Should You Decline a Job Offer?


The scariest thing about unemployment? You might think it’s the prospect of staying out of work for a long time (we’ve all heard the horror stories). But nothing will make you lose sleep more than getting a job offer you don’t really want.

Think about it. You’ve spent months tirelessly sending out resumes, wearing out your networking skills and nervously pushing through inane and repetitive interview questions. Now, it’s finally happened. You received an offer. There’s a problem, though. You’re not sure you want it.

There’s a lot of incentive to take any job you can. Even if everyone in your life is supportive of your job search, you still put the pressure on yourself to get productive (at least in the traditional way) and get back to work.

But not every opportunity is worth it. Taking a job you don’t really want could create a huge opportunity cost and delay, sometimes for years, the kind of career progress you want to make.

With that in mind, here are five reasons to consider turning down a job offer:

  1. Pay Isn’t Enough

The obvious stumbling block to some offers is that the pay just isn’t good enough. When you’re unemployed, any amount might seem better than zero. But taking a job well below your expected salary could wind up delaying your ability to land a more appropriate opportunity, and leave you struggling financially in the meantime.

  1. Culture Clash

Even if the basic outline of the position fits your needs – pay, benefits, schedule, etc. – a severe culture mismatch could still become a deal breaker. If your style and the company’s style are out of whack, you’re liable to just frustrate each other, create bad feelings and eventually turn a one-time opportunity into a short-term engagement.

  1. Wrong Step for Your Career Path

You’re out of work and want to get something, anything. But you still have to keep the big picture in mind. You don’t want to take something you’ll regret five years down the road just for a quick paycheck now. Make sure the opportunity fits your long-term plan.

  1. Wrong Kind of Work

Sometimes in the rush of applications, you might put in for things well outside your comfort zone. If one of these miraculously works out, take a moment before saying “yes.” Off-the-beaten-path assignments can be interesting and lead to jobs skills you might have missed out on otherwise. Or they can become a dead end. Make sure you have a good idea of which one you’re looking at before taking the plunge.

  1. Long Commute

It may seem petty, but all that travel time can add up. We all know of people with the multi-hour commute each day, leading to lost family time and missed post-work recharging. The trips can be worth it for the right position, but if you’re not sold on the opportunity, this can become the deciding factor.

In all these situations, having a partner can help ease the decision-making process. If you have a recruiter you’re working with, keep them informed about your deal-breakers for a job offer. You don’t want to waste your time or theirs.

And if you don’t have a recruiter, it might be a good way to avoid unwanted career cul-de-sacs to start with. Professional services, like those provided by industry-leader DHR, can direct you to perfect opportunities, without having to worry about the hemming and hawing of unwanted offers. Contact them today for more information.

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