8 Warning Signs You Should Say No to a Job Offer

Thinking of changing jobs? Many people are prone to accepting the first job offer that comes their way during their job search. Unfortunately, that doesn't always end so well for the employee. Here are 8 parameters to thoroughly consider before jumping ship.

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Signs You Should Say No to a Job Offer

Just over a year ago, when I was at the fag end of my MBA Course, my peers and I were facing a problem of securing employment upon graduation. Our Campus Placement team had proven to be more incompetent than we thought and naturally, we were all worried we were about to be jobless graduates. 

In this state of fear and anxiety, I applied for a job that I had no real interest in. Somehow I managed to lie convincingly enough to impress the CEO of the organization & walk out of the interview with a job offer. When I received the official letter of joining two days later, I signed it without giving it any further thought. 


While I had alleviated my unemployment fears temporarily, I had committed a rookie mistake. I said YES to a job that I should have declined. By choosing to ignore these warning signs, I ended up quitting my job a mere one month later. Looking back, there were 8 parameters that I should considered before making my decision:

1.  Unprofessional behaviour from their end

At 9 a.m., I was well on my way to the 9:30 a.m. interview at their offices when I got a call from a fellow interviewee. She asked me if I had checked the e-mail that had been sent out by our potential employer. The e-mail stated that the interview had been rescheduled for the next day. 

I found their behaviour quite unprofessional. There were a total of 4 interviewees. They just needed to spend 5 minutes of their time calling us up to inform us of this last-minute change. In hindsight, this unprofessional behaviour exhibited by their team in the beginning was a reflection of the entire team's attitude and work ethic. 

As a job-seeker, if you find that you are constantly experiencing unprofessional , rude or unresponsive behaviour from your potential employer, you can assume to expect the same from them once you join. 

2. Mismatch between Expected vs. Actual Responsibilities

When I received the job description for this Marketing Executive role prior to the interview, I assumed that it would be accurate. Thankfully I asked the right questions at the interview and came to realize that the role required me to juggle the responsibilities of a Sales Person, Digital Marketer, Content Writer and Recruiter for the organization.

During the interview, make sure you ask questions such as "What does the average day in the life of a XYZ in your firm look like?" to get a clearer understanding of the real responsibilities of your job. Alternatively, try to get an informational interview before / after your job interview with someone in the organization in a similar role to the one you're applying to.

3. Misalignment with your Long Term Goals

As someone who's always wanted to make a name in the HR field,  I know this Marketing Executive position was a step in the wrong direction. Sure, sometimes, a lateral promotion can be a stepping stone but if you think that taking up this role will do more harm than good, it's better to decline the offer. 

4. It's got a high employee turnover

During my one month at this job, I discovered that 3 employees had quit the month before and a further two were considering changing jobs within the month. This turnover ratio was too high for a 12-person team.  Further 'investigation' showed me that this was quite common for this organization. In fact the only employee who had stayed with the firm for more than a year was the CEO's sibling. 

Use the Internet and your network to do some research before you go for the interview. Glassdoor reviews are a good place to learn about employee experiences in the organization. If you find that there is a constant and high turnover at the organization, there is probably something wrong. 

Also Read: Are You in a Toxic Job?

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5. The Manager is Toxic

It was an unwritten rule that all employees were expected to be in by 11 a.m. or risk being pulled up for their lateness during the stand-up meeting. Apparently, this rule didn't apply to the CEO's sibling. Even though the CEO was well aware of his brother's lack of punctuality, he was never admonished during those meetings while several others were. Likewise, the CEO had a tendency to micromanage us and ignore our inputs on important decisions. 

Working for a toxic boss was detrimental to my well-being. Make sure you don't accept a job offer that has you working for a toxic individual. 

6. Poor work-life balance

I'm somebody who likes coming in to work early and leaving after the required 9 hours in order to spend time with my family. Unfortunately, the organization I worked for expected me to stay back till 8 or 9pm on a daily basis regardless of when I started work. As I result, I ended up working for almost 12 hours a day. When I spoke to my manager about letting me work during on a  8-to-5 shift for a few days a week, she refused, on the grounds that the team's l(long & unproductive) meetings almost always took place after 7pm. 

While I don't advocate being inflexible to your team's needs, you need to know what takes a priority in your life. For me, it was being able to enjoy dinner with my family at least a few times a week. Their flat-out refusal to shift the meetings to a more convenient timing or accommodate my request to work in a shift of my choice made me realize I was a cultural misfit. 

Don't let your job consume every aspect of your life. If you find that the new job does not allow you to maintain your work-life balance, you should reconsider the role. 

Also Read: Struggling to maintain your work-life balance due to work overload? Use these 5 strategies on your boss & peers.

7. Negative Perception within Industry

My stellar 'stalking' skills before the interview (Also Read: How "Stalking" Helped me get my First Job) had revealed that the CEO/Founder of this firm had renamed his organization recently in order to overcome negative brand perception. After joining, I became privy to the office grapevine which hinted at the nature of this negative perception. True or not, I didn't want to wait around to find out. This was all the motivation I needed to start seriously considering changing jobs.

Who would you rather be - a humble employee of a highly reputed organization or the CEO of a disgraced firm caught up in a huge scandal? Your organization's reputation plays in huge role in your career longevity. If you suspect that the organization that has offered you a job has some fishy dealings, it's better to decline and stay away than get caught up in the eye of the storm when you least expect it. 

8. Money, Money, Money

Part of the reason I jumped at this offer was because I liked their pay. In fact, I loved it. It was exactly what I had in mind. Unfortunately, the pay wasn't lucrative enough for me to consider staying for longer at the organization. I learnt that money isn't everything but it sure is something.

Also Read: To Reveal Or Not to Reveal - Current vs. Expected CTC

If the organization is offering you a salary that is too high or too low in accordance to industry standards, you should consider declining. Too high and you're scaring off future recruiters. Too low and you're undervaluing yourself. It's all a question of if you see a long-term employment potential at the organization or not. Forfeiting a considerable salary increase is okay in view of a big career boost. 

As the saying goes, "Prevention is better than cure". It's better to prevent yourself from making bad employment choices by taking a well-thought decision. Put some research and time before saying "YES" to the job. 

Questions for Reflection

What other parameters do you consider before taking up a job?

Have you ever regretted accepting a job offer? Why? How did you deal with it?

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Chaitra K
 

With a background in Literature and Psychology, and an MBA in Human Resources Management, Chaitra is responsible for the design and production of NKoach’s courses, workshops and corporate training programs. Her mission is to help people discover their passion and become better versions of themselves.

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