Relax, It’s OK to Turn Down a Job Offer for These Reasons

Receiving a job offer is exciting. You start to imagine your first day of work, all the contributions you’ll make, and the money you’ll earn. However, sometimes the job interview provides a needed dose of reality. You might learn after speaking to the hiring manager this isn’t the right job for you. If that’s the case, you’d be better off declining the job offer.

How do you know when to say no and when to give a new job a chance? We’ll give you a rundown of when it’s best to move on. Here are 10 good reasons to turn down a job offer.

1. It’s a dead end

"Walking Dead" characters look down a dead end

Don’t choose a job that will ultimately lead to a dead end. | AMC

During the end of the interview, it’s always in your best interest to ask questions. One question you should always ask is whether there are opportunities for growth at the company. If you discover you’ll likely be in the same position, at the same salary level, doing the exact same job 10 years from now (if you don’t get laid off or fired, that is), that’s your clue. It’s probably wise to turn down an offer from an employer who is not interested in helping you grow.

Next: Work-life balance? What’s that?

2. You would never see your family

stressed woman in the airport

Sometimes you have to choose between money and family. | iStock.com/kieferpix

Scoring a prestigious job that pays well is a good feeling. You can save more for retirement, finally purchase a home, and maybe take that vacation you’ve been putting off. However, a higher salary often comes with some personal trade-offs. You might have to be away from your family more often, work longer hours, and put up with more stress. Think about how your personal life would be affected when you consider a job offer.

Next: Your instincts can guide you in the right direction and keep you from making a horrible mistake.

3. You don’t feel good about the company

Stressed woman having headache

Don’t leave the job interview with a migraine. | iStock.com/SIphotography

You were thrilled when you were called in for an interview. However, after speaking with your potential boss, you started to get that sinking feeling. The workers look miserable, the interviewer seems to have the potential to be a real jerk, and the job seems like a headache. In a situation like this, it’s best to go with your gut. Your instincts can guide you in the right direction and keep you from making a horrible mistake.

Next: It’s not enough to simply love your job.

4. The job doesn’t pay enough

hand holding out coins

You should make enough to be able to at least meet basic expenses. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

It’s great if you love your job, but love isn’t enough to put food on the table. You deserve to be fairly compensated for your hard work. If you’re considering turning down a job offer because of a low starting salary, you’re not alone. Roughly 28% of respondents in a survey conducted by SmartRecruiters said they turned down a job offer because the salary offered was too low.

Next: You can’t go the distance.

5. The job is too far

man on the bus

Will you have a commute from hell? | iStock.com

When you were first considering the job, you thought you’d be able to deal with the commute. However, after going to the job interview, you realized the daily commute would be a beast. All you could think about during the interview was the long, sweaty commute you’d have to endure. In response to a reader question on Quora, executive recruiter Robb Callon said it’s best to request that your name be removed from the applicant pool if you discover early in the process the commute just doesn’t work.

Next: The job description fooled you.

6. The job is different from what was described

upset woman

Is this what you signed up for? | iStock.com/AntonioGuillem

As soon as you read the job description, you knew this was a job you’d love to have. Unfortunately, you showed up for the interview, and from what the interviewer described, this is not what you thought you were signing up for. Approximately 8% of respondents in a SmartRecruiters survey said discovering a job was different from described would be enough reason to reject a job offer.

Next: Sometimes the industry matters.

 7. You’re not comfortable with the industry

young woman sitting at home

Make sure you’re comfortable before accepting the offer. | iStock.com/m-imagephotography

A career change can be exciting. After working in the same industry for a couple of years, you might be itching to make a switch and try out a new career. However, you might decide one day the change isn’t the right move after all. If you realize after you receive a job offer the industry isn’t a good fit, it’s best to turn it down than to try to suffer through a job that’s clearly a mismatch.

Next: Think about the long game.

8. You would miss out on opportunities

bored worker

Don’t choose a job just because it’s open. | iStock.com/lisafx

It’s important to pay the bills, but it’s also important to seek employment that will put you in a position to build your network and grow professionally. Don’t fall into the trap of choosing any job because you’re tired of being unemployed and just want to get back to work. Unless you’re in dire financial straits, it’s best to accept a position that aligns with your career goals. So don’t accept a job at a retail store, for example, if your goal is to be a lawyer.

Next: It’s OK to go with the better offer.

9. You got a better offer

woman smiling

Do what’s best for you and your career. | iStock.com/Janet Rhodes

Approximately 47% of declined job offers were because the candidate accepted another job, according to a Recruiter Sentiment survey. If you receive an offer from another employer you like better, take it. Not many workers have the luxury of comparing job offers, so this is a great situation to be in. Don’t feel obligated to accept the first offer. Take the offer that works best for you and your career goals. Most employers will give you some time to think about an offer, so take advantage of the additional time.

Next: Time might not be on your side.   

10. The timing isn’t right

businessman looking at his watch

Does the time work for you? | iStock.com/minnebaevpro

Life can be full of surprises. You never know what will be waiting for you around the corner. Perhaps your partner’s company is relocating to another state, and you’ve decided it’s best for the entire family to move. Or maybe you’ve decided you would rather stay home with your kids for a few more months or years. Whatever the situation, sometimes accepting an offer during a time of major change in your personal life isn’t such a great idea. If you do take the job, it could impact your performance due to the stress, distraction, and time drains.

Follow Sheiresa on Twitter @SheiresaNgo.

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