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When should you reject a job offer?

Updated: Aug 24, 2021

Sometimes your best course of action is to turn down a job offer even if you're desperately seeking employment.⁣

Recruiter handing out the job offer to the candidate.

We don't think of rejecting a job offer unless we have multiple job offers lined up. Desperate to earn some money we take up whatever job that comes our way. This is, however, a wrong approach. Sometimes it is necessary to reject that job offer and look for greener pastures. Turning down a job offer ultimately comes down to an unavoidable fact - taking a job you’re unhappy with can end badly, and it’s hard to look for another job once you’ve started a new one. However, in a difficult financial situation, it may make sense to accept a position you don't want. Here are a few reasons why you should reject a job offer -

  • Lack of growth - The opportunity to grow and advance is important for every career. No growth opportunities in terms of roles, knowledge, projects, or responsibilities will lead you to not performing at your best or you’ll end up getting bored too quickly.

  • Less money & benefits - Money is a primary motivator for any job. If the salary and benefits offered do not support you or your family and are below the market levels for the job, it may be advisable to look for greener pastures.

  • Lack of respect - Respect isn’t shown if your interviews keep getting rescheduled or when they miss your scheduled appointments, change the job offer without a reason, etc. Respect goes both ways and employers should not think that they are doing you a favor by giving you a job.

Candidate discussing the job offer with the employer.
  • You are a mismatch - If you are not the right fit for the company culture, you don’t believe in the company, its products or services or your personal values differ from those of the company, you need to reject the job offer. Being the right fit is important as it will motivate you and help you be at your productive best.

  • Bad reputation - Do your research about the company. It is unwise to move to a firm that is not well-liked, respected, or looked at favorably by the public and industry insiders. Read reviews about the company on platforms like Glassdoor. Reach out to past and present employees at the company to learn more about the company culture.

  • High turnover - High turnover rate always suggests bad company culture, poor leadership, or a hire & fire cycle. Employees don't simply quit a company or the jobs that they love.

  • Unhealthy work-life balance - Work-life balance is a crucial aspect of any job. Unreasonable workloads with long working hours or no overtime pay may not be what you are looking for and it may disturb your time with your family.

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