3 major tells you should turn down a job offer

Signs you should turn down a job offer

Being in a position to turn down a job offer may seem alien but you shouldn’t just take any job. Here’s 3 major reasons you should reject a job offer.

Many candidates and employers forget that an interview is a two-way street. The candidate is so focused on doing all the right things that she fails to factor in that she could turn the job down if they wanted to. Employers can be arrogant and might be so used to being on the right side of the supply and demand curve that they fail to maintain a sharp employer brand. Even though the job might sound perfect on paper, there are always tells that let you know the job is not the right fit for you. In this instance it is perfectly acceptable to turn down a job offer.

We all have notions about our dream employer. It may be a well-known international brand, a high-profile start-up or a prestigeous local SME. But you have to take care that you don’t let your pipe dreams cloud your judgement. These organizations might be right for others but not the right fit for you.

turn down a job offer

Here are 3 major reasons to turn down a job offer

1. The process isn’t smooth

Be mindful of the type of communication within the recruitment process. Pay attention to the detail of the profile and the way that the hiring and HR process your application, interview and any offer. There are quite frequently glitches in international companies when dealing across complex reporting relationships and business functions. But quite often issues at this stage is a foreshadowing of what might be lying ahead. It could be indecision, poor communication channels, ineffective systems or weak leadership.  Consider all the factors objectively. In this case you would be completely right to turn down a job offer.

Read: More than one job offer – tips to make the right choice

2. You don’t gel with the boss

If something doesn’t jive with your prospective new boss at the interview stage then you can be sure that 6 months into the job there is a strong chance of deterioration. If she doesn’t make time for you now or answer your questions in full at this point, it’s unlikely to get better and you will back on the job market sooner than you intended. Don’t forget she should be selling herself as much as you are and should care very much that there is a risk might turn down the job offer. That means nurturing you as a strong candidate until the very end of the process. It doesn’t mean wining and dining you – although that is always great. It will just be about basic courtesies and interaction. Be careful to check for any biases that you might have and if in doubt make discreet enquiries in your network.

Read: How to assess cultural fit in a new job

3. Not in line with your values

In the job search process you will have downloaded the 3Plus Career Reflections Work Sheets (HERE)and you understand well your goals, values and vision. On paper it seems that the company is a great match, but always make sure to double-check with very specific questions. How do the people in the company interact with each other? How do they respond to your questions about career development, training or work life balance. The boss who quips he has a better relationship with his smart phone than his wife, is sending a major message your way.

Read: Should you quit your job? 10 reasons to consider.

Not only are you convincing the hiring manager that you will be an asset to the company, but they should be convincing you that they are the best career choice for you. It is better to withdraw your candidacy than ignore the major tells that this particular job is not the right  fit for you and it may be better to turn down a job offer when you think long-term.  If you make a decision anyway to accept the role for other strategic reasons (stepping stone to another function, sector or even geography for example, you might be a returner or career changer) then you need to sit down and create a detailed career plan around that idea factoring in potential downsides.

Download our career reflection worksheets

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