You read the title correctly – this is advice on how to reject a job offer. Seems crazy, right? Wrong – even though the job market is hard to crack, it doesn’t mean you need to accept the first offer that drops into your inbox.
Remember that when you attend an interview or trial shift, you are interviewing your potential employer, too. Happy employment is a two-way street – and just because you are capable of the role, it doesn’t always mean it’s the right position for you. So, let’s discuss this and discover why you may want to turn down a job offer when something isn’t a perfect fit.
Let’s start somewhere simple. You visited the company and it just wasn’t what you expected. Andy Teach, an author, says that turning down a job “can usually be boiled down to three key areas: the money, the work itself, or the people at the company.” Only you can judge what is right for you – and a job that looks perfect on paper might not translate into reality.
It’s always best to visit the company before taking up a role – either with a face-to-face interview, or a trial shift. Jobs aren’t something to take lightly – and you should never accept an offer before visiting the company first. If you have some categorical red-flags on your checklist, you can quickly judge if a place is right for you during your interview – and if it isn’t, there is absolutely no problem in choosing to not take your application further.
Jobs consume so much of our lives, so the commute is an integral part to consider. Use the face-to-face meeting as a trial-run for your commute. If you can, try to travel at the time you would if you got the position to get a feel for the rush-hour traffic, and see how it affects your journey.
Do you want to be spending hours in a car every day? If it’s something that bothers you, it’s worth tightening your location radius to hone in on closer jobs. Although it’s normal to expect a commute to a job, if it’s something that will eat into too much of your free time, you need to think about it. In job hunting, it’s not about jumping at the first offer – you need to properly weigh up options, and figure out what will benefit you.
When you meet someone for the first time, you get a feel for them – and the same goes for an office. If the workforce seems demotivated or unenthusiastic, take note. If you are there for a trial shift and someone mentions their dissatisfaction with the company, take note. These are all vital clues to show you how you may feel a few weeks or months down the line in your new role. If people don’t seem happy, ask yourself why – and then ask yourself if you want to feel that way, too.
How many employees does this company have? Will you be working as part of a team, or tucked away in a room on your own? Not only are these the sort of questions to ask in the interview, but something to observe when you visit the company. Being happy in a team setting is important – make sure you know who you will be working with, and if something doesn’t align with your needs, you are within your rights to decline the offer.
Sometimes there are no other answers – the job just isn’t for you. It could be a combination of reasons: the pay, location, company ethics – that add up to a feeling of dissatisfaction. If you’re feeling like this after one trial day, or one interview, take note. It’s a red flag and proves that the place may not be right for you.
There is no shame in declining a job offer. Think about the position you are putting the employer in, too – if you are unhappy in your role, it will show in your work and your enthusiasm. Don’t waste their time by employing you when you’re not certain – and likewise, don’t waste your own time on a position that isn’t right for you. Job hunting is as much about you as it is the employer – you can say no, and if something doesn’t feel right, you don’t have to accept the first offer you’re given.
Lucy Farrington-Smith writes graduate careers advice for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency specialising in matching career starters with graduate jobs. For everything from marketing internships to graduate jobs Manchester, click here.
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