Answered by Traci, Hiring Expert at Accenture, on Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Congratulations on your offer! This is very typical of an offer to join full time post-internship and the time frame is very much there for a reason, but often negotiable. Most times a company will put an expiration date on your offer because they need to know within a reasonable amount of time, and with enough time to prepare, if they’ll have fill that position should you choose not to accept. Especially if you’re coming into an entry level position from a college campus, many recruiters are working on a limited recruitment timeline at their schools. I will tell you, we get it. We know that you may want to “shop around” for other positions, a different fit, more money, etc., and to help balance our needs with yours, we need to have a date in mind. As I had mentioned above though, its oftentimes negotiable, and you should choose that route and exhaust your options before accepting with the intention of declining once something better comes along. In the interest of answering your question, I will tell you that yes, you can accept and then later decline your offer, but you won’t be making any friends. Also, before doing so, be sure to read your employment contract first in the case that they have written any rules about this is before you sign.