5 Reasons Why You Should Reject a Job Offer

30/09/2013 21:17

Sometimes you may end up in front of tough decisions. Imagine you got a job offer from a Fortune 500 company including great benefits and salary, great learning and growing opportunities and fantastic working conditions. A promising career path is just in front of you. However, there is something that simply feels wrong. Whether it is something particular you have seen or experienced during the recruitment process or it is your guts telling you to reject the offer, you should listen to this inner feeling and carefully consider all your options.


I know it ain’t easy when you are freshly graduated and looking for your first placement to gain some experience. But I would say that especially for those of you who are at the beginning of their career path, this is an essential decision to make. Let us imagine this scenario: You accept the offer, although you know it is not the best for you and later it indeed turns out to be a total disaster. Now, what kind of impact this will have on you? You are just at the beginning of your career and this is your very first experience with a real full time work. You’ll be probably very frustrated and your motivation will reach the bottom level. Maybe you will think that any work experience will be like this and you simply have to suck it up.


You don’t have to suck it up! You have the choice! Here is the list of 5 things you may focus on when making such decisions:

  1. The Recruitment Process

Recruitment process tells you a lot about the organization you are applying to. Most of bigger organizations have carefully set up strategy for their employee hiring. Generally, the more complex the process is, the more the employer cares about who they invite in. They don’t wanna hire somebody who will not be able to follow the company culture or who would destroy the well-established team. But there can be exceptions. Small employers may not have a complex strategy in place, but they will still care about people they are hiring. I would be very cautious if the recruitment process was chaotic, too vague or too easy to go through. In short, if you feel like the employer did not access your personality or skills or they did not even bother to ‘sell you’ the role and the company, you should probably think of rejecting the opportunity. A typical example is when they give you an offer after only a phone interview without doing any reference checks. This means they don’t really care about the people who work for them; it is just a job. Whether you fit or not in the team, it is only your fight. Honestly, can you take such a risk? Can you afford working with an uncertain team and in an uncertain environment you have never been to? Make this clear for yourself.

  1. The Working Environment

Look around when you come for an on-site interview. The environment can tell you a lot about the internal relationships and the people who work there (your future colleagues). Do they treat each other with respect? Is there a casual atmosphere or are people just tensed and yelling at each other? Is environment clear or full of dirt and disorganized folders left out everywhere? If you are ‘I mind own business’ type of person, maybe you are not so sensitive about all above. But a people person or a team player is definitely not gonna be happy in a tensed environment. An organized person is not gonna be happy in a chaotic office space. So don’t just come for an interview and always look around when being on site.

  1. The Line Manager

Some time ago, I have read this wise advice: Don’t choose jobs, choose line managers. This links to no. 1. If you did not have the opportunity to meet your future line manager in person during the recruitment process, you may be taking a high risk by accepting the offer. You can do the job, you can have perfect skills, but if you two don’t get along, no skills or professional knowledge and experience will save the relationship of two people who just don’t get each other. Access your management style first to understand which style suits the best to your expectations. And then simply check it with your future line manager during the interview by asking them specific questions accessing the manners during their daily work.

  1. The Company Culture or Current Politics

This is a difficult one. You can access a lot about the company culture by browsing their web page, talking to insiders or asking specific questions on the interview. It is however much harder to access the current politics in the company. A typical example is when the company is in some kind of transition/restructure/reorganization blah blah period. You name it. This can be perceived as very tricky, but also it can be a challenging opportunity. Remember that when you enter the company at that point, you never know what is gonna happen. It can be exciting because you just jump into the ongoing train and many changes can mean many new projects = new challenges, new opportunities to grow and even very fast promotions. But since absolutely everything is uncertain, you may end up in the middle of chaos and in the worst case scenario they may also discontinue your role. Remember that recruiters will always aim to present this as an exciting environment of change. But if you talked to an ex-employee, they would probably give you a totally different view point, wouldn’t they?

  1. The Conditions of Your Contract

Typically you get a contract which includes some probation period. These are usually 3 months during which you and your employer are testing your job fit. Depending on legislation in your country within that time not only you but also the employer can decide to discontinue the contract without providing any reason. Also, you may be offered a temporary contract first (e.g. for 1 year) with a promise that this will be turned into a permanent one later. This is a typical practice in many countries nowadays and basically it gives employers the space to somehow prolong the probation period. If you do not really suck at your job, they will most likely prolong it and make it permanent (unlimited with no end date).  But honestly – you never know, especially if the organization is in a transition stage. Therefore, be careful what you accept and be sure the conditions are comfortable for you.


So this is it. There is a lot you have to consider and a lot you have to make clear for yourself before actually entering any recruitment process. I know – you wanna learn and they tell you to humble, but it is ok to set up own standards. Try to think about it this way: The question is not only ‘can they afford working with you,’ but the question is also ‘can you afford working with them.’ You don’t have to be rejecting every single opportunity which ain’t your dream job. For 99% of us there is a certain path to our dream job. You have to do first A in order to get to B which will lead to C – the dream job! I guarantee you that you will have to accept jobs at the beginning of your career which you will like only partly. As long as they provide you with the necessary learning, they are beneficial for you. But you don’t have to accept jobs which suck, work with a bunch of people you don’t like and in an environment which is awful and disrespectful.


Be proud of yourself and go for it!





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