September 13, 2021

After going through months of arduous interviews, you finally got a job offer. At this point, you must be probably overjoyed and relieved. But before you sign on the dotted line, listen to your inner voice first. Do you have an uneasy feeling, from the recruitment process to the HR manager? If you are unsettled from the start, there’s a high chance you won’t thrive in the company. And since most of our time is spent at work, it’s important to be in an environment where we feel confident and empowered. Here are six reasons why you should consider turning down a job offer.

The company has a bad reputation

According to a study from recruiting network MRINetwork, 69 per cent of job seekers would reject a job offer from a company with a bad reputation. While there is no such thing as the perfect job, if multiple people are saying bad things about the company, this could be a sign of larger problems within. Glassdoor is a good place to find what past and present employees have to say about the company. In their recent survey, eight in ten people said they had no regrets about the review they left, and 12 per cent wished they had given more negative feedback.

On the flip side, a company’s less-than-stellar reputation could be due to exaggerations or smear campaigns. Do not completely trust Glassdoor reviews; they can be inaccurate, so do more research and tap on your network to see if anyone can offer personal insight. If there is enough unfavourable evidence, then you may want to think twice about accepting the job offer.

Job duties and expectations are vague

A job with no clear details about the role is a major red flag. The hiring manager should be able to explain your duties, key performance indicators, expectations and company benefits. In addition, a proper career progression must be in place. If the hiring manager gives you confusing (or contradicting) information, request a detailed breakdown of your job scope. Although a job title may suggest your role, be clear about your deliverables. There might be a discrepancy between what you thought you were supposed to do and what you are actually required to do. Ultimately if you cannot fulfil the job requirements, it will cause frustration for both you and your employer.

You are unsatisfied with the offer

If you have tried negotiating the terms of your contract and what’s on paper is not what you are willing to accept, then reconsider your stance. These terms could be anything from not getting your desired job title to a lower-than-expected salary. Alternatively, you can take the job first and renegotiate the terms later, but the outcome may not go your way.

What are your job “must-haves?” Is it the ability to work from home three days a week or health insurance? Remember to not only assess what the job looks like right now, but also what the conditions could be like down the line, especially the company’s financial health.

The hiring process was haphazard

Most of the time, interviews, tests and reference checks are all essential aspects of the recruitment process. So, be wary if a company seems too eager to hire you immediately. And if the entire process was conducted in an unprofessional and perfunctory way such as the interviewer forgetting the date, losing your resume or displaying a lack of communication, it could be an indication of how mismanaged the company is. According to Theresa Vargas, Human Resources Manager for Grant Associates, “an unorganised interview process is a red flag.” The job interview is, after all, a first glimpse into the organisation and its culture.

People are disrespectful

Since the HR manager is your first point of contact, pay attention to the way he or she treats you. The HR department has the responsibility to clarify any questions you have, how the selection will be carried out, as well as give you an update regarding the status of your application. If communication is problematic (no response or slow responses) or appointments are cancelled last minute, this points towards a lack of sincerity and respect for your time.

Furthermore, employers must be professional and objective. They should not openly display distrust nor question your integrity after documentation has been provided. An interview session should never feel like an interrogation. Employers who doubt potential employees are likely to be micromanagers at work. You don’t want to be in an organisation with trust issues, as it can have long term repercussions on your mental and physical health.

Your gut is telling you ‘no’

According to science, a “gut feeling” is your implicit memory telling you that something is wrong, based on subconscious knowledge accrued from prior experiences. If your instincts are telling you “something is not right,” do not make hasty decisions on the fly. Kelly Ogle, team lead for Accounting, Finance and Supply Chain Recruiting at LaSalle Network observed that negative gut feelings tend to arise in people because “the role they’re considering sounds great, but doesn’t have something really important to them.” Steve Jobs once said, “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”