the bottom for advertising.

You’re in the process of interviewing for jobs at several different places. You haven’t received an offer from your top choice, but you get one from another company. Should you jeopardize your chances of a sure thing for the uncertain possibility of working at your dream job?

The answer depends on many different factors, including how desperate you are for a job and your chances of receiving an offer from the other company. If you handle the situation with finesse, you might be able to stall without damaging your reputation or the offer.

Show your gratitude

Make it clear that you’re appreciative of the job offer. If it seems you’re balking or lukewarm, the company may start to reconsider and feel less charitable about giving you extra time. Say something like, “I’m very excited about the offer, but need a little time in order to make an informed decision.” Ask for a specific amount of time, but always be cognizant of the hirer’s time constraints.

Figure out what’s missing

If this were your dream job, you’d have probably said “yes” right away. But because you’re hesitating, there’s something about the job that’s missing. Try to identify those missing elements and determine whether they’re non-negotiable. Is it possible to add them to the current offer? Are they even realistic?

Are there unanswered questions that could help you decide? Think about all of the components that make up the job offer: salary, hours, job responsibilities, potential for career advancement, benefits. Don’t forget the quality of life questions such as flexibility, workplace culture and commute times. Getting clarification on the details will not only make it easier to decide, it can also buy you some time.

Be honest

The employer might ask your reasons for needing extra time. Often it’s because you’re meeting with other companies. This is a completely legitimate excuse. There’s nothing that says you need to only consider one company at a time. But how you handle the request can greatly influence the outcome.

The trick is to not make the employer feel as if it’s your fallback choice (even if it is). Instead, frame it as if you’re in the midst of a process that you need to see through. Sort of like college admissions, you want to carefully examine and compare all your offers before making a decision.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that a company will give you all the time you need. Your responsibility is to try and expedite things by scheduling interviews as close together as possible and understanding the pros and cons of each company before you get an offer. If you’re gracious and diplomatic, it might work in your favor by making you seem like a more desirable candidate.

Be proactive

Sometimes you can use multiple offers to your advantage, especially when a little gentle, diplomatic pressure is required. If you really want to work for Company A, but Company B has already made an offer, tell your top choice that Company B needs an answer from you, but you’d much prefer to work for Company A and is there anything you can do to help speed up the process? If Company A says no, it’s possible you weren’t a legitimate contender to begin with.

Don’t lead anyone on

Always be respectful of a company’s time and consideration. Don’t leave them on the hook if you really can’t picture yourself working there. Unless you’re in dire straits financially, your reason for accepting an offer should not be “because nothing else better came along.” When you do decide, always tell the hiring manager verbally as well as in written form. Treat him or her with the same courtesy that you’d hope to receive.