Listen to your gut: It’s OK to say "no" when you are offered a job!

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Looking for a job is emotional. That’s a fact. The range of emotions can run anywhere from elation to desperation. A new graduate may be excited to be starting their professional life, perhaps moving out of their childhood home. Those in the middle of their careers may be eager to move up the corporate ladder or even break into a completely new line of work altogether. Sadly, downsizing of companies or the loss of a steady, prized position bring on a different set of emotions.

With the rapid flow of all of these emotions coursing through your veins, it is important to connect with your logical side and allow it to do some of the heavy lifting during the job hunt as well as the interview process. Only you know the facts of your lifestyle, finances, and career goals. These facts must be considered along with the emotions that you may feel.

It may take weeks or even longer to get that precious job interview, so a part of you may think, “Great, I’ll take this one!” After all, your bills continue to arrive right on time whether you are working or not and naturally this places an inordinate amount of pressure on anyone. Who knows when the next interview opportunity will come along? It harkens back to the old saying, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” Right? Not necessarily.

By all means, go on any offered job interview. It’s good practice and the experience will help with any future interviews. Interviewing sharpens your job experience story-telling skills and assists with those dreaded, behavioral-based questions.

To your delight, an invitation to that long-awaited interview arrives with a company that seems like a real fit for your unique skills and talents. You’ve researched the organization and its culture and you’ve developed the proper questions to ask so that you will be fully informed.

Confident, you complete the interview, fully answering all of the hiring manager’s questions. Let’s be honest, you really rocked the interview! Your answers to all of the hiring manager’s questions were spot on, just as you had practiced and you were able to ask all of the questions you deemed important. The hiring manager’s body language was open, positive, and he/she was smiling. It’s all thumbs up!

The hiring manager compliments you on your experiences and skills saying he feels you are very qualified for the position and would really mesh well with the culture of the organization. In fact, he/she takes an additional step, and begins to tell you details surrounding the daily routine involved with the position and how you would function in the new role.  He/she says he will be in touch in a day or two and is eager to begin working with you. Wow, is that a hint?!

As you listen to his explanations, your inner voice begins to slowly say, “WHOA! What did he just say? No way! Do I want to do this?” Doubt creeps into your mind and you leave feeling confused. After all, the job sounded so great just a few seconds ago. You even asked the hiring manager to clarify some of his/her previous statements just so you are perfectly clear on what was said.

At home, you replay the entire interview over in your head recalling everything that was said. Your brain argues each side of the argument, “I really need this job.” “What if another job doesn’t come along?” “This job fits my skills and looks so good on paper.” “Will I be happy?”

It is important to take these doubts seriously. Your gut is speaking to you, so go through the pros and cons thoroughly. A good fit is important for both parties, but remember this is really about you. Does this position really work for you and your needs at this time in your life?

It takes a lot of courage to pass up an offered job. An awkward situation for sure, considering that you wanted and asked for the job and now don’t want it. It is imperative to identify what is best for you and your career. Consider the impact the job will have on your future career goals. If you take a job just because it’s the only job offered, you will be looking for another job sooner rather than later. Consider all of the possibilities before making a final decision.  

To clarify, I am fully aware that there are certain critical times where an offered job - any job - must be taken in order to keep a roof over your head and food on the table. This blog is not written for that instance. This is written for the person who has the luxury of taking time to find the right job.

Having a job offered to you is an exciting prospect. Sometimes your answer to an offer is “no.” Having a bird in the hand may not always be worth the two in the bush!

I offer a free ½ hour introductory job interview coaching session. Contact me today to prepare for your tomorrow!

Thomas brown