When to turn down a job offer

Even for the most experienced among us, job hunting isn’t always easy. It can take months, sometimes years of applying and interviewing before being offered a job. This tiresome process is sometimes all it takes for job seekers to throw their hands in the air and accept any position, without considering whether the role meets their needs and desires for their future career.

While your next position may not tick all of the boxes (what is perfect after all?), it’s important to confront some essential questions when deciding to accept a job offer. You may find that after weighing up all of the factors, declining could be the wiser choice.

  1. Does the role offer career progression? Career progression means something different to everyone. You may want to become a manager, work in a different field, join a particular company or head up a major project. There are so many ways to develop your career and build on your professional experience, so make sure your next role facilitates these goals, or has the potential to do so in the future. If you haven’t already addressed these points during the interview process, don’t be afraid to discuss the unknowns with your potential employer over the phone before leaping into a decision.
     
  2. Will the role provide improved working conditions? It’s natural that as we progress through our careers and lives our needs change. You may find yourself requiring more flexible working hours, mentorship from your manager or more supportive colleagues; or it could be as simple as wanting to live closer to your workplace for a shorter commute. Whatever your needs, don’t underestimate the positive impact improved working conditions can have on your day-to-day sense of wellbeing.
     
  3. Will the role challenge you? We spend a lot of our time at work so it’s important our days are filled with tasks that give us a strong sense of purpose and make us feel stimulated and busy. Consider only accepting a job you know will challenge your abilities and that requires the responsibility you’re capable of. You’ll be more likely to experience greater job satisfaction and longevity in the role.

Ultimately, if you see a job offer as an exit plan or feel in your heart of hearts that it’s a quick fix, you’re probably better off sticking out your current role or situation until the right one comes your way. A new job should address all – or most – of the reasons you decided to find a new job in the first place.

Ultimately, if you see a job offer as an exit plan or feel in your heart of hearts that it’s a quick fix, you're probably better off sticking out your current role or situation until the right one comes your way.