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Can You Afford to Say No to a Job Offer?

June 12, 2014

After an exhausting job search, a hiring manager calls with great news: they’re offering you a job.  However, you can’t seem to get very excited about it. It’s a job, but not your dream job. Do you take the opportunity or walk away from it in hopes that something better will come along?

Determining whether to accept a job offer is a difficult decision, especially if you’re unemployed in a bad economy or eager to get out of your current job. Accepting any offer can be tempting, but it’s important to evaluate the decision carefully.

Consider this when determining whether to take the job or keep looking for a new one.

Decide whether the job will benefit your career.
Even though the job may not be your dream job, is there a potential for growth that could help you climb the ladder to reach your long-term career goals? Will the job allow you to exercise your current skill set or teach you new skills?  If you aren’t going to be learning anything new and your current knowledge is going to go to waste, it may be best to wait for another opportunity.  However, if this position will allow you to acquire new skills that can boost your chances of getting a better job later on, then it’s a good idea to accept the position.

Do more in-depth research.
You’ve done research on the company during the interview process, but it’s even more important to do more research after you’ve received an offer.  You need to find out all you can about the potential employer: the culture, reviews of the organization, your future coworkers. Find employees at the company on LinkedIn and then check their social media feeds.  Do they complain about their job online?  Or do they rave about the company they work for? You want to find as much information as you can to make sure the organization is right for you.

Be realistic about your other prospects.
In a perfect world you’d get multiple job offers at once and be able to decide which one you like best.  Unfortunately, it usually doesn’t work out that way.  You received the first offer but have an interview for your dream job next week.  You can’t compare the job at hand to fantastic, theoretical options.  You have to be realistic about what other jobs might come down the line.  Look at the other applications you’ve put in and honestly assess which ones you are likely to get an offer from.  Make a list of things you really want in a job and then see how many of those things this offer matches up to.  Let go of the idea that there’s a perfect job you’re still waiting on.

What if you really need the job?
When you’re out of work and in a competitive job market, it’s natural to want to accept any offer that comes your way.  It’s easy to overvalue an offer when you’re in that situation.  However, instead of talking yourself into a job that may not be the best fit just because you have bills to pay, explore other alternatives like accepting the job for a short-term period of six to nine months.  You’ll of course need to consider the investment that the employer is making in you and how disruptive it may be.  A more ideal situation may be taking a temporary or contract job for this period of time.

If you do decide to walk away from the offer, make sure to do so in a professional way, so that the company doesn’t think you played them.  Let the hiring manager know as soon as possible that you’ve decided not to accept the offer, so that they can move on and focus on other candidates. A lot of time and effort goes into generating an offer, and you need to show the organization that you respect that.

If you’re currently looking for a professional position in the Cleveland area, let the experienced team at Area Professionals help you land your next position.  Contact us today and we’ll work closely with you to find a job that best suits your skills and career goals.

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