Turning Down a Job Offer: Seven Questions
By Michelle Kruse
When you’re stuck in job, it can be tempting to escape with the first opportunity that’s offered to you. But if you’re not careful, you could very easily end up in the same situation you started in — or worse. It’s important to remain objective when considering a job offer and to just say “no” when the opportunity isn’t right.
Here are seven things to ask yourself before responding to a job offer:
Can you see yourself in this job a year from now, or is it a temporary escape? Take a step back and consider whether or not you can see yourself in this new position in the future. Will you be happy, and moving forward in your career? Or will you be in the same situation you are today, desperately looking for something different?
How will the job look on your resume? If you’re accepting a job that’s beneath your qualifications simply to get out of your current situation, it won’t look good on your resume. Unhappy or not, if you’ve spent years working toward your current position, it’s rarely worth it to take a step backward. Similarly, if you’re considering a job that’s in a completely different field, be sure that you’re ready to commit to continuing down that path in your career if you don’t want to be construed as inconsistent in the future.
Did you click with management and/or employees? Both interviewers and interviewees tend to be on their best behavior throughout the interview process, but you can still get a general idea of the type of people you’ll be working with while you’re in the hot seat. Did the hiring manager treat you with respect, or were they condescending? Did employees seem content, or overworked and stressed out? Definitely take these interactions into account when making your decision — you’ll be spending at least 40 hours a week with these people, and you should feel comfortable around them.
Are you happy with the salary or will you resent it? If you’re feeling particularly desperate in your current position, you may convince yourself that you’re comfortable with a pay cut and fewer benefits. But be completely honest: Is it worth it, or will you resent your reduced paycheck a few months down the road? At the same time, don’t allow yourself to be so dazzled by an offer so big that you overlook some serious issues. Money means nothing if you’re miserable for the better part of every day.
How will it impact your quality of life? Perhaps this new position will double your commute time, require constant travel, or require weekend work. Are you really OK with these general quality-of-life changes? No matter how much you love your job, free time is important, and if your new job cuts into that time, you may quickly grow to resent it.
Have you heard anything negative about the company? While online forums and gossip can be misleading, that doesn’t mean you should always ignore the buzz around a company. Take any information with a grain of salt, but if what you’ve heard has been overwhelmingly negative, it should give you pause.
What does your gut say? Of course, you should be pragmatic when making a decision as important as accepting a job, but you should also listen to your instincts. If there’s a gnawing voice inside of you telling you that something’s not right, you may just want to listen.
Michelle Kruse, recruitment editor at ResumeEdge, has more than 10 years experience in hiring and recruiting.
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