3 Subtle Signs That You Should Decline a Job Offer

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Kristy Busija289
Executive Coach & Talent Management Cosultant
May 19, 2024 at 2:40AM UTC

Getting a job offer can be weeks or even months in the making. When you finally have that offer in hand, how do you know that you should take it? Beyond the foundations of what you are looking for (location, salary, title), there are intangibles that will ultimately determine if the organization is a fit for you. Here are three ways to know that you should walk away and feel ok with it.

1. Your values don't align with the culture. 

Culture is the one thing that will either make or break your experience with an organization. When the values in practice within the company align with what you need in your environment, motivation is at an all-time high. 

For example, if you want to be part of a collaborative work environment and this organization provides many opportunities to participate in work and involve others, you will feel connected and supported. If the organization says they’re collaborative on paper, but employees operate in silos, there could be a mismatch. Look at all the information you gathered in interviews and evaluate not only what was said, but what wasn’t said. 

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Were there intentional pauses when you asked about the culture? 

  • Does the team work in a way that aligns with what you need in an environment?

  • Does the organization work in a way that aligns with what you need in an environment?

  • Does the leader demonstrate the organization’s values?

2. You didn’t connect with your potential new boss. 

You could’ve had amazing conversations with potential peers, but if the one strange conversation was with your future boss, pause before you accept that offer. What about the conversation felt off? Were you not able to connect? Did you not feel that you would be aligned on expectations? Did you not feel that your new leader would be supportive? 

Think back to the interview conversation and ask yourself:

  • Was the leader able to provide a clear picture of the role and expectations?

  • Is there a clear differentiation amongst responsibilities on the team?

  • Does the leader have the influence to fully support the work that needs to be done by the team?

  • Did you feel that the leader would be able to provide you with what you need (feedback, advice, coaching, direction, autonomy, etc.)?

3. You’re not getting what you need or expect.

You’ve done your research and know what you should be paid compared to the market but other things aren’t lining up according to your expectations and needs. Or things you thought would be clearer, just aren’t.  

Consider:

  • Do you have enough vacation days?  Are they accrued each pay period or given upfront the beginning of the year? (ability to take time away)

  • Are employees able to take their vacation days or do they roll them over each year? (ability to have work/life balance)

  • Is there be a sick time balance or is it part of the overall PTO balance? (total amount of vacation days and the ability to take time off for illness)

  • What holidays will you have off/have to work?  Are there floating holidays in case you need other days off? (flexibility in holidays)

  • Are there “blackout periods” for taking a vacation, meaning days you aren’t permitted to take off?

  • Have they been paying out advertised bonuses or incentives? (total compensation packages)

You can never get too much information to make an informed decision. If, at the end of the information gathering process, things don’t line up with your values, connection with your boss or what you need/expect from the organization, walk away comfortably. And walk confidently toward your next opportunity.

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This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Kristy is an executive coach and talent management consultant, who is known for helping individuals, teams and organizations unleash their optimal potential, one conversation at a time. What is your Next conversation? Check out Next Conversation Coaching to see how she can help you today.

What’s your no. 1 piece of job offer advice? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

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