Should you say no to a job offer


You’ve just received a ‘phone call offering you the job that you recently interviewed for. However, there was something about the interview that is making you hesitate about accepting the offer; but should you say no to a job offer?

The following are 7 grounds for saying no to a job offer:

  1.  The interviewer is clearly unprepared! As an interviewee you are expected to have done your homework prior to turning up for an interview; the same applies to the interviewer. The key signs to look out for here are:
    • being expected to wait more than 15 minutes for the interviewer to turn up,
    • they then proceed to take another 5 minutes to read your CV in front of you (if they are prepared, your CV or application form will be clearly marked up with their notes and they should only have to glance at it as a reminder),
    • they clearly have not prepared the relevant questions to ask you about yourself and your experience.
  2.  The interviewer does not stop talking! You know that the purpose of the interview is for the interviewer to find out more about you and to give you the opportunity to find out more about the job and the company but how can you sell yourself if the interviewer will not stop talking? How will you know if you have the necessary skills to do the job; will you even like it? and how will they ever know if you are the right person?
  3. The interviewer hardly speaks! If the interviewer doesn’t say very much it will give you the feeling that they are not interested in you and you might as well go home now. An interview provides you with the opportunity to find out more about the company, its goals and its values.  This is important because if your goals and values are in sharp contrast to those of the company then you know you will not be happy there and you will struggle to be successful. If the interviewer cannot or does not provide detailed answers to your questions about the company then how will you know if it is the right job for you?
  4. Enthusiasm, or rather the lack of it! If the interviewer cannot talk about the job and the company positively and with enthusiasm then this is possibly not the job for you.  Negativity is infectious; do you really want to work for a company where its employees are negative and not motivated?
  5. Lack of information! While a lot of information about a company can be found on the internet, it is only by speaking to people that you can really find out more about its culture, values and what it is like to work there. You will be spending a large part of your day working for this company so you need to know more about the company culture and its employees. For example, do they offer/encourage training and personal development; is there an annual appraisal system and how does it work; is there an employee reward scheme; do employees socialise out with work? If these things are important to you but they do not happen in this company then perhaps it is not an ideal job for you.
  6. You are asked illegal interview questions! If the interviewer asks you questions about your private life, your age, ethnicity, marital status, if you have children or plan to; it gives a clear indication that they are not up to speed with employment law. Whether it is just the interviewer that is prejudice or the company, do you really want to work there?
  7. Ambiguous questions! In some interviews, it is common practice to ask what at first seem to be strange questions but these are in fact designed to see if you can think on your feet and usually only occur in case study interviews for management consultancy jobs for example. If you feel that the interviewer is asking questions which do not relate to the job or your application you need to ask what the relevancy of these questions before considering accepting the position.

“And it comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much. We’re always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.” – Steve Jobs

For help in preparing for interviews, please send an email to anne@power-to-change.eu

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