Job Offer – When to decline and say “No Thanks”

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Job Offer – When to decline and say “No Thanks”

Why in the world would you say no to a job offer?  Especially after a long drawn out search?  Especially after coming in second too many times?  The whole objective of painfully navigating online application systems and having more coffee meetings than you can stomach is to get a job offer – right?

Absolutely however it is rare that I see clients excited when they open up the offer.  Typically there is more of a sense of mild disappointment.  More often than not the offer doesn’t seem to meet all their expectations.  Typically people will flip into negotiation mode –but when should you say no to an offer?

1.     It is a good job but not the right job.  Getting ANY job is rarely a job seekers intention.  The goal is finding the right job.  Determining what is the right job is done by doing some pre-work to sketch out what a prototypical job looks like.  Knowing your deal breakers and not compromising on them.  This is based on skills, values, culture, boss, comp, benefits etc.  In a non-emotive moment do this pre-work of needs, wants, and deal breakers. This then will act as a grounding point when an offer comes across the table.

If the fist job comes across the table matches your ideal– take it.  Don’t second guess.

Another reason to say No is..

2.    The compensation offered may reset you in the marketplace at a different price point.  This may be ok if you are shifting into a lesser role or into a different industry however if you ever find yourself in transition again this lower compensation may then define you.  Prospective employers or recruiters may ask what your last salary was in your last job but typically not ask what it was 2 jobs ago.

Another reason to say No is..

3.    Not excited – you just are not excited about the job.  If you are not excited to jump in and start it is a red flag that it isn’t the right job.  If you are keeping other options open it may not be the right job for you.  If you are reluctant to share the good news – it may not be the right job for you.  Listen to your gut.

4.     The new employer will not negotiate.  Sometimes if the new employer refuses to negotiate you have to ask yourself  – will I feel undervalued day 1?…not a good way to start a new job.


5.    If the interview and offer process were handled poorly by the employer, was fumbled or they just couldn’t get their act together –  you have to ask yourself is “this an indication of how org makes decisions?”

Saying no isn’t easy.  It requires faith in the fact better exists.  If you indeed say “no” it has to be with no regrets and no looking back.


About the Author:

Cultivating Careers was founded by Karen Kodzik, a Career Consultant who has worked with individuals in transition for over 13 years. Karen meets professionals at various points on their career path and works with them to gain a clearer sense of where they want to take their careers. Karen Kodzik holds a Masters Degree in Counseling with an emphasis in Career Development. Karen couples seasoned counseling skills with a solid business acumen. She has coached and consulted various levels of professionals across industries to successfully reaching that next point in their career.

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