It can be a difficult decision to make, to turn down a job offer, especially if you have been looking for some time. Remember though, that you spend a lot of your time at work, and it is really important that you find the right fit.
Taking the time to evaluate whether the job you have been offered is the right job is well worth it, for your sake (and your family) as well as for your potential employer.
In addition to the job content, evaluate both the salary and the benefits. Here’s a job benefits comparison worksheet you can use to help with your decision-making. After you have crunched the numbers, consider some of the other factors that aren’t as quantifiable. Those are as important as the compensation package. When considering both types of factors, sometimes it can make good sense to say no thank you.
Review these warning signs that should, at least, get you thinking about whether it makes sense to accept – or decline – a job offer.
13 Signs You Should Turn Down a Job Offer
Your gut says no. One of the best bosses I ever worked for told me to listen to my gut, and he was right. If you left the interview with a knot in your stomach and hoped you wouldn’t get an offer though the job offered a high salary and greater responsibility, it may be time to decline.
Nobody has anything good to say. At lunch, you had the opportunity to meet some potential colleagues who report to your prospective boss. When you asked them to describe her management style, they hesitated and struggled to convey any positives.
You’re not sure what you would be doing. The employer was unable to communicate a clear sense of what your job would entail. If more information would help you make a decision, it’s fine to ask for more details.
You’re looking for work-life balance. You are a parent and need to balance between work and family. It became apparent during the interview process that a key to a successful career in the organization would be working late many evenings.
You would have to get up and talk. The employer is looking for someone who excels at public speaking or requires some other skill that is not strength for you, and you are not interested in developing that skill area.
There’s too much turnover. Turnover in your prospective job is much higher than normal for the industry.
The career ladder isn’t clear. You are interested in career advancement, and a career ladder rising from your prospective job is not well defined.
There’s too much too learn too soon. Neither formal or informal mechanisms for training appear to be in place, and the job would involve a steep learning curve for you.
Your values don’t mesh with the company’s mission. Your personal values are at odds with the mission or practices of the organization. For example, you are a dedicated environmentalist and the organization has a reputation as a major polluter.
The company isn’t as successful as you would like. The company is losing market share in their industry, and success in your role would require a well-respected brand.
The salary isn’t enough. The salary offered is a step up for you but significantly below market for the job, and the prospect of gaining salary increases is not clear.
The base salary is too low. Compensation is heavily weighted with commissions and/or bonuses and the goals for achieving adequate compensation do not seem reasonable.
There isn’t enough room for personal and professional growth. The salary and benefits are great, but you wouldn’t be developing the knowledge and skills that would qualify you for the next step toward your ultimate job.
When and How to Turn Down a Job Offer
Even though this may not be the right job for you, the company may have other positions that are a better fit. You don’t want to burn any bridges, so take the time to decline politely if you have decided to turn down the job. Here are tips for how to decline a job offer with class:
Having Second Thoughts?
What if you’re already said yes? Here’s what to do if you have changed your mind, and want to decline a job offer after accepting it.