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5 Best Reasons to Turn Down a Job Offer

Turn down a job offer
Lionseye insights from AC Lion

Turn down a job offer


After the complex hiring process, accepting a job offer seems like the easy part. Nonetheless, it can still be a major decision that needs to be weighed carefully (even when it looks good on paper). If there are any doubts in the back of your mind, listen to them. Settling for a job that’s “just not right” could end up being a huge mistake, and derail or stall your career. Of course, no job is perfect, but if any of the below are ringing major alarm bells, do not ignore your gut.

Here are five good reasons to turn down a job offer.



1. No opportunity for growth.

You definitely don’t want to accept this new job just to feel stuck all over again. Sometimes, there are legitimate reasons to take a “filler job”, like if you’ve been unemployed for a while, or really need the money. It’s understandable, and everyone has been there before. No matter your circumstance, you must ensure you have at least something to gain; whether it be a potential role down the line with the company, new skills/responsibilities, or a relevant reference. Take stock of what skills you already have and what you want out of it. Try to get an understanding for what the position will look like in a few years. If you are not going to grow professionally, you will grow bored. When you aren’t motivated, it will show in your work, and your career is going to inevitably suffer.

2. Lack of vision.

The job itself may be a great fit, but what about the company’s overall mission? If you can’t get excited about where the company is headed, you may not want to go along with it. Dig a little bit and try to get a sense for whether or not the company actually stands by its core values. Speak with your future colleagues if you can and find out if they actually believe in the company’s leadership. They probably won’t come right out and tell you they don’t approve of management, but you may be able to pick up on some cues if you ask the right questions.

3. Bad timing.

It’s unfortunate, but some things do come down to the timing. When you are waiting to hear back from a dream job and another offer has a ticking clock, a tough decision must be made. If a company wants you badly enough, they will give you ample time to make your decision. If the company is impatient or pressures you to give an answer, then you may want to take this as a sign that it’s not the right fit (especially if you have more than one offer). Sometimes this can be a blessing in disguise, and just the way the chips fall. Roll the dice and keep on playing.

4. Red flags.

Know how to spot them. These warning signs could be as simple as unprofessional, untimely, or nonexistent communication during the hiring process, lackluster interview questions, or too many buzzwords and not enough substance – but they can foreshadow future dissatisfaction at your potential new employer. How things go during the hiring process is a pretty good sign of things to come once you are actually an employee. If your prospective manager was inefficient this time around, most likely they will operate in the same manner day to day.

5. Not on the same page.

Before considering a job offer, try to nail down the specifics of the role. What does a typical day look like? What will you be doing? If the employer is unable to communicate a clear sense of your job role and what it entails, you might want to think twice. If more information would help you make a decision, it’s fine to probe them for more details. If you notice pushback, they may be hiding something or selling you on a position where expectations will not match reality.

Of course, there are other aspects that you need to make sure you’re aligned on as well, including the big one: money. If they try to offer you a salary far less than you are comfortable with (and not willing to budge after you’ve attempted to negotiate), then walk away. Especially if you have done the necessary market research and can command significantly higher than what is being offered. Even if money is tight, never accept a position that tries to undercompensate you. You are worth it, so act like it!

In conclusion, be sure to decline the job offer in a professional manner of course. Your reputation must always be upheld, even if you are not going to work there. The people you met may remember you, and you could cross paths sooner than you think (especially if you work in a tight-knit industry).

Have you ever turned down a job offer? What were your reasons? How did you do it? Share your experience in the comments!

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