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How to Trust Your Gut Instinct to Turn Down a Job Offer

by Ellie Williams, studioD

It can be difficult to turn down a job offer, especially if you’ve been searching for several months or if you’re desperate to leave your current position. However, your personal fulfillment and career success rely on finding something that meets all of your needs. While you can’t predict with certainty that you’ll be happy at a job, you can make wiser decisions by trusting your instincts.

Identify Your Ideal Job

Make a list of what’s important to you in a position. Consider salary, duties, hours, advancement opportunities and corporate culture. Decide which qualities the job must have and which you’d simply like. Also, determine your “dealbreakers.” If there are certain things you don’t want in a job, don’t settle just because the offer sounds good otherwise. If you know what you want and need before you receive an offer, it will be easier to evaluate the pros and cons of the position. You’re also less likely to accept a job out of fear or desperation.

Consider Your Situation

While the job itself might be ideal, other details might not be a good fit with your personal situation. For example, the job might require a one-hour commute to and from work. Or, you might have to travel frequently and spend time away from your family. Consider every aspect of the job when deciding whether to accept it. Unless you’re desperate for a paycheck or can’t find another foot in the door, hold out for a position that offers sufficient salary and benefits and a work-life balance.

Assess the Workplace

The job itself isn’t the only thing that matters. Ideally, you should have rapport with your prospective supervisor and feel comfortable in the corporate culture. Pay attention to how the employer treats you throughout the interview process. Ask yourself whether he is forthcoming about how he’ll evaluate candidates and how long the process will take, or whether he waits weeks to follow up with you and then expects you to come in at a moment’s notice. When you arrive for the interview, notice the overall attitude. Note whether the employees seem happy to be there and whether there is a general sense of camaraderie, or whether the people you interact with are blunt or rude.

Your Career Goals

Ask yourself if the job meets both your short-term and long-term needs. A position may offer an attractive salary or a prestigious title, but the company might offer only limited opportunities for advancement. Or, the job might restrict you to a narrow area and not allow you to explore other interests and talents. If the job can’t grow with you, you might end up stuck in a dead-end position. In addition, you might not develop the skills you need to qualify for more advanced positions, making it difficult to persuade other employers of your skills and qualifications.

About the Author

Ellie Williams has been a journalist since 2001. Her work has been recognized by her state's press association and by her local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Williams graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications and humanities, with minors in French and theater.

Photo Credits

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